Hayes duo embark on Diamond hunt
FEBRUARY'S Blue Diamond Stakes is a possible objective for Lindsay Park juveniles Ennis Hill and Via Regina, who make their debuts at Caulfield on Saturday.
The fillies will contest the 1100m Evergreen Turf Plate and their performances could decide if they venture to the Group 1 Blue Diamond on February 24.
Ben Hayes said both youngsters were well credentialed.
Ennis Hill is out of Hips Don't Lie, one of the most talented two-year-olds Lindsay Park has produced, and is a sister to Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper placegetter Lake Geneva.
"She's a horse that doesn't have the greatest legs, so she didn't go to the sales and we've had to be really careful with her," Hayes said.
"But her work at home has been really good and she has shown us above-average ability.
"She's been showing us similar ability as what Formality and Tulip were showing at the same stage last year, but we want to see how she goes about it on the racetrack. It's hard to be super confident about a first-starter, but we're expecting her to run really well."
Sold for $165,000 Via Regina is a half-sister to Listed winner Testamezzo and impressed in a Flemington jump-out victory last month.
By champion speed sire Snitzel, Via Regina will be ridden by Andrew Mallyon.
"She's been at Flemington over the past couple of weeks and has improved and really tightened up," Hayes said.
"She's drawn barrier one, which is a big plus, and she should get a good run."
Mick Price's Advancing is TAB's early favourite ahead of Ennis Hill.