Darley filly emerges as a serious Diamond hope
ROD QUINN took a couple of deep breaths after getting off the scales following Guelph's impressive win at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
''Riding [at] 54 [kilos] is very tough in this heat,'' the experienced Quinn said. ''But when you have one like her to ride it helps.''
The Exceed And Excel two-year-old filly, backed from $2.20 to $1.90, had done what punters expected, beating Good Job Bro by a length under hands-and-heels riding. The pair put a gap in the rest of their rivals with The Wesleyan 3½ lengths away in third. ''If I hit her she would have won by more,'' Quinn said. ''She is a lovely filly and that [run] is only going to help her and she will improve from it.''
Guelph had been runner-up in the Gimcrack Stakes in the spring but stripped a bigger filly on Saturday with more than a hint of improvement left in her.
Darley trainer Peter Snowden said Guelph would head to Melbourne in a fortnight for the Blue Diamond Prelude and then Blue Diamond Stakes on February 23.
She was made a $7.50 second elect for the Blue Diamond by the TAB behind the flying Miracles Of Life, which was tightened from $7 to $4 to remain favourite for the $1 million feature after her easy Preview win at Caulfield on Saturday.
Guelph, which is from the same family as 2011 Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper winner Sepoy, was kept in Sydney to split up the Darley two-year-olds.
''I thought about sending her to Melbourne but we already have one there,'' Snowden said.
''I wanted to give her three runs into the Diamond, so it made sense to stay here.''
Guelph worked into the race by the turn and then ran down Good Job Bro. ''I thought she would be a couple of lengths closer but she just could not go with them early,'' Quinn said. ''She picked up and came into the race and really there was a bit left.''
Snowden left little doubt Guelph could be his main chance in the Blue Diamond. ''It's a sign of a good horse when they can come from a tricky spot and make it look easy,'' he said.