|Australia Expert - Patrick Payne|
|Patrick Payne is currently a trainer in Australia and a well known former jockey in Hong Kong. He is a member of an extraordinary racing family comprising of eight successful jockeys. Having various stints between 1994 and 2004 in Hong Kong, he achieved his highest strike rate of 14.8%. As a champion jockey with a career that began in 1990, Payne rode more than 1000 winners, with 19 Group One race wins, including the Cox Plate. In 2007, he acquired his Australian trainer license, winning races such as Mornington Cup and Adelaide Cup.|
Overseas Expert Column for Blue Diamond Stakes Day (Patrick Payne)
S1-1 D'urban Angus Armanasco Stakes
SOFT SAND is an exciting filly with the potential to go to the top. She has won 3 of her 4 career starts, impressed here at Caulfield over 1200m most recently and the step-up to 1400m ought to be well within her range.
The selection is marginally preferred to Shopaholic, who is looking for a hat-trick of wins after her tidy victory in a Group 3 at this distance at Flemington last weekend and she looks to have more improvement within.
Kiwi filly Anabandana was a dual Group 1 winning juvenile in her homeland and will have benefited for her first run in Australia when second over 1200m in a Listed race behind Soft Sand. With more likely to come and knowing her class and back at her best distance, she should be rated highly.
This race represents a major step-up in class for Sydney visitor Nocturnelle but she is highly regarded by trainer Chris Waller and from her middle gate can get a good run behind the pace to present her with her chance.
5. SOFT SAND
S1-2 Cathay Pacific Futurity Stakes
The absence of Black Caviar has opened this race up significantly and KING MUFHASA could be the one to profit most. He races well at Caulfield – he was fourth in this race last year and also won a Group 1 here over 1600m in October. He has not been out of the quinella in his last 6 starts so there is every reason to believe he can feature prominently again.
Cox Plate heroine Pinker Pinker resumes after her memorable triumph at Moonee Valley last October. She was impressive in a trial recently so I expect her to be charging home over the final stages. It bodes well that she also won at this meeting a year ago at this distance.
Multiple Group 1 winner Wall Street is now being prepared by Michael Moroney and has an excellent all round record. Expect him to get back in the run before producing a strong finish, while Adamantium is a young horse on an upward curve with a decent record at this venue and he could chase a share of the minor spoils.
2. KING MUFHASA
10. PINKER PINKER
3. WALL STREET
S1-3 Oakleigh Plate
This is a very open Group 1 handicap in which many seem to hold sound each-way claims. I will stick with last year’s champion colt, the 3-year-old SEPOY who faces probably his biggest test to date here as he gives away weight to some very smart older horses. He has only been beaten once in 11 starts and has won all 5 of his races at this track so it is not too difficult to nominate him as he prepares for his trip to Dubai next month.
Lightly-raced 4-year-old Bel Sprinter is on the upgrade and has won 5 of his 6 starts to date and is very well treated at the weights given that he gets 4 kilos from Sepoy on his first attempt in the elite grade. He has been very well supported in early betting.
First Command has an affinity for Caulfield and ran well at this course & distance last time out to advertise his current well-being and strikes me as a viable each-way option from a nice barrier under Damien Oliver. Others to consider are the Perth-based challenger Grand Nirvana and African Pulse.
6. BEL SPRINTER
5. FIRST COMMAND
3. GRAND NIRVANA
17. AFRICAN PULSE
S1-4 Patinack Farm Blue Diamond Stakes
SAMAREADY has won her 2 career starts until now very impressively and looks set to start as worthy favourite. She blitzed her rivals in the lead-up to this race by over three lengths and that performance appears to set the highest standard.
No Looking Back is another top class filly and looms as the main danger to the selection. From the powerful Gai Waterhouse stable and she has strong lead up form winning a trial and went under narrowly in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic. The principal drawback is her wide gate.
The Travelling Man won the Blue Diamond Preview here last time out quite stylishly and is rated highly on that evidence. He seems an ideal type to cope with such a high pressure race.
David Hayes has won this race on five occasions and perhaps Mama’s Choice, ridden by Dwayne Dunn, a four-time Blue Diamond hero, is worth an interest with improvement forthcoming after her Listed success in debut.
9. NO LOOKING BACK
4. THE TRAVELLING MAN
15. MAMA'S CHOICE
S1-5 Carlton Draught Peter Young Stakes
The Caulfield Cup champion last October, SOUTHERN SPEED, got closest (albeit more than three lengths) to Black Caviar here two weeks ago over 1400m and now that she is stepping up to a more suitable distance there is no reason why she cannot regain the winning thread in her third run back after a spell.
Former British stayer Glass Harmonium resumes after the smooth win in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes, which took the edge off him for the Melbourne Cup a few days later. The word is that he has returned to form in training and can go well fresh.
Manighar, another import from Europe, returned to action in good form a fortnight ago when won a Group 3 here over a mile and looks a natural choice to run a big race again over more of a stamina test.
Western Australia-trained Ranger ran fifth to Manighar in the aforementioned race recently and should strip fitter for that outing so he might be worth a small play at odds.
13. SOUTHERN SPEED
4. GLASS HARMONIUM
S1-6 TBV Mannerism Stakes
HI BELLE gave the impression that she was a big race winner waiting to happen on her comeback run at this track over a shorter distance than ideal, a race in which Slow The Flow came second.
There is very little between my top two picks but I feel HI BELLE will be better suited to the extra distance and is fitter now, also with Craig Williams on board who has won her twice.
Mick Price’s Princess Narine has been involved in two close finishes in the past few weeks, winning one and being touched off in the other, and although this race is tougher she is not without a place chance.
Vintedge returns to action after her Spring Carnival victory in the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes over 2000m and one would think this distance will be on the sharp side. However, that is not to say that she cannot run home strongly for a cut of the purse.
2. HI BELLE
4. SLOW THE FLOW
6. PRINCESS NARINE
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