Colts and Geldings Blue Diamond Prelude favourite Of The Brave continues to firm in the betting and has maintained his spot at the top of the market order for the Group 2 two year old race at Caulfield on Saturday.
Of The Brave opened up at $3.90 on Wednesday when the field for the $150,000 Blue Diamond Prelude (C&G) (1100m) was released and continued support has seen his price tumble into $3.40 on Friday afternoon.
Sydney colt Pride Of Dubai is the second pick at Ladbrokes.com.au at $5.50 just ahead of the John O’Shea trained Sampeah at $6.
Trainer Mark Riley agrees with both the bookies and the punters and believes that Of The Brave will be remaining undefeated after Saturday’s race after winning a Cranbourne trial in easy fashion on January 29.
“He’s improved again since the trial and he’ll win the Prelude,” Riley told the Sportsman.
“This weekend will sort out the genuine chances but this horse has done everything right and I couldn’t be happier.”
Of The Brave was an impressive winner at his only start when he beat the David Hayes and Tom Dabernig trained Miss Idyllic in the Listed $120,000 Inglis Debutant Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield at the beginning of the 2014 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
“He was only eighty per cent ready for the Debutants, he wasn’t anywhere near his best, and this preparation he’s gradually improved all the way through,” Riley said.
The Starspangledbanner colt is heading towards the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 28 and another dominant performance could see him challenge the two fillies, Fontiton and Secret Agenda, for favouritism for Melbourne’s premier two year old race.
In current betting for the Blue Diamond Stakes the Robert Smerdon trained Fontiton heads the list at $4.40 just ahead of Mick Price’s filly Secret Agenda at $4.80 with the Lonhro filly Heatherly at $9 and Of The Brave at $10.
Fontiton, Secret Agenda and Heartherly are all lining up against each other at Caulfield on Saturday in the Group 2 $200,000 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) for the Fillies.
Riley has labelled Of The Brave the best horse he has trained and rates the youngster potentially better than his dual Group 1 winning sprinter Mookta who took out the Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield in 1993 and the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington the following year.
“I just think he is potentially anything, he really is,” Riley said.
“Mookta has been the best I’ve had, not many win the Oakleigh and the Newmarket Handicap, but I think this horse can do better.”
Of The Brave has drawn barrier ten in the fifteen horse Blue Diamond Prelude field and will be ridden again by Stephen Baster.