Blue Diamond still wide open while Brightside has plenty of improvement to come.
Blue Diamond Preludes
Hayasugi has a chance to join rare company and win the Preview, Prelude and Blue Diamond after another narrow win at Caulfield. She's run a new peak here, up to 105 off her 97 run in the Preview.
There was effectively no difference in the time between her win and Bodyguard's, and the ratings, when adjusted to weight-for-age, come out very similar, with an egde to the colt.
He cracked the 100 mark on debut at Flemington and improved ten pounds on Saturday, running to 111, which is the same rating we have Coleman running in his Chairman's Stakes win.
They now share favouritism for the Blue Diamond in two weeks' time. If I had to give the edge to one, it might be Bodyguard given he's had the run at 1100m. High Octane had no luck at all however and was very well backed to beat Bodyguard late in the piece.
He was rated 105+ off his win in the Preview and I think there's every case to be made he's delivering on that + with clear air on Saturday. If the market is going to keep Bodyguard a fair bit shorter than High Octane on the day, I'd be happy to back in the SP between the two last time and trust he can bounce back.
The bunched finishes in the fillies division has me confident that form will be found out once tested outside of its own pool, and I don't think anything from the fillies division will be winning the Blue Diamond.
Brightside Off Best?
Mr Brightside didn't have to be at his best to win the first Group One of the year, surging late in a typically touch performance to take out the C F Orr Stakes.
A rating of 116 is still his second-best fresh rating in his career, behind last preparation when he won the P B Lawrence in fast time, beating Pinstriped by nearly 2 lengths.
The win was very good, but the margins to a horse like Buffalo River make it tough to rate the race any higher without suggesting Buffalo River has run remarkably outside his range. Even still, that horse has run a slight new peak of 115 (up from 113) to get so close to two top-class performers.
Pride Of Jenni was obviously below her Cup week one-two punch, ten pounds off her 122 peak in the Champions Mile, but has given some substance to her base line rating, equalling her 112 effort when second to Amelia's Jewel at Moonee Valley in track record time.
Whether she can get back to that 120 mark and compete, or indeed beat, the absolute best at their best remains to be seen, but it's a good starting point. The option for her to drop back to mare's grade is always there too.
Mr Brightside will likely run favourite in anything he contests this preparation and it's hard to say he won't win everything, knowing that he can still improve 3 lengths going forward. With main sparring partner Alligator Blood out for a year, there's every chance Mr Brightside ends the year with close to ten Group 1 wins, and a couple of All-Star Miles to boot.