1025 yearlings have been nominated for the 2014 edition of the $1 million Group 1 Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes, with entries closed by the Melbourne Racing Club this week.

11 of those belong to reigning champion Daniel Clarken, whose champion juvenile Miracles Of Life won the race as a late entry in February this year.

“We learned this year that if you don’t nominate your yearlings at the outset, you’ll need to fork out $55,000 (the second and final late entry fee) to run!” Clarken joked.

Of the 11 of his current yearling crop entry, Clarken said that they all had shown the requisite precocity to be worthy of nomination.

“The majority are owned by Teeley Assets (owner of Miracles Of Life as well as 1999 Diamond champion Redoute’s Choice), but including the couple we specked ourselves, all look like being early prospects that should give us a real chance.

“When they’re strong and natural yearlings at first entry time, they have to be nominated.”

Leading the nominators in terms of quantity is David Hayes, with 84 yearlings entered for Victoria’s premier event for two year-olds.

That number represents an increase of 17 on last year’s figure for the five-time Diamond-winner, who sets out to go one better than his second-placed finish with Fast ‘N’ Rocking in this year’s renewal.

Among the other top nominators are Mick Price with 70 and Gai Waterhouse with 67, ahead of Darley Australia (63) and Victoria’s premier trainer, Peter Moody (54).

Leading sire Fastnet Rock heads the top sires list with 73 of his progeny nominated, almost double the 40 offspring of Northern Meteor, who is followed by Redoute’s Choice and Snitzel (both 33).

And while Victorian gallopers represent the majority of the nominations (581), the battle of the states could well and truly be on with New South Wales (340), South Australia (75), Queensland (18), Western Australia (8) and Tasmania (1) also heavily featured.

Yearlings nominated for the Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes also gain automatic entry for the 2014 Blue Sapphire, a $250,000 1200-metre race for three year-olds run on BECK Caulfield Guineas day.

Click here to view the full list of 2014 Blue Diamond Nominations.