Ever since its inception in 1971, the Blue Diamond Stakes has been the crown jewel of Victoria’s juvenile racing scene. This Group 1 race, designed exclusively for the sprightly two-year-olds, usually takes place over 1200m at the iconic Caulfield racecourse. Back in the day, the very first winner was a horse named Tolerance, setting a high bar for the races that followed.
Running alongside the G1 Oakleigh Plate and the G1 Futurity Stakes, the Blue Diamond Stakes is a set weights race. Worth $2,000,000 in 2023, it had to be relocated to Flemington and Sandown in 1996 and 2023, respectively, due to renovations at Caulfield.
The Blue Diamond Stakes follows a series of lead-ups at Caulfield—the Previews and Preludes—and paves the way for the VRC Sires. Not only does it serve as a precursor to the Golden Slipper at Rosehill, Sydney, but past races have also seen some spectacular doubles achieved. Miracles of Life and Midnight Fever achieved the Blue Diamond Preview (Fillies)/Blue Diamond double, while Daumier, Sepoy, Reward For Effort, and others achieved the same for the Colts and Geldings.
The last few years have seen an even split, with fillies holding their own. Notable performances include Alinghi and Bel Esprit, who successfully carried the favourite’s mantle in and out of the race. The 2020 victory by Tagaloa, sired by elite Japanese horse Lord Kanaloa, out of a Japanese mare, was a significant milestone.
Jockey Dwayne Dunn had an impressive streak of four wins from 2005-2008, while trainers David Hayes and Lindsay Park boasted their own sets of victories, with the latter also managing a win in 2017 with Catchy. In recent times, Anthony Freedman and his son Sam have emerged victorious in three of the last four Blue Diamonds, thanks to Daumier’s win in 2022.
Sepoy made history by being the first to do the Diamond and Slipper double since Courtza in 1989, and the first to win the Preview/Prelude/Diamond since Bel Esprit. The 2023 Blue Diamond Stakes saw Little Brose triumph over Don Corleone and Arkansaw Kid.
Betting on the Blue Diamond Stakes
When autumn rolls around, it’s all eyes on those feisty two-year-olds that aced their previous runs in the Blue Diamond Prelude (Fillies) and Blue Diamond Prelude (Colts & Geldings). Between 2010 and 2023, most of the Blue Diamond Stakes champions—bar four—swept their lead-up races off their feet. And let’s not forget about the favourites; they practically have a VIP seat in the Blue Diamond Stakes odds, with six of them stealing the show between 2011 and 2023, including the likes of Extreme Choice (2016) and Written By (2018).
Sure, Tagaloa ($26 in 2020), Artorius ($13 in 2021), and Daumier ($20 in 2022) recently flew past the post with double-figure odds, but traditionally, betting against those at the top of the markets is a no-go. Each year, in the Blue Diamond odds, it’s an even steven scenario, with fillies giving the colts and geldings a run for their money.
Now, here’s a pro tip: weeks before the race, keep an eye out for the pre-field Blue Diamond Stakes odds. They’re bound to get exciting with every round of acceptances!
Blue Diamond Stakes Field
Let’s talk about the field for the Blue Diamond Stakes—a stage that showcases the cream of the crop from that year’s two-year-olds, all running at set weights. You’ll notice that most of these young guns have strutted their stuff in the Blue Diamond Preview and Blue Diamond Prelude races earlier in the season.
From 2014 to 2023, eight of the champions took part in the respective Blue Diamond Prelude events just a couple of weeks before the big Group 1 race. Some have even done the double, with Lyre (2019) and Catchy (2017) winning the fillies’ edition, and Written By (2018) bagging the boys’ title. Oh, and who can forget Extreme Choice in 2016, who had just clinched a victory in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (1000m) in early February?
Most recently, Daumier (2022)—who had secured a third place in the lead-up Blue Diamond Prelude (C&G)—surprised everyone by taking home the Group 1 title at odds of 19/1. Little Brose, who came second in 2023, was the latest winner to have a warm-up run in the Blue Diamond Prelude for colts and geldings.
The Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) held in Sydney every April often features many graduates from the Blue Diamond field. And if you’re wondering when all this begins, early Blue Diamond Stakes nominations start in August the year before, followed by several declaration stages until the final field is released the week of the race. Exciting times, right?