McEvoy: Catch Me on par with Millions winner
BRILLIANT two-year-old filly Catch Me has firmed into Blue Diamond favouritism after overcoming a tough run to win the fillies' division of the Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
She ran a time marginally quicker than the colts, recording 57.28 seconds for the 1000m compared to I Am Immortal's 57.37 seconds.
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy, who won the Magic Millions Classic on Exhilarates, said Catch Me was on a par with that filly.
"She's every bit as good as I've sat on," McEvoy said. "There's not much between her and Exhilarates. She's not far from the top of the tree."
Ladbrokes reacted by firming her in to $4.40 favourite, with Brooklyn Hustle on $4.60.
Trainer Peter Snowden, with three Blue Diamond winners to his name, and warned there was a lot of improvement to come from Catch Me.
Snowden was impressed but not surprised by how Catch Me won the race, saying she'd had the toughest run in race.
"She had no favours in the run," he said. "She pulled out plenty as horses with her ability seem to do. There's a lot of merit in that win."
Catch Me was flighty before the race and dislodged McEvoy in the mounting yard, which surprised Snowden.
"That won't happen again," he said. "She was maybe a bit fresh. She's generally a quiet horse."
Catch Me won the Gimcrack Stakes at Randwick on September 29 at her only other start.
Snowden said the daughter of I Am Invincible had developed significantly since then.
"She's grown into a magnificent physique, she's got length and height and good muscle tone and she's got a motor," he said.
McEvoy said Catch Me was beaten for speed in the early stages and that's why he was caught out wide without cover.
"She'll only improve," he said. "It's pleasing to start off her preparation with a win. She's exciting and you don't know where she's going to end up."
Snowden said Catch Me would run in the Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) on February 9 before the Blue Diamond Stakes a fortnight later.
Catch Me ($4.20) defeated Jedastar (backed from $4.60 to $3.80 fav) by a length with Shih Tzou ($10) a half head away third.
Immortal quest gathers pace
I AM IMMORTAL burst into Blue Diamond Stakes calculations with a brilliant display of speed at his debut to take out the Blue Diamond Preview (1100m) for colts and geldings at Caulfield.
I Am Immortal showed breathtaking pace in the early stages, running 10.51 seconds between the 800m and the 600m mark to take a clear lead in the early stages then he defied all attempts to run him down.
Both his jockey Ben Melham and trainer Anthony Freedman suggested the two-year-old colt would need to harness his speed if he was going to win the Blue Diamond Stakes over 1200m.
Melham described I Am Immortal as "a good quality colt".
"He's very fast and he wants to get it over and done with a tad quick," Melham said.
"He's got a good motor and can sustain a good gallop. Over 1200m with a lot of pressure that would be the only query with him."
Freedman said it would be difficult to lead throughout and win a Blue Diamond Stakes but he was confident he could take a sit.
"He'll be better with experience and I think he can take a sit with experience," Freedman said.
"He sustained a good gallop and was still strong on the line. He'll benefit a lot from it."
Freedman said the son of I Am Invincible had come to prominence in the past few weeks.
"We haven't done much with him. He's naturally-gifted and he's got good speed."
Ladbrokes firmed I Am Immortal in to $9 for the Blue Diamond Stakes.
I Am Immortal ($3.70) defeated Microphone ($3.60 fav) by a length, with Alburq ($6) a length and a quarter away third.
Dwayne Dunn, who rode Microphone, said he took a lot of positives from the effort as he had to work across from his outside draw.
"I thought we were in the right spot but the winner was too fast, too strong," he said. "I thought we might have learnt a bit more about him today as he was pretty good outside the leader."