The “other” Blue Diamond Prelude run at Caulfield during the early weeks of the autumn carnivals is the one for colts and geldings. It is currently a Group 3 race of 1100 metres run at set weights with a prize pool of $200,000. It is age-restricted to two-year-olds.
The 2020 edition was won by Hanseatic, a Godolphin horse trained by the Freedman operation. He won the colts and geldings division of the Blue Diamond Prelude by a comfortable 2.5 lengths over Rulership in a tight race.
The good mare Lyre won her Prelude in 2019, and then went on to win the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes.
It was his third of three consecutive wins, following the Listed Blue Diamond Preview.
Hanseatic was nipped by a head in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes and his best finish subsequent was a second in the Group 3 Blue Sapphire Stakes.
History of the Blue Diamond Prelude Colts and Geldings
The race was first run in 1982 and has always been at Caulfield Racecourse, with the exception of 1996, when it was moved to Sandown Racecourse while Caulfield was getting a sprucing up.
From 1982 through 1985, the trip was 1200 metres. It has been 1100 metres since, except for the year it was run at Sandown, where 50 metres were tacked on.
For the first four years, it was classified as a Listed race and became Group 3 beginning with 1986.
Caulfield Racecourse, one of Melbourne’s metro tracks, has hosted the race every year except 1996. Caulfield holds about 20 meetings per year, with its marquee race undoubtedly the Group 1 Caulfield Cup, as the winner will garner attention by trying to win the Melbourne Cup a couple weeks after.
The course puts on 12 Group 1 races, eight Group 2s and 19 Group 3s. Caulfield also functioned as a training base for many trainers, but those trainers will have to find new stables when Caulfield closes its training facilities the year 2023.
Racing History of the Blue Diamond Prelude Colts and Geldings
The first race in 1982 was won by a horse named Rancher. He is notable for backing his win with the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes, but not much else.
The next horse to fill the Prelude/Blue Diamond Stakes double was Bel Esprit in 2002. He was a respectable champion. His other Group 1 win was the Doomben 10,000 in 2003, but if Bel Esprit has a major claim to fame, it was that he was the sire of a sprinter named Black Caviar.
Sepoy won both races in 2011. He was a formidable racer, but he was sent to the breeding sheds after 12 starts, 10 of which he won, including the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes and the Group 1 Manikato Stakes and Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes as a three-year-old. He currently spends his time serving mares a jet setting between Darley’s in Australia and Dalham Hall Stud in England.
The final horse to fill the double was Written By in 2018. He won the Prelude, the Stakes and the Group 3 Pago Pago Stakes, slipped to fourth in the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes, and two more races, six wins in all from 11 starts. He was found behind Sunlight on a couple of occasions, but he beat Gytrash in a minor race.
Without doubt, the most notable horse to win the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude Colts and Geldings was Lonhro in 2001. He was by Octagonal.
Lonhro ran fourth in the Blue Diamond Stakes. He won the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600 m) as a three-year-old in 2001. He won two Group 1 George Ryder Stakes, two Group 1 Caulfield Stakes, and several other Group 1 and Group 2 races.
Lonhro won the Group 1 Australian Cup at Flemington in 2004, as unlike some of the other winners; he was moved up in trip. He beat Makybe Diva, Caulfield Cup winner Mummify and the champion by Danehill, Elvstroem.
Lonhro won almost six million dollars from his 35-race career that included 26 wins and 5 placings. He was deadly first up, with a record of six wins and two placings from eight jumps.
He was awarded numerous times as a Racehorse of the Year (2004), Australian Middle Distance Champion (2004), and Australian Champion Three-Year-Old (2002).
Lonhro may have done more as a sire and he was recongnised as the Leading Sire in Australia in 2011. His most prolific progeny was in 2009; when Pierro dropped from Miss Right Note in 2009, and then went on to win the Golden Slipper Stakes, Sires Produce Stakes, Champagne Stakes, Canterbury Stakes and the George Ryder Stakes.
Lonhro was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2014.
The Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude Colts and Geldings has supplied some champions that left a mark on Australian Thoroughbred racing.
As the race is run in divisions, it does not provide any opportunity to compare the top colts to the top fillies, but other races account for that comparison.
It is probably a good idea to run the Preludes as two gender-restricted races, as two-year-old stallions often get it into their heads that they are either going to serve every mare and filly at the course, or fight with all the other stallions.
|Year||Blue Diamond Prelude (Colts and Geldings) Winners|
|2019||I Am Immortal|
|2015||Of The Brave|
|1999||Charm Scene Land|
|1985||Let's Get Physical|