Jockey spoilt for choice in Blue Diamond Stakes

Craig Williams rides Formality to victory in the Chairman's Stakes at Caulfield.
Craig Williams rides Formality to victory in the Chairman's Stakes at Caulfield. Vince Caligiuri

CRAIG Williams has the ultimate "good problem to have" as he juggles four star contenders for the rich Blue Diamond Stakes.

Williams won both two-year-old races at Caulfield on Saturday, the first aboard Ciaran Maher's super-impressive colt Jukebox in the Inglis Premier and the second aboard possibly more impressive filly Formality in the Chairman's Stakes.

Those races produced the usual reshuffling of markets for one of the most open Diamonds in history and one that has Williams as the man who in a fortnight's time must dump three youngsters and choose one.

Jukebox leapt to $7 favouritism for the February 25 race after his win, only to be usurped 40 minutes later by Formality, now the $6 to elect.

Next Saturday at Caulfield Williams will have the choice between $8 Diamond third favourite Tulip and $9 shot Catchy in the Blue Diamond Preludes.

Tulip, Catchy and Formality are trained by David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig.

Both Dabernig and Williams agreed that Williams would soon face an awkward choice.

"I think Craig Williams is going to be very confused now in deciding what he's going to do," Dabernig said.

Williams said: "Hopefully when it comes the time for decision-making all those horses stand up. It's going to be a tough decision for me and I hope I make the right decision on the day."

Dabernig said it was impossible to separate the stable's quartet of candidates for the $1.5 million race.

"It's really hard," he said. "The form around Catchy is excellent and she (Formality) was impressive today. She's probably right up there for sure. It might all comes down to barriers and conditions on the day."

Neither Jukebox or Formality will race again before the Diamond, adding an extra complication to Williams' decision. Williams said both Jukebox and Formality had shown great improvement since their provincial debut wins.

Jukebox dashed up the inside when Sydney visitor Perast drifted off the track on the home turn and bolted clear to win by two lengths for Maher and his leading owner Colin McKenna.

Maher described Jukebox as "very professional" and a "natural two-year-old" and Williams said Jukebox "dragged me around to the barriers".

"He's tactically very good and there's lots more improvement in him. If he pulls up well he's a serious contender in three weeks," he said.

Formality surged through to lead the Chairman's and then relaxed on the inside of Spoils, which over-raced on her outride. Formality kicked back in the straight to win by 1½ lengths.

"When the chips were down she was tough," Williams said. "No doubt they've backed right off her. They've used this as an experience. It looks like a great preparation for the Diamond."

News Corp Australia

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