Max Presnell's The Verdict: Chivalry far from dead in Blue Diamond

On the ball: Blue Diamond hope Chivalry hams it up with trainer Mark Kavanagh, left, and part-owner and Carlton captain Marc Murphy. Photo: Vince Caligiuri
On the ball: Blue Diamond hope Chivalry hams it up with trainer Mark Kavanagh, left, and part-owner and Carlton captain Marc Murphy. Photo: Vince Caligiuri

A clean break at the start, particularly for Rubick and Chivalry, holds the key in what promises to be a blistering Blue Diamond at Caulfield on Saturday.

The group 1 for two-year-olds is again intriguing on a day of top events at Randwick as well as Caulfield.  Favourite Rubick jumped untidily in the Prelude last start, forcing fast early sections, which would have sapped the normal youngster.  However, the colt was able to hang on, while Chivalry was a fast-finishing third, beaten 1 and 3/4 lengths.

Chivalry began slowly from gate 14 and at one stage was giving Rubick (two) 12 lengths start over the 1100-metre trip.  Trainer Mark Kavanagh will use blinkers on Chivalry and the 1200m will suit him better, possibly giving him the last crack at the frontrunners.

The early speed battle will be vital. Rubick, from 10, doesn’t have to lead but Brenton Avdulla will have to get him across into a prominent and comfortable position close to the rail.

Rubick is unbeaten at two attempts, like highly promising filly Earthquake, prepared by Peter Snowden.

In the Racenet poll of leading betting houses, Earthquake was  favoured. Earthquake won the fillies’ division of the Blue Diamond Prelude on the same program as Rubick, running the same time. Alas, she has gate 15.

On the same day last year, stablemate Guelph, which  developed into an outstanding filly, launched from 12  and “jumped awkwardly and wide throughout” before finishing back in the ruck.

Another filly, Nayeli, is also unbeaten at two attempts and trainer Gai Waterhouse doesn’t figure any of her rivals have better credentials.Nostradamus, prepared by the Hawkes team is a potential top-liner, but like Chivalry, will need luck in running. 

 Chivalry 1, Rubick 2, Earthquake 3, Nostradamus.


Fiorente, in the group 2 Peter Young, will have to buck the law of averages regarding Melbourne Cup winners scoring at their next start when resuming. Being two-milers, they usually don’t shine over sprint distances, but there are exceptions, like Saintly in 1997. But Waterhouse has chosen 1800m today which should be well within his   range, recalling Fiorente’s triumph in the 1600m Dato Tan Chin Nam at Moonee Valley last September. Certainly Foreteller is a worthy rival. After all, the Chris Waller import scored second-up last campaign and indicated he is set for a good preparation with a reasonable fourth to Moment Of Change in the Orr at Caulfield on February 8. ‘‘I reckon he’s going better this year than last year,’’ jockey Craig Newitt said. ‘‘He was a bit big in condition first-up. We only gave him one trial and the way the race was run it stretched them out a fair way from home and I thought he might have knocked up. But the further they went the stronger he got.’’

Verdict:  Fiorente.


The skill of Damien Oliver will be required on Bull Point in the group 1 Futurity against Moment Of Change, a Caulfield specialist. Moment Of Change can dictate the pace, making him hard to run down, evidenced by his three out of three on the circuit. Bull Point, though, is a youngster with ability that will be exposed by Oliver. “This three-year-old is easily the best-backed runner of the day, from $3.60 to $3, with us,” Gerard Twomey, of IASbet, said. Another three-year-old and Victoria Derby winner, Polanksi,  resumes following minor recent problems.

Verdict: Bull Point.


Knoydart, a big contender in the Oakleigh Plate, produced a remarkable effort in  weaker company at Mornington last start. After a slow start,  he  bolted away with the 1200m Hareeba Stakes, earning a rave review from Nash Rawiller, replaced on weight grounds by James McDonald. The assignment is demanding being a sprint with many chances, including   favourite Lankan Rupee, successful at his last three. Watch Chris Waller’s Dystopia. She is very good fresh.

Verdict:  Knoydart.


The big question at Randwick: will the spring Boban be produced in the Apollo Stakes or the last-start   version? Boban was  a three-length fifth to Appearance, a rival again, in the 1200m Expressway on February 8. The 1400m will suit him better and his second-up record is superior to resuming. Maybe Appearance isn’t as good second-up, but will be suited by a rain-affected track,  as will   Speediness.

Verdict: Appearance

Play the exotics

Parlay: Caulfield, Race 5 — (1) Fiorente, Race 7 — (4) Chivalry, Race 8 — (9) Knoydart, Race 9 — (1) Arinosa.

Quadrella: Caulfield, Race 6 — (2) Moment Of Change, (9) Bull Point, Race 7 — (2) Rubick, (4) Chivalry, Race 8 — (3) Lankan Rupee, (7) Dystopia, (9) Knoydart, Race 9 — (1) Arinosa, (2) Bonaria.

Best boxed trifecta: Caulfield, Race 8 — (3) Lankan Rupee, (7) Dystopia, (9) Knoydart.

Best quinella: Caulfield, Race 7 — (2) Rubick, (4) Chivalry.

This story Max Presnell's The Verdict: Chivalry far from dead in Blue Diamond first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.