The 2011 Lightning Stakes field of acceptors was revealed this morning with superstar and newly crowned World Champion sprinter Black Caviar set to face off against nine quality rivals.
Returning to the track for the first time since her blistering four length victory in the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) on Emirates Stakes Day, Peter Moody’s brilliant Bel Esprit mare Black Caviar is set to start odds-on favourite in the 2011 Lightning Stakes odds.
Unbeaten in her eight career starts to date, the four-year-old sprint queen is out to maintain her faultless record on Saturday and will jump from barrier seven with Luke Nolen aboard.
If successful in becoming the 2011 Lightning Stakes winner, Black Caviar will match have matched the feats of Rancher who was the last Australian racehorse to win nine straight metro races in 1981 – 82.
Favourites have a less-than-impressive recent record in the Lighting Stakes results with only two having won in the past decade.
Also against Black Caviar statistically is the record of odds-on favourites in the sprint showdown, General Nediym the last odds-on favourite to win when successful back in the 1998 Lightning Stakes.
Punters then may be turning their attention to an upset and there is plenty of depth in the Lightning Stakes field this year to suggest Black Caviar could be beaten.
The 2011 Lightning Stakes is the second time boom galloper Hay List will face Black Caviar, John McNair’s Statue Of Liberty gelding out for revenge after being beaten 11 ½ lengths by Black Caviar in the Patinack.
Hay List was freshened up after his disappointing effort in the Patinack, his first defeat since June last year.
Boasting an imposing record of his own with 12 wins and a second from 15 starts, Hay List has drawn barrier 10 for the Lightning Stakes.
Other Lightning Stakes acceptors out to cause an upset this year include in-form seven-year-old Grand Duels, Golden Slipper winner Crystal Lily, Ascot galloper Stirling Grove, up-and-coming filly Warm Love, Mick Price’s four-year-old son of Bel Esprit True Persuasion and the returning King Pulse.
The Byron Cozamanis-trained Grand Duels has won their past three starts including their recent victory in the Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on January 22.
A specialist at the Flemington track, Grand Duels is dropping back in weights and has a good barrier five draw so there will be money for them in the Lighting Stakes betting.
Crystal Lily advantages from the weight-for-age conditions of the Lightning Stakes, the smart three-year-old filly set to carry just 53.5kg with Damien Oliver in the mount as she runs first-up on Saturday.
The speedy daughter of Stratum has also drawn well in barrier four and easily has the ability to finish in the top three, improving on her last start 11th in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) back in August where she was checked with less than 400m to run.
Stirling Grove has also come up with an excellent gate in the Lighting Stakes barrier draw set to start from alley two with Craig Williams in the mount.
Richard Jolly’s Mossman three-year-old ran a gallant second over 1000m at his home track at Morphettville last start, connections quietly confident he has the speed to run well in the Lightning Stakes.
Warm Love is the other 53.5kg light-weight of the Lightning Stakes field and although she looks a little out-classed here could rise and finish in the top four so consider her in your exotics.
True Persuasion also has claims in the Lightning Stakes after running third behind Black Caviar in the Group 2 Schweppes Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in October and second behind Hay List in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) also at Moonee Valley during the spring.
Meanwhile there will be plenty of eyes on the Michael Moroney-trained King Pulse, resuming after being injured in the freak Flemington hail storm after his fourth in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) last March.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for comprehensive coverage of the Lightning Stakes including the form guide and our betting tips.
The 2011 Coolmore Lightning Stakes odds will open at Luxbet shortly so make sure you’re ready by opening your account today.
2011 Lightning Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
|#||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight (kg)||Hcp. Rating|
|1||HAY LIST||John McNair||Glyn Schofield||10||58.5||115|
|2||GRAND DUELS||Byron Cozamanis||Steven Arnold||5||58.5||108|
|3||TRUE PERSUASION||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||8||58.5||98|
|4||LEAPFROG||Bruce W Hill||Paul Hammersley||1||58.5||89|
|5||TOLLESPRIT||Shane Fliedner||James Winks||9||58.5||94|
|6||KING PULSE||Michael Moroney||Mark Zahra||3||58.5||99|
|7||BLACK CAVIAR||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||7||56.5||118|
|8||STIRLING GROVE||Richard Jolly||Craig Williams||2||55.5||94|
|9||CRYSTAL LILY||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Damien Oliver||4||53.5||107|
|10||WARM LOVE||David Brideoake||Ben Melham||6||53.5||94|
Photo courtesy (c) Taron Clarke Photography