by Ken Edwards, 21 February 2018 A new player has emerged in the last few days that could overcome the stranglehold of trainers David Hayes and Tony Hayes on the classic Group 1 race. Since last Saturday it has become more difficult for bookmakers to claim an outright favourite for the Blue Diamond Stakes. The bookies waited for the outcome of Tuesday’s barrier draw to assist them in rating the field of two-year-olds. While some of the better-known chances in the Blue Diamond have fared well, none did quite as well the Mick Price-trained Prairie Fire who drew barrier 1. Prairie Fire’s connections must be absolutely over-the-moon as it now seems the young horse will be given the run of the race. With Victoria’s most prestigious two-year-old race just a few days away, Prairie Fire’s powerful win at Flemington on Saturday continued to firm him in the Blue Diamond markets. After being quoted at more than $100 just a few short months ago, Prairie Fire is currently quoted at $10 with CrownBet for the Blue Diamond Stakes. Prairie Fire has improved sharply since his last start and is now considered a genuine chance on Saturday. Long Leaf should start favourite Long Leaf is the slight favourite in the race after the barrier draw. The colt, undefeated in three starts, is at $7.00 with CrownBet after coming up with barrier seven in a capacity field of 16 plus four emergencies. The Godolphin stable’s Plague Stone has remained at $8.00 after drawing barrier six, to currently sit on the same price as Oohood in gate 10. Long Leaf is one of four runners for the David and Ben Hayes’ Lindsay Park stable (winners last year with Dabernig) while Tony McEvoy has five possible runners, although Aristocratic Miss and Roobeena are emergencies only. Betting Top 10 Australia’s Best Bet We’re fans of Prairie Fire’s youthful and exciting galloping style. Drawing Barrier 1 for the event has done him incredible favours and whilst we’re not getting on him for the win, he’s our best bet at $3.20 for a place with CrownBet.