A bruised and battered Phillip Stokes has pointed out several pluses for his filly Samara Dancer heading towards the Group 1 $1.5m Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Stokes was on the end of a double barrel kick from one of his horses at the Gawler barrier trials on Monday and came out second best with several broken ribs, internal bleeding and head grazes.
But he is determined to travel from his home base at Morphettville to saddle up his Blue Diamond Stakes hopeful Samara Dancer, whom he is giving a great chance of finishing among in the prizemoney.
“I’m getting there. Obviously I’m pretty sore,” Stokes told the Herald Sun.
Samara Dancer has already ventured to Melbourne to record an impressive one length win in the Group 2 $200,000 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Prelude (F) (1100m) at Caulfield on February 13 the leading Adelaide trainer can see this as a huge advantage this weekend.
“She’s taken improvement from her win at Caulfield (in her Diamond Prelude) and I feel it’s also an advantage for her to have seen the track,” Stokes said.
“If she travels over well, I’m sure she’ll be competitive.”
Stokes was also buoyed with the news that Samara Dancer drew an inside barrier at five in the capacity sixteen horse field and will jump from four is all the emergencies fail to get a start.
“One of her owners, John McLean, did a great job in drawing that out,” Stokes said.
Samara Dancer did throw a small scare into the camp after her Blue Diamond Prelude win when some blood was discovered in one of her nostrils and stewards ordered her to perform a special gallop before being passed fit to take her place in the Blue Diamond Stakes.
The Hinchinbrook filly came through the gallop with flying colours and will line up in Melbourne’s feature two year old race fully fit.
“She galloped with a mate over 1000m and it was strong work and the stewards gave her the all-clear,” Stokes said.
“She has a fantastic temperament, conserves energy and is a quick learner.”
Regular rider Dom Tourneur was aboard Samara Dancer in her Blue Diamond Prelude win and will be in the saddle again on Saturday.
Samara Dancer is well up the Blue Diamond Stakes market order and is marked at $7.50 with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Caulfield trainer Mick Price’s two colts dominate the top of the betting with the unbeaten Extreme Choice the top pick at $3 just ahead of his stablemate Flying Artie at $4.40 with the Tony McEvoy trained Concealer on the third line of betting at $6.
Early market order for the Blue Diamond Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3 Extreme Choice, $4.40 Flying Artie, $6 Concealer, $7.50 Samara Dancer, $12 Star Turn, $19 Miss Nymeria, $26 Zamzam, Valliano, $41 Hell Of An Effort, $51 China Dream, $61 Power Trip, Revolving Door, Artei, Seaburge, Selenia, $71 Sweet Sherry, Hey Doc, $101 Highland Beat, $151 Kinetic Design.