The Melbourne Mail - February 24

Blue Diamond Day is in the top handful of race days on the Australian calendar and this year it has thrown up a seriously competitive betting heat.
There are all sorts of edges and angles to consider in the Blue Diamond itself.
Ennis Hill ran a better race against the clock than the well-fancied Kinky Boom on the same card. But Kinky Boom did it at 6 f while Ennis Hill has to stretch her speed now.
In the Preludes very little split the colts and the fillies. Solid but unspectacular probably and apt label for both races. A look at the tempos of both races points to them being fair contests with no advantage or disadvantage to those on or off the speed.
Race favourite Long Leaf skipped all that and hasn't run for a month but he is three from three and an extremely professional two-year-old who looks sure to give a good account while his stablemate Qafila has skipped even more, going first up since the spring time where she showed herself above average.
All in all, it's a deep an even contest with Timeform ratings suggesting eight of the leading fancies are separated by less than a length on exposed form.
It all makes for a terrific betting heat. As an each way play we are keen to have something on Plague Stone. Suggestion is that he had the tough run in the Prelude but we think he was beaten fair and square by Written Where we think he can turn it around is in the early stages of the race. He has looked far from the finished article to this point, and took his time finding his rhythm last time. From the 800 he was as good as anything all things considered.
The boys in blue are getting plenty right at the minute and they might have gotten this preparation just right into an even Blue Diamond. He looks to land in the right spot and given that we are more than happy to pay each way.
For a best we head to the last where a terrific duel between Hartnell and Gailo Chop. We lean the way of the former Frenchman who is not quite as good a horse as Hartnell but looks to get a race on his terms this weekend.
While there might not have been the same exposed talent in the Carlyon Cup relative to the Orr, Gailo Chop's performance was every bit as good as the one that Hartnell produced to win later on the card two weeks ago.
Gailo Chop powered home over the mile and that might prove a better grounding than the messy Orr Stakes. Gailo will be bowling along in front of Hartnell in the run and we think he will make himself mighty hard to get
Bet Of The Day: Race 9 #2 Gailo Chop @ $3.00
Each Way Play: Race 7 #8 Plague Stone @ $8.00

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