MICK Price's stylish filly Samaready firmed further yesterday as a hot favourite for the $1 million Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield this month, but Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse says she is confident of having the winner of the group 1 race for juveniles.
Asked yesterday if she was sending down one of her immense two-year-old team for Victoria's premier juvenile race, the Randwick trainer answered: ''Yes, I am. The winner, No Looking Back.''
Waterhouse said her filly, controversially stripped of the Magic Millions Classic Crown on the Gold Coast after a protest last month, had been impressing when working anti-clockwise at Randwick to prepare her for her Melbourne debut. She is ranked a $10 chance to win the Blue Diamond.
''She worked very strongly again yesterday, shouldering her way past some very big colts and she is just a professional,'' Waterhouse said. ''She's taken so much from her travels and it's such a great thing, experience-wise, for a horse to travel. I think it's very important in their development.''
Waterhouse said she noted the dominant Blue Diamond Prelude performance of Samaready and conceded she was a filly of great promise. ''But all I can say is that any horse that beats her will win the Blue Diamond,'' she said.
Waterhouse said that while some of Sydney's best colts were still to make their return to the track, the fillies in Melbourne appeared to have the upper hand. ''It's early days in Sydney with an eye to the Golden Slipper [in April] but apart from the Vinery filly [Samaready] the rest have been quite unimpressive,'' she said.
Samaready firmed further into $2.40 yesterday for the Blue Diamond Stakes in 12 days after Price spoke glowingly of her yesterday after just her second race start.
''She's as natural and as strong a two-year-old I've had,'' the Caulfield trainer said. ''She'd been finishing her work off so strongly that when they came around the corner I just said to myself, 'well, let's show us what you've got', and she found that extra gear.''
Price said Samaready was the complete package as far as a two-year-old was concerned. ''She's got a great temperament, she's robust and she'll train on,'' he said. ''I'm 100 per cent happy with the way she pulled up and so I've just got to try and hold her where we've got her now for the next two weeks.''
Price ran three fillies in last Saturday's Preludes: Tuscan Haze endured a tough run and finished at the tail and well-fancied Malasun also failed to show her best.
''I was not 100 per cent happy with the way she pulled up,'' Price said of Malasun. ''I thought she lost her action on the line and so her place [in the Blue Diamond] has to be looked at.''
■If Black Caviar races this week at Flemington in the Lightning Stakes, trainer Peter Moody will still have one eye on Sydney as he has earmarked the group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes over 1200 metres as the autumn kick-off for his unbeaten three-year-old Moment Of Change.