Jockey Dwayne Dunn knows more than most about winning the Blue Diamond and he provides his expert insight into how to win Saturday’s $1.5 million event at Caulfield.
Dunn won four straight editions of the event between 2005 and 2008 aboard Undoubtedly, Nadeem, Sleek Classic and Reann. He will take the ride on the Greg Eurell-trained outsider Wolves in this year’s running.
Dunn said emerging unscathed through the early pressure of riders vying for positions was vital. But he added that was easier said than done with a full field of 16 inexperienced two-year-olds.
“You want them to jump well but you don’t want to get them fired up. That’s the key in that initial 200m of the race,” Dunn said.
“You want to be out of the ruck because you’ve got high stakes with inexperienced horses that are reacting to things in a different way to older, well-schooled horses.
“You don’t want to be in the middle of the bunch and being punched forward, you want to try to find your spot without doing too much and leave your horse in a really good rhythm.”
Once the early positions are sorted, Dunn said conserving his horse’s energy while assessing the tempo of the race were his main focus as the field thunders down the side of the track.
Dwayne Dunn wins the 2006 Blue Diamond Stakes on Nadeem for David Hayes. Photo: Hetrald SunSource:News Limited
“You’re trying to get your horse travelling as smoothly as possible now because you’re thinking about the second half of the race and how much petrol you’re going to have in the tank,” Dunn said.
“You have a look at what’s around you and what the tempo of the race has done.”
Dunn said the pressure ramps up again from the 600m as riders look to get their mounts into the right position on the home turn while some runners are already starting to struggle.
Dunn said getting on to the back of a horse travelling well was as crucial as avoiding getting stuck behind tiring runners.
“Getting to the home bend, you’re starting to really plot your path, which way you want to head,” Dunn said.
“Getting to the corner, you want to have your horse balanced and not too wide because they can spear off on that home turn.”
Like many big races, Blue Diamonds can be won or lost on the home turn. Going too wide could cost a horse victory while taking the wrong line could leave jockeys held up and losing all chance of victory.
Wolves (left) has plenty of ground to make up on Arcaded in Saturday’s Blue Diamond. Photo: George Salpigtidis/Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“It’s a matter of getting through that home bend without too much trouble. Nadeem nearly crashed going into that home bend but he was able to pick himself up.
“You don’t want to be getting into trouble anywhere in the race, especially on the home bend.”
Halfway down the running, Dunn says the race might already be decided for most runners.
Those jockeys in contention will be hard at work while others are left to wonder where it all went wrong.
“By the time you hit the 200(m), you’ll know your fate whether you’re a winning chance,” Dunn said.
“There’s not a lot you can do if your horse has had enough but you’re hard at work if you’re a winning chance. You just have to hope it’s good enough.”
For one rider, their best will be good enough on Saturday while others will have to wait another year for another crack at Victoria’s richest two-year-old race.
Originally published asDwayne Dunn: How to ride a Blue Diamond winner
Source: Read Full Article