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It's another packed day of racing across Australia on Saturday
  1. Horse Racing

Australian Racing: Blue Diamond Stakes the highlight

There's plenty of top class action on Saturday with Group 1 action set to take place in both Melbourne and Sydney.

Race 7 Sandown Lakeside

Barber @ 5.00

Race 9 Sandown Lakeside

I Am Me @ 6.50

Race 7 Randwick

Zougotcha @ 5.00

Barber for Blue Diamond glory

The Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes over 1200m is the first of three top level races due to take place on the Sandown Lakeside card. A good 4 track is forecast for the two-year-old contest with the filly Steel City likely to jump as favourite following two good second place finishes at Rosehill.

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The most recent of those came when beaten half-a-length in the Group 3 Widden Stakes over 1100m on a good 4 surface last month. Blake Shinn takes the ride for the first time here and while she has a good alley the unbeaten Barber is preferred for the James Cummings team.

The selection, unbeaten in three starts to date is one of three representatives for the Cummings team who also send out Zulfiqar and Exploring for the Godolphin operation. The pick returned from a break to take the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude over 1100m on the Hillside track here earlier this month.

The Exceed And Excel colt was partnered by his jockey here Jamie Kah on that occasion and has shown tactical versatility in his three starts to date. With the above in mind barrier nine shouldn't be too much of an issue and he is taken to maintain his unbeaten record.

Me to take Plate

The concluding race on the card is the 1100m Group 1 Oakleigh Plate. Henry Dwyer's Asfoora ended 2022 in good form winning three of her four starts last spell. The latest of those came when scoring in the Group 3 Furphy Sprint over 1100m at Flemington at the end of October.

Progressed nicely last spell having returned with an impressive victory in a 1000m Benchmark 78 contest in September. Notably all three of her wins last spell came on a soft track and she may prove vulnerable on the forecast quicker ground here.

Ciaron Maher and David Eustace saddle I Am Me here with the filly completing a four-timer when winning at Canterbury earlier this month. That effort came over 1200m having previously won over the same trip in a Benchmark 88 contest at Randwick in December.

Jockey Jamie Kah has won on the pick in the past with the pair taking out a Benchmark 78 race over this trip at Flemington last April. The daughter of I Am Invincible steps up in grade but she has a good barrier in one here and is selected to continue her winning run racing up with the speed.

Zougotcha for Group 1 success

James Cummings saddles In Secret and Anamoe in Group 1 races at Randwick with the former tackling the 1400m Drinkwise Surround Stakes.

The filly showed good form at the top level earlier in the campaign including when winning the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes over 1200m at Flemington in October. Returned with a Group 2 triumph over 1200m here earlier this month and is expected to start favourite upped to 1400m here.

The I Am Invincible filly suffered a narrow defeat on her only previous start over this trip and is opposed with Zougotcha. The selection has demonstrated a liking for wet tracks in the past finishing in the first two in all four starts on soft or heavy surfaces.

Trained by Chris Waller she completed a Group 2 double when victorious over this distance in the Darley Tea Rose Stakes on a soft 7 track here in September. Top hoop James McDonald, on board for four of the selections five previous starts takes the ride and Zougotcha looks up to resuming with a win.

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