Choisir Filly Wins Banner
Cox Plate day at Moonee Valley on Saturday kicked off with the $250,000 Inglis Banner for two year-olds, a race won in 2008 by Choisir’s champion son Starspangledbanner, the sire again producing the winner following a tenacious victory by his speedy daughter Diamond Earth (2f Choisir x Face of the Earth, by Strategic). The Anthony Cummings trained filly showed good speed to lead at her previous start in the Listed MRC Debutants Stakes before weakening to finish midfield and with the benefit of race experience and blinkers was able to find the required improvement. She jumped well for Damien Oliver and worked quickly through on the fence to lead and when challenged in the straight was able to hold them all at bay to win the 1000 metre dash by a head. “She was quite field shy at her first start and the blinkers have given her the confidence she needed today,” said Cummings. “She wasn’t as frantic and was able to settle and get her breathing right.” Damien Oliver rode Diamond Earth when she worked at Moonee Valley earlier in the week and was confident the filly would run well. “It was good work and you knew she’d be able to improve on her first start,” he said. A $60,000 purchase for her trainer from the Golden Grove draft at the 2011 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale, Diamond Earth collected $152,000 for her win providing a great result for her large group of owners. She is a half-sister to rising star three year-old filly Halle Rocks being the second foal of stakes-placed Strategic mare Face of the Earth, a half-sister to Group III winner and Caulfield Guineas runner-up Face Value. Diamond Earth was foaled and raised at Coolmore for her breeders Dr Denis O’Brien and his wife Claire, who retained Halle Rocks to race before sending this filly to the sales. Face of the Earth is due to foal to Duke Of Marmalade and is booked to Starspangledbanner, while she also has a yearling filly by Danehill Dancer.