Formidable owners pay late entry fee for Blue Diamond

By: Mark Mazzaglia
February 20th, 2012

Prominent owners Barrie and Midge Griffiths have delved into new territory when they paid a late entry fee to secure a run in the Patinack Farm Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) with their two year old Formidable.

The prominent owners paid the Melbourne Racing Club a late fee of $55,000 this morning to place Formidable in the $1m Group 1 for two year olds to be run at Caulfield on Saturday giving them their first starter in the race.

Co trainers Matt Ellerton and Simon Zahra advised Griffiths that the Strada filly had pleased them in her Monday gallop and left the decision to pay the late entry fee up to the owners.

“She worked really well at Flemington on Monday morning,” Zahra said. “She has just improved in leaps and bounds as she has gone on in this preparation.

“We couldn’t be happier with her and we think paying the $55,000 is the right thing to do.”

“She’s actually Barrie’s first Blue Diamond runner. He’s never had early two-year-old runners so that is the price you pay unfortunately and we are happy to be going to the race.”

Griffiths prefers to wait for his horses to mature and not race them as youngsters and is breaking new ground as an owner.

He has had numerous Group 1 success including Melbourne Cup winner Tawriffic, Caulfield Cup winner Mannerism, Northwood Plume, Azzuro and Response but Formidable will be his first Blue Diamond runner.

“We normally just wait until they are three-year-olds before they race but this one is a bit of an exception,” Griffiths said.

Griffiths picked up Formidable for $20,000 at the Classic Yearling Sale in Sydney and she has already earned $83,200 with a Flemington win and two seconds at Caulfield.

Ellerton and Zahra, who trained 2010 Golden Slipper winner Crystal Lily, scored a surprise first up win with Formidable when she won at her first start at Flemington on January 14.

They then took her to Caulfield where she ran second to Mama’s Choice in the Listed Emirates Airline Stakes (1100m)  on February 4 then backed her up a week later for a three and a quarter lengths second to Blue Diamond favourite Samaready in the Group 2 $125,00 Patinack Farm Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) at Caulfield.

Jockey Chris Symons will again be on Formidable after being aboard the filly for all of three starts to date.

Co trainer Zahra is happy for the filly to be going around on Saturday and said if she can draw a good barrier he is confident that she will be right in the race.

“If she can draw a gate it’s going to be ideal for her if she can land on the speed and create her own luck,” Zahra said.

“At Caulfield last start on the back-up she was probably left a bit flat-footed and we’ve kept her nice and fresh. She’s in good order.”

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