21/2/2020 History Says - Blue Diamond
Most of the Blue Diamond talk since Tuesday's barrier draw has been whether Hanseatic can 'overcome' barrier one in Saturday's $1.5 million Group 1 at Caulfield.
The consensus is that the Anthony Freedman-trained colt is the best horse in the race who has drawn the least suitable barrier.
History suggests the inside alley has not been the advantage you might expect in Victoria's premier two-year-old race.
Only three times in the 49-year-old 1200-metre event has the winner jumped from barrier one; Riva Diva (1992), Hurricane Sky (1994) and Miracles Of Life (2013).
The numbers get even more interesting when you look at Diamonds of the size of which Hanseatic will be dealing with. Miracles Of Life's win came in a field of 14, but Hurricane Sky had just eight rivals, while Riva Diva was part of a 10-horse Diamond.
Form Focus outlines that 21 of the 49 Diamonds have comprised 14, 15 or 16 runners - which is now the field limit - with Keltrice (second in 1993), Market Garden (third in 1976) and Dangerous (third in 1999) the only others to fill a trifecta slot from gate one.
The record is even worse for barriers two and three - A Beautiful Night and Letzbeglam this year - which have not produced a Diamond winner in fields of that size in that time.
In contrast, barrier 15's four winners have all come since 1997, while gate 14 has also produced a winner in that time. Of the 66 horses who have finished top three in Diamonds of 14, 15 or 16 runners, 15 have started from the outside three barriers, with just eight coming from barriers 1-3.
Barrier five is the most successful in Diamond history with six wins - most recently by Lyre last year - with gates four and seven each providing seven winners.
BUT WHAT ABOUT FAVOURITES FROM GATE 1?
Hanseatic will become the fifth favourite to start from barrier one, with Riva Diva (9/4ef) and Miracles Of Life ($3.20) the winners. Shovhog (13/8, 4th, 1998) and Fontiton ($2.25, 5th, 2015) are the others to jump from gate one as favourite.
Ten others have started single-figure odds from the inside alley for one win - Hurricane Sky, 3/1 - and just one second and one third.
FAVOURITES IN GENERAL
The Diamond was a shocking race for favourite backers from 1994 to 2010 when just of two of 17 punters' picks were successful, including eight winners at double-figure odds.
Things have improved since, with Sepoy (2011) starting a run of six favourites in the past nine years. Of the three who were not favourite, the longest-priced was Lyre ($7.50).
CLEAN SWEEP CAN BE DONE
Hanseatic sealed Diamond favouritism with a brilliant colts and geldings Prelude win, which followed a similarly impressive win in the Preview two weeks earlier.
That set him up for a shot at joining Rancher (1982), Midnight Fever (1987), Bel Esprit (2002) and Sepoy as the horses to complete the Preview/Prelude/Diamond treble.
They are among nine horses to have a crack at completing the treble with Halibery, who finished second to Kusi in 2003, the only other to place. Rostova (2009), Fontiton and Property (2017) all finished fifth, while I Am Immortal last year finished seventh.
Midnight Fever, Bel Esprit and Sepoy are among 21 youngsters in the past 35 years to have their final Diamond lead-up in a Prelude, 17 of which filled a quinella slot in the Prelude.
The 13 winners since 2007 all finished first or second at their previous start, with the five of them who didn't come through a Prelude being last-start winners.
Hanseatic and fillies Prelude winner Letzbeglam, Personal and Away Game are the last-start winners in this year's race, with the latter coming off victory in the Widden Stakes at Randwick.
In the past 35 years, only True Jewels (2001) has won the Diamond off a final lead-up in Sydney, while Canonise - who won off the Adelaide Magic Millions - is the only other winner to not round out their preparations in Melbourne.
Away Game is chasing another slice of history - the first horse to complete the Magic Millions/Blue Diamond double - but the Queensland feature can hardly be called a bogey race.
It's rare for the Millions winner to run in the Diamond. Since 1991, when Millions scrapped the boys and girls divisions, just four winners of the Magic Millions 2YO Classic have contested the Blue Diamond, with Testa Rossa's second placing in 1999 the best result.
Bradbury's Luck, who finished 12th in 2005, is the only horse to attempt the double since.
Check out the latest Blue Diamond betting markets.