A total of 181 two year-olds remain entered for the $1 million Group 1 Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (Feb 22) after second declarations were taken by the Melbourne Racing Club. The number, a five-year high, represents an increase of 20 on that recorded at the same stage last year.

Chief among the nominators is five-time Blue Diamond winner David Hayes, who maintained 25 of his 41 first declarations in the hunt for the million-dollar bounty.

Caulfield trainer Mick Price – winner of the race in 2012 with Samaready – declared 16 runners, with Darley Australia the only other with more than ten entries, with 11.

The best-represented stallion among second declarations is Fastnet Rock, who has 15 sons and daughters still in contention to land their sire his first Blue Diamond winner.

Others among the leading sires are Snitzel and Choisir, with nine and eight respectively, followed by Commands, Sebring and Exceed and Excel, each with seven.

A complete list of 2014 second declarations can be viewed in Appendix 1.  See below for figures relating to the top nominators and leading sires.

Yearlings nominated by the July 2013 deadline for the 2014 Blue Diamond Stakes gained automatic entry for the 2014 Blue Sapphire, a $250,000 1200-metre race for three year-olds set to be run for the third time during this year’s Caulfield Cup Carnival.

The Sportingbet Blue Diamond series commences with the Blue Diamond Previews (Listed, 1000m) on January 25, followed by the Blue Diamond Preludes (Group 3, 1100m) on February 8, climaxing with the Blue Diamond Stakes over 1200 metres on February 22.

Third declarations close at noon (AEDT) on January 28, where a payment of $660 is required to remain in contention for the feature event.

Click here to view the full list of horses that remain in the Blue Dimaond after today's second declarations.