Maher dismisses lameness doubts about Diamond favourite
CIARON Maher and Mick Price are adamant there is nothing amiss with Blue Diamond Stakes contenders Loving Gaby and Shotmaker despite Racing Victoria vets ruling the pair lame.
Loving Gaby, the $6 second favourite with Ladbrokes, and $15 chance Shotmaker will undergo further inspections on Friday when RV vets and stewards reassess the situation.
RV said the two-year-olds presented with lameness in their off-fore limbs.
If vets are unhappy with the condition of either when reinspected, they could be scratched.
Price was fuming when contacted by the Herald Sun.
"They had a look at him and decided he didn't trot up 100 per cent," Price said.
"My farrier, rider, foreman can't find anything wrong with him.
"It's going to be a subjective measurement.
"They will come back at 9am tomorrow morning and have another look."
Maher is confident Loving Gaby is not lame.
"She's spot-on," Maher said. "She was fine yesterday and she was fine today.
"She must have stepped on something. But I'm sure she'll be 100 per cent tomorrow. No problems."
Maher was thrust into a similar situation two years ago when unbeaten colt Jukebox was ruled out of the Blue Diamond on race eve.
An abscess burst in the youngster's nearside foreleg the following morning, vindicating the decision of vets.
BLUE DIAMOND STAKES (1200m)
CAULFIELD, RACE 7, 4.10pm
1 I AM IMMORTAL 9 Anthony Freedman Ben Melham 56.5kg
2 HAWKER HURRICANE 2 Michael Moroney Mark Zahra 56.5kg
3 FREE OF DEBT 6 Chris Bieg Michael Walker 56.5kg
4 SHOTMAKER 14 Mick Price Hugh Bowman 56.5kg
5 GAME KEEPER 15 Tony McEvoy Barend Vorster 56.5kg
6 CATCH ME 8 Peter & Paul Snowden Dwayne Dunn 54.5kg
7 LYRE 5 Anthony Freedman Luke Currie 54.5kg
8 VINICUNCA 4 Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott Stephen Baster 54.5kg
9 BELLA ROSA 10 Ciaron Maher & David Eustace Linda Meech 54.5kg
10 LOVING GABY 12 Ciaron Maher & David Eustace Damian Lane 54.5kg
11 ATHIRI 13 James Cummings Craig Williams 54.5kg
12 LANKAN STAR 7 David & B Hayes & T Dabernig Damien Oliver 54.5kg
13 BROOKLYN HUSTLE 11 Jason Warren Beau Mertens 54.5kg
14 ANDRASSY AVENUE 3 David & B Hayes & T Dabernig Luke Nolen 54.5kg
Track: Good 4. Rail: 3m out.
Forecast: 25C Sunny
I AM IMMORTAL with his great early speed is sure to take up the running. VINICUNCA, CATCH ME and FREE OF DEBT will also go forward. LYRE should take up a good position. Best finishers HAWKER HURRICANE and BROOKLYN HUSTLE.
I AM IMMORTAL
Brilliant colt has used his devastating speed in the early stages to break the field up and then defy all attempts to run him down in the Preview and the Prelude. Sepoy and Bel Esprit won those races. He might be in that bracket.
Massive run to finish third in the Prelude behind I Am Immortal as he settled well back and wide before he charged home for third. Step up from 1100m to 1200m should suit.
FREE OF DEBT
Showed great speed and would have won by more than a length but for ducking in at Flemington in the closing stages. This is tougher but he's untapped.
Pleasing debut where he sat wide and chased hard when second to I Am Immortal in the Prelude. Drawn out but has Hugh Bowman on board and should derive improvement from his debut. Will be inspected by RV vets on Friday morning.
Strong colt who was slow to begin but then encircled the field in the early stages to take the lead and then defied all challenges at Sandown Lakeside. This is harder.
Forget last start blemish in the Prelude when she started $2.10 favourite, over-raced early and then was the first horse beaten. Go on win in the fillies' Preview before that.
Took up a nice forward position and outsprinted her rivals to win the Prelude last start.
She ran slightly faster than the males. She also recorded the fifth fastest last 200m for the day.
Took up the running from her wide draw to lead in the early stages and kicked clear early in the straight before being run down by Lyre. Better drawn. Right in this.
Fought hard to win her debut at Flemington before resuming with tough effort for second behind her stablemate Loving Gaby. Ciaron Maher said she had improvement to come. Meets her stablemate 1.5kg better as well.
Lived up to her big reputation with super impressive debut win in the Chairman's Stakes where she charged home from well back. This is tougher but she could be a star in the making.
Looked well positioned but was outsprinted by Lyre in the closing stages in the Prelude. Will have derived improvement from that and the James Cummings stable is on fire.
Three runs have been sound and she's flying under the radar. Sound effort when fourth in the Prelude but the other trio held her safely.
Over-raced in the first half of the race and didn't really get warmed up until the race was over when fifth behind Lyre. She ran the second fastest last 200m. Her debut win was sensational. Extra distance should suit.
Sat wide and outsprinted her rivals for a comfortable win at The Valley at her second start. This is a quantum leap in class though.
Four horses have won the Blue Diamond Preview and Prelude and then the Blue Diamond Stakes, and I Am Immortal will try and make it five. The others are Sepoy (2011), Bel Esprit (2002), Midnight Fever (1987) and Rancher (1982). The best form reference is the Blue Diamond Prelude for fillies, which has produced eight winners from 31 runners. Lyre will be trying to make it nine.
2. I Am Immortal
3. Loving Gaby
4. Brooklyn Hustle