Brave connections of seven hopeful horses have taken the chance and nominated for the 2011 Schillaci Stakes on Caulfield Guineas Day this Saturday, the race Peter Moody’s undefeated Horse of the Year Black Caviar resumes racing in.
Genius sprinter Black Caviar gave race fans a scintillating taste of her return when annihilating rivals in an all-too-easy Caulfield gallop last week, the brilliant Bel Esprit mare to make her five-year-old debut in the $200,000 Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m) on Saturday.
Last seen under race conditions when saluting her 13th consecutive start, Black Caviar became a six-time Group 1 winner back in May when running away from Hay List to take out the BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben.
She is back at Caulfield this weekend to defend her title in the Schillaci Stakes, which she won first-up last spring carnival, Black Caviar set to open as the odds-on favourite at Luxbet.
Black Caviar will embark on the same three-start spring campaign she successfully completed last year with the $300,000 Group 2 Schweppes Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day, October 22, and the $1 million Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day during the Melbourne Cup Carnival next month to follow after Saturday.
If she wins successive Schillaci Stakes, Black Caviar will equal the champion Phar Lap’s 14-race winning streak.
With nothing but a freak disaster likely to stop Black Caviar winning on Saturday, it is surprising the 2011 Schillaci Stakes drew any other nominees.
There are, however, seven other horses in contention at this stage including Neville Layt’s smart filly Karuta Queen.
A promising juvenile who hit the headlines winning the Wyong Magic Millions – Gold Coast Magic Millions 2YO Classic during the summer, Karuta Queen suffered defeats in her next four starts.
Finally breaking the drought, the daughter of Not a Single Doubt was back in the winner’s stall on September 17 after taking out the Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m).
It will take a huge improvement for Karuta Queen to challenge Black Caviar for the Schillaci Stakes title on Saturday, but Layt believes she is up to the test.
Meanwhile Warwick Farm-based trainer Gary Portelli has paid up for two of his horses in Octagonal six-year-old Eight Bills and Intergaze mare Platinum Skye.
Rounding out the Schillaci Stakes 2011 nominations are the Heat Conners-trained Centexpress, veteran nine-year-old Galbraith, South Australian raider Morgan Dollar and the Brett Partelle-trained honours List gelding Tasos coming off a first-up win at Newcastle.
In a bid to possibly attract more nominees, Racing Victoria have extended nominations until Tuesday with the current list of challengers described as slightly embarrassing by Moody’s racing manager Jeff O’Connor.
“Obviously they are handy horses up against her on Saturday, but it is a shame they can’t get a name horse there to give her a bit more competition,” O’Connor said.
The final field for the feature race of the weekend, the 2011 Caulfield Guineas, will be out tomorrow while acceptances for the day’s other events including the Schillaci Stakes will remain open until Wednesday.
Futures Caulfield Guineas betting is open now at Luxbet, so hurry and lock in your selections now before pre-field markets close.
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2011 Schillaci Stakes Nominations
|1||BLACK CAVIAR||Peter G Moody||128|
|2||CENTEXPRESS (NZ)||Heath Conners||78|
|3||EIGHT BILLS||Gary Portelli||92|
|5||KARUTA QUEEN||Neville Layt||94|
|6||MORGAN DOLLAR||Stuart Gower||89|
|7||PLATINUM SKYE||Gary Portelli||91|