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Flying Artie headlines Blue Sapphire field

Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper placegetter Flying Artie is the early favourite to make a winning start to his three-year-old season in the $350,000 Blue Sapphire Stakes at Caulfield.

The Mick Price-trained colt is at $2.30 for the Group Three 1200m race for three-year-olds, the feature event on Wednesday’s program.

Flying Artie won the Blue Diamond Prelude last campaign before finishing second to stablemate Extreme Choice in the Blue Diamond and third in the Golden Slipper won by Capitalist.

To be ridden by Damien Oliver, Flying Artie has barrier four in the field of 13 which also includes Mitchell McKenzie Stakes winner Ken’s Dream ($5) and the David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained Derryn ($5.50).

Derryn drops back to 1200m after his unplaced run in the Group One Golden Rose (1400m) in Sydney a month ago.

The Mike Moroney-trained Barthelona will be trying to keep an unbeaten start to his career going in his biggest test, having won his first three starts.

The Danny O’Brien-trained Merriest ($8), winner of the Listed Atlantic Jewel Stakes and third-placegetter in the Group Three Champagne Stakes is one of two fillies in the race.

There are two other stakes races on the program, with the Group Three Ladies Day Vase (1600m) attracting a field of 16 plus three emergencies, while the Listed Italktravel Stakes (1200m) has a field of 12 including Tasmanian star Admiral, last-start stakes winner Keen Array and talented NSW sprinter Clearly Innocent.

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