Weir set to have first Blue Diamond runnerSunday 18 February 2018
Victoria's premier trainer Darren Weir is poised to have his first starter in the state's premier race for juveniles.
Weir has not concentrated on two-year-olds in the past but has Native Soldier primed for the $1.5 million Group One Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
Native Soldier was bought for $160,000 at last year's Magic Millions yearling sale at the Gold Coast with a view to two-year-old races.
"We bought him to run in the Magic Millions," Weir said.
"He probably nearly would have snuck into the field but the owners were a bit keen to have a go at this. So it's good.
"We never bought two-year-old types so he was sort of the start of trying to buy a bit better two-year-old types.
"I just reckon he deserves his spot in the race."
Native Soldier was beaten at his first two starts before impressing with wins at Geelong on December 26 and Moonee Valley on January 26.
He was third to Written By and Plague Stone in the Group Three Blue Diamond Prelude for colts and geldings at Caulfield last Saturday week at his most recent start, with the performance good enough for Weir to press on with the colt to the Blue Diamond.
"He just got a little bit lost on the corner and that, but he was good," Weir said.
Brad Rawiller will be back aboard in the Blue Diamond and is unbeaten on the colt from two rides.
Native Soldier didn't have Rawiller's weight in the Prelude and was ridden by Mark Zahra.
Native Soldier was at $15 on Sunday in the TAB's fixed odds market ahead of acceptances on Tuesday.
Kinky Boom and Written By were equal $7.50 favourites ahead of Long Leaf and Oohood at $8 while Plague Stone and Prairie Fire were at $9.
While Weir is looking to have his first Blue Diamond runner, trainer David Hayes will be out to add to his record six wins.
Hayes' sixth Diamond last year with Catchy was his first in partnership with his son Ben and nephew Tom Dabernig.
The stable is planning to have at least four runners, with the possibility of a fifth.
Hayes said Long Leaf (Kerrin McEvoy), Ennis Hill (Stephen Baster), Qafila (Dwayne Dunn) and Enbihaar (Cory Parish) were set to take their places.
"And if Seberate gets a run, we'll run him," Hayes said.