Of The Brave held-off a fast-finishing Pride Of Dubai to score a narrow win in the 2015 Blue Diamond Prelude at Caulfield this afternoon.
Of The Brave made his racing debut with an impressive victory in the Listed Debutant Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and jockey Stephen Baster once again elected to press forward in the early stages of the race.
The Starspangledbanner colt did not receive an easy time of things towards the front of the Blue Diamond Prelude field, but he was still able to kick clear from his rivals and he looked like the winner at the 250 metre mark.
Team Snowden-trained Pride Of Dubai took a while to get going, but he flew home in the final 150 metres and was just missed out on recording a maiden race win.
Trainer Mark Riley confirmed that Of The Brave would head to the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield in a fortnight and he is confident that the two-year-old will take plenty of improvement into the Group 1 event.
“He has earnt his place today and he is two from two now,” Riley said.
“He was very vulnerable today and they went very hard.
“He has done it all the way and if he was going to get beaten today was his day.
“He will take real good improvement from this and I think that he is a horse that can keep improving.
“You couldn’t have enough on him halfway up the straight and he has just knocked up the horse, but we knew that he was vulnerable.
“This will top him off lovely and he is a horse that will be going into the race on the way up and I couldn’t be any happier.”
The Blue Diamond Colts And Geldings Prelude race was run in a significantly slower time than the Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude that was run earlier in the day and Riley admits that talented filly Fontiton could prove difficult to beat in the Blue Diamond Stakes.
“She is a very good filly,” Riley said.
“I think that he ran faster sectionals for the 600, but I think that you will find that they went pretty hard in that race.
“He is going to keep improving the horse and what he is doing now is a bonus for us.
“As a three-year-old he is going to be a really nice horse.”
Riley is chasing his first win at the highest level of racing since he won the 1994 edition of the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) with Mookta.