Earthquake steals colts’ thunder at Caulfield

Exceed And Excel’s extended his stakes-winner count to 80 when Earthquake scored a runaway victory in the G3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

Bookmakers firmed the filly into a $2.40 favourite for the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes on February 22.  If successful, she will become Exceed And Excel’s fifth winner at the elite level in Australia following Overreach, Guelph, Helmet and Reward For Effort who claimed the 2009 Blue Diamond.

Earthquake (2f Exceed And Excel – Cataclysm by Marauding) threw down the gauntlet to the colts with a dominant performance against the best two year-old fillies in training.  “She’s got natural ability and will take a lot from that run,” trainer Peter Snowden said.  “And the benefit from being around Caulfield for the first time will be a big plus in a fortnight.”

The Darley filly had been an outstanding winner on debut at Randwick in November.  She sat outside the leader Eloping and, although taking time to balance up around the home turn, accelerated to put the race to bed at the furlong.

“She’s a real talent,” Snowden added.  “I was a bit surprised she wobbled around the corner.  But the last 200 metres was enough for me.  She’s an athlete and won’t need a lot of work over the next two weeks.”

A homebred for Sheikh Mohammed, Earthquake is out of G3 placed Cataclysm.  The Marauding mare is a half-sister to stakes winners El Cambio and Complicate and her first filly foal Palomares was a stakes winner of the 2010 Desirable Stakes at Flemington.

Cataclysm has a yearling filly by Commands, foaled a Sepoy filly last year and is back in foal to Sepoy.

Exceed And Excel is Australia’s reigning Champion stallion and he has 12 yearlings catalogued for the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale and 26 yearlings entered at the Inglis Easter Sale.