Melbourne jockey Vlad Duric has high hopes for Nayeli in the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 22 after a commanding win at Caulfield last Saturday.
Duric was having his first ride on the Gai Waterhouse trained filly when she forced her way into Blue Diamond Stakes calculations with a two and a quarter lengths win in the Group 3 $135,000 Mal Seccull Chairman’s Stakes (1100m).
“If she comes through this race well and even improves a bit, she will take some beating I think,” Duric said.
Duric was impressed with the way Nayeli was able to put herself on the pace and then accelerate in the straight to dominate the finish in beating the Team Hawkes’ Flemington winner Bugatty and Cautious from the Robert Smerdon stable.
“She musters great speed, puts herself in a spot and then when I asked her to switch off she just comes back nicely underneath you and conserves her energy,” Duric said after the win.
“When you push the button she’s got a great turn of foot and she’s strong for a filly.
“She ticks every box. She’s pretty good.”
“When she went to the front she really went away from them. She’s really in the Blue Diamond mix for sure.”
Nayeli was having her second race start at Caulfield and was sent out the $3 favourite on the strength of her two lengths debut win over 1000m on the Kensington track at Randwick on January 8 when ridden by Tommy Berry.
Bookmakers reacted quickly to the More Than Ready filly’s Caulfield win and have marked her at $8 third favourite for the Blue Diamond Stakes behind the Gerald Ryan trained Rubick ($3.10) and the Peter Snowden trained Earthquake ($4.50).
Nayeli carries the colours made famous by Waterhouse’s champion two year old and multiple Group 1 winner Pierro and gave owner Greg Kolivos an overdue Caulfield win.
Kolivos has been disappointed several time after visiting Caulfield with his runners, the most notable was the defeat of Pierro as an odds on favourite when he was run down by All Too Hard when second in the 2012 Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Rubick will have his first look at Caulfield this Saturday in the Group 3 $150,000 Sportingbet Blue Diamond Prelude (C&G) (1100m) while Earthquake will go around in the fillies’ version.