Peter Snowden has Blue Diamond favourite Earthquake, the talented Knoydart and star filly Guelph taking to the tracks on Saturday, but he is still hurting from the loss of Complacent for the autumn due to a tendon injury.
Snowden, Darley's head trainer until May, could end his time with the racing and breeding giant with a bang given his exciting team, but there is sadness about Complacent.
"He was the horse I was looking forward to the most in the autumn," he said. "I will hopefully get to see [him] race on [post-Darley]."
Snowden has always wanted to win a Derby for Darley and Complacent, which was runner-up to Polanski in the Victoria Derby, appeared the perfect candidate.
He still has the exciting filly Guelph, which could get through to the Queen Elizabeth Stakes during the championships series if all goes to plan, but this weekend will be about another filly. The unbeaten Earthquake will be joined by Mohave in the Blue Diamond, both have ticked the right boxes since their runs in the Preludes.
Snowden is just hoping for a good draw in the Blue Diamond.
"We have done all we can control,'' Snowden said. ''We can't control barriers. [Earthquake] is in good order and is such a relaxed type of two-year-old I think she will handle [the pressure of the Blue Diamond] all right. I think she will be really strong late.
"I don't think she is in the Sepoy class yet but she has a lot going for her heading into the race."
Earthquake, a daughter of Exceed And Excel, has simply been too good for her rivals at her two starts. She ran record time at Randwick on debut, which has since been broken by Blue Diamond rival Rubick. Then she appeared to be in cruise-control scoring by 2¾ lengths from Eloping in the Blue Diamond Prelude for fillies for Damian Browne, who retains the ride on Saturday.
Mohave won the Blue Diamond Preview for colts and geldings before overracing and dropping out to run 10th to Rubick in the Prelude. "He wanted to run through the bridle last time but I think if we can ride him a bit quieter he will have his chance on Saturday," Snowden said.
Knoydart will be out to continue an unbeaten campaign in the Oakleigh Plate. "It is the right time for him to have a crack at this level," Snowden said of the gelding. "We knew it [ability] was there and it is good to see it."
Knoydart had been marked as possible stallion but needed to be gelded to find his best. The four-year-old started this preparation winning at Canterbury. A pair of listed successes have followed in the Canterbury Classic and Hareeba Stakes. He will be joined by flying three-year-old Kuroshio in the group 1 1100m dash. "He is a very quick horse, and with 51.5kg on his back he will give them something to chase," Snowden said.
The story Racing: Earthquake ready to sparkle in Blue Diamond first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.