This Saturday the esteemed Flemington racecourse will come alive as the next feature race of the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival and the country?s first Group 1 race takes place, the illustrious $500 000 Coolmore Lightning Stakes (1000m).
Thirteen start sprinters are lining up for the coveted event, including three entrants from prolific trainer Peter Moody.
Moody has Duporth, Wanted and Headway all engaged in the Lightning Stakes.
Three-year-old Wanted, ridden by in-form hoop Brad Rawiller has secured the prized inside barrier while Duporth and Headway will start from gates eight and eleven respectively.
The Leon Corstens-trained Starspangledbanner looks set to start the race as the odds-on favourite, the three-year-old Choisier colt currently at $4.20 with one of Australia?s leading online bookmakers Sportsbet.
Starspangledbanner, drawn well in barrier five, is coming off a last start win in the Caulfield Guineas back in October, and although lightly raced having only nine race starts to their name, they have an impressive strike rate.
The elite field also consists of Queenslander Burdekin Blues and Nicconi fighting it out for the second favourite spot with the bookies, sitting at $5 and $5.50.
Five-year-old Burdekin Blues, trained by Barry Baldwin, has displayed sensational recent form coming off three successive victories.
Jockey Shane Scriven has been aboard for all of the gelding?s recent wins and will again be the ridder on Saturday as they start from barrier ten.
The David Hayes-trained Nicconi has drawn poorly with the far outside barrier 13.
Other top elects include David Hayes? other runner, three-year-old filly Irish Lights (br.2) who took out the 1000 Guineas two starts ago, and fellow three-year-old Shellscrape (br.6). Shellscrape is prepared by one of Sydney?s premier trainers, Chris Waller.
Peter Snowden , the current leader for the Sydney Trainer’s Premiership, and has Governance in barrier 12 engaged in the Lightning Stakes.
Also receiving much attention is the first American-trained racehorse to compete in Australia, the Wesley ward-trained Cannonball.
The Coolmore Lightning Stakes is scheduled to run as race six on the day?s cracker eight-race programme.
The other highlights of the day include races five and seven, which are the $150 000 Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) for three-year-old colts and geldings, and the $150 000 Group 3 The Mittys Vanity (1400m) for three-year-old fillies.
2010 Lightning Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw:
|Peter G Moody||Steven Arnold||8||58.5|
|Wesley Ward||Patrick Valenzuela||7||58.5|
|David Hayes||Damien Oliver||13||58.5|
|Barry Baldwin||Shane Scriven||10||58.5|
|Anthony Cummings||Tim Clark||4||56.5|
|Leon Corstens||Danny Nikolic||5||55|
|Chris Waller||Corey Brown||6||55|
|Peter G Moody||Brad Rawiller||1||55|
|Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||12||55|
HONEST TRUTH (NZ)
|John P Thompson||Peter Robl||3||55|
|Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||11||53|
|David Hayes||Glen Boss||2||53|
|Anthony Cummings||Craig Williams||9||53|