The Tony McEvoy trained Manhattan Blues has been added to the entries for the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) after connections paid the Melbourne Racing Club the late entry fee of $55,000.
Manhattan Blues was a first up winner over 1000m at Morphettville Parks on January 10 before finishing sixth to Burnstone in the Listed $120,000 Sportingbet Blue Diamond Preview (C&G) (1000m) at Sandown on January 26.
The Manhattan Rain two year old then kept his Blue Diamond Stakes hopes alive with an improved effort when second to stablemate Stoker in the $250,000 2yo Inglis Premier (1000m) at Sandown on February 7 prompting connections to pay the late entry fee.
“He’s worked well and done everything right,” McEvoy told AAP.
But Manhattan Blues still has some work to do to gain a start in the $1m two year old feature at Caulfield this Saturday as he sits at number twenty-three in the order of entry with only sixteen two year olds to make up the final field when final acceptances are taken on Tuesday.
Stoker is number four in the order of entry and secured a start in the Blue Diamond Stakes with his win in the Inglis Premier and even though that race was restricted to two year olds that came out of the Inglis Sales, the winning cheque of $171,000 can be counted towards prizemoney earned to pass the balloting conditions.
But the balloting conditions do not allow Inglis Premier prizemoney picked up by the placed horses meaning that Manhattan Blues $45,000 cheque for running second won’t help him his if his position in the final field is to be determined by a ballot.
McEvoy also had some worrying times with Stoker after stewards placed a warning on the Written Tycoon youngster because of his unruly behaviour behind the barriers before winning the Inglis Premier.
Stoker has pleased McEvoy since his Sandown win with some special barrier practice and is hoping he will be more relaxed this week at Caulfield before the Blue Diamond Stakes.
“His blood picture’s perfect, he’s eating well, he’s working well, so he just had a bee in his bonnet the other day,” McEvoy said.
“I’ll probably have two people in the paddock with him this time and I’ll get him ponied around to the start.
“It did concern me on the day and they gave him a warning but I’ve had him back to the barriers since and he’s been fine.”
Damian Oliver rode Stoker in his Sandown win and will be aboard him again on Saturday while McEvoy has booked the injured Nick Hall to ride Manhattan Blues hoping that he will be given the all clear to ride on the weekend after he sees the doctor later in the week.
Hall injured his leg in a trackwork accident at Caulfield early last week and will see the doctor on Wednesday to have stitches removed from a nasty cut above his knee.
The Robert Smerdon trained Fontiton heads the market order for the Blue Diamond Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au at $2.40 ahead of another late entry Pride Of Dubai at $5 while Stoker is marked at $17 and Manhattan Blues is a $26 chance.