VINERY Stud stallions are destined to play a pivotal role in the outcome of next month’s Group 1 $1m MRC Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) after both divisions of today’s Prelude were won by resident sires, Mossman and Red Ransom (deceased).
Punters had expected the colts and geldings feature to fall to More Than Ready colt, Cambiaso, who hadn’t faced the starter since winning the VRC Maribrynong Plate in the spring.
However the race quickly turned into a one act affair with the Matt Laurie trained The Travelling Man leading throughout to win the Prelude by 1 1/4-lens ahead of No Smoken with Timely Truce a further 3 1/2-lens away.
Cambiaso was fourth.
The Travelling Man clocked a lightning fast 57.5 for the 1000m with a final 600m of 33.64s.
The Travelling Man was sold at Karaka at last year’s NZB Select Sale session where he was bought by Laurie for the sum of NZ$80,000.
It was the only horse Laurie bought at the auction.
“Some people said to me ‘why did you go to New Zealand to buy a Mossman’, but at the end of the day he was a cracking type and I was happy to have him,” Laurie said.
“He’d shown he had good gate speed in his trials and obviously he was a bit green and it didn’t happen at his first start.
“But he put it together today.”
Bookmakers reacted swiftly to The Travelling Man’s comprehensive win, slashing his Blue Diamond Stakes quote from $26 to $9.
“He’s shown really good ability from the moment we let him down for his first gallop,” said 31-year-old Laurie who trains at Mornington outside Melbourne.
“So we made sure we paid up (for the Blue Diamond Stakes).
“He was still a little bit hot behind the gates but he’ll settle down with time. He’s a very exciting horse.”
Immediately following The Travelling Man’s triumph, Red Ransom filly Malasun stepped forward to win the Blue Diamond Prelude (f) by exactly the same margin and in slightly faster time than the males.
Malasun was ridden perfectly by champion jockey Damien Oliver who positioned his mount just off the pace before making his move at precisely the right time.
“She is very quick but there was good speed there today and a couple of quality fillies she was chasing,” Oliver said.
“We didn’t know how she would go racing in behind them but she really knuckled down and did well to run them down.
“She is a real professional and a nice, scopey filly.
“She’s qualified now (for the Blue Diamond) and all they have to do is look after her for the next month.”
Trainer Mick Price has gone close to winning the Blue Diamond on several occasions in the past notably with the Vinery owned Halibery (also by Red Ransom) who was 2nd in 2003 and Perfectly Ready (by More Than Ready) who placed third in 2005.
As well as Malasun, Price will likely represented in the February 27 grand final with Samaready, a daughter of twice Champion Aust 2YO Sire More Than Ready who sports the green and white colours of Vinery Stud.