Champion jockey Damien Oliver will ride Flying Artie in the Group 1 $1.5m Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 27.
Oliver rode the Mick Price trained two year old to victory in the Group 3 $200,000 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Prelude (C&G) (1100m) at Caulfield last Saturday and will stick with the Artie Schiller colt in the Melbourne Autumn Carnival’s feature two year old race.
The Premiership winning jockey also had the choice to ride stablemate Extreme Choice in the Blue Diamond Stakes after he rode him to a four and a half lengths win in the Group 3 $150,000 Chairman’s Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on February 6.
Jockey Craig Newitt will now ride Extreme Choice in a fortnight after Oliver said that he thought the 1200m of Blue Diamond Stakes would suit Flying Artie better.
Oliver’s manager Mark Van Triet said that Oliver made the tough decision on Sunday which immediately saw Flying Artie’s price firm into $3.80 second favourite behind Extreme Choice who still heads the betting at $2.70 at Ladbrokes.com.au.
“He (Oliver) said there was not much at all between them but he just thought that Flying Artie had scope for a bit more improvement and that he’d be best suited of the two over the 1200 metres of the Blue Diamond,’’ Van Triet told racing.com.
Flying Artie was only having his second race start in the Blue Diamond Prelude for the colts and geldings and after settling midfield three wide, Oliver was able to nurse him around the corner before winding up and running down Star Turn to score by a head.
At his only other start Flying Artie ran second to Power Trip in the Group 3 $150,000 racing.com Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) at Flemington on day four of the 2015 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
While Extreme Choice is undefeated from his two race starts and as well as winning the Chairman’s Stakes, scored a two lengths win on debut in the $500,000 Inglis Nursery (1000m) at Randwick on December 12.
The Phillip Stokes trained filly Samara Dancer also firmed in the betting for the Blue Diamond Stakes after scoring an impressive one length win in the Group 2 $200,000 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Prelude (F) (1100m) at Caulfield last Saturday.
Blue Diamond Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.70 Extreme Choice, $3.80 Flying Artie, $8.50 Concealer, Samara Dancer, $13 Star Turn, $15 Miss Nymeria, $21 Valliano, $26 China Dream, Cohesion, Motown Lil, Revolving Door, Zamzam.