More than $50,000 in prizemoney will stay on the table after only a trio of three-year-olds was declared to run in Wednesday’s Group 3 Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield.
The Blue Sapphire will be the first field of three runners in Melbourne since Winx took on two rivals in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) in 2016.
The Blue Sapphire Stakes has only featured more than 10 runners twice in its seven-year history but the previous smallest fields were six contenders in 2015 and 2018.
Wednesday’s race is worth $400,000 but only $348,000 in prizemoney will be paid to connections of the three competitors – Hanseatic, Anders and Ranting.
Anders, from the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace stable, will start as an odds-on favourite in the Blue Sapphire Stakes after his wins in the Rosebud and San Domenico Stakes in Sydney.
The colt easily defeated subsequent Golden Rose and Caulfield Guineas winner Ole Kirk over 1100m in the Rosebud before accounting for last Saturday’s Stan Fox Stakes winner Peltzer last time out.
“We weren’t surprised at the small field but we didn’t think there’d be three runners,” Eustace said.
“I think the small field is going to play into his hands, well we hope anyway.”
Anders is set to start as a clear favourite in Wednesday’s Blue Sapphire Stakes. Photo: Mark Evans/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
Anders missed last month’s Group 1 Moir Stakes at The Valley after developing an elevated temperature, which caused him to miss a crucial gallop.
However, Eustace said the son of Not A Single Doubt was right for the Blue Sapphire.
“We’re really happy with our fellow. He’s trialled well and he’s galloped well,” Eustace said.
“He’s bounced back from his temperature. That was just a 48-hour thing and he’s well over that.”
The Blue Sapphire will serve as a lead-up to the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington but Eustace said the small field would not guarantee a win for Anders.
“He’s got terrific gate speed and he’s able to put three or four lengths on horses very quickly,” Eustace said.
“With the smaller field, there’s going to be less pressure on and it will be very difficult to put pressure on him throughout the race.
“Hanseatic is a very good horse and the other horse is progressive so by no means are we thinking it’s going to be a penalty kick because it’s going to be a tactical affair.”
Mark Zahra will ride Anders in the Blue Sapphire. Luke Currie will ride Hanseatic while Ben Melham will be aboard Ranting.
Originally published asThree-carat Blue Sapphire at Caulfield
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