After a four year stint racing all over the globe, veteran seven-year-old Scenic Blast is back on Aussie turf this Saturday where they will face the best in the country, Black Caviar, in the $300,000 Group 2 Schweppes Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley’s 2011 Cox Plate Day.
Yesterday there were 10 sprinters nominated for the 2011 Schweppes Stakes, a race superstar mare and reigning Australian Horse of the year Black Caviar will vie for successive victories in.
Resuming first-up for the season Black Caviar equalled the immortal Phar Lap’s personal best of 14 consecutive victories and went one step closer to the Australian record of 18-straight set by the mighty Ajax many decades ago, when successfully defending her title in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on October 8.
Black Caviar is unbeaten and trainer Peter Moody intends for this to still be the case come Sunday morning, and you can bet she will be at incredibly short odds – $1.05 anyone? – to record her 15th on the trot in the Schweppes Stakes odds at Luxbet.
Set to again meet an inferior field of rivals, Black Caviar is at a 128 rating and the next highest-rated of the Schweppes Stakes entries this year is Scenic Blast (112).
Back with their original trainer, Ascot-based horseman Daniel Morton, Scenic Blast races for the first time since their third place finish in a 1200 metre sprint in Hollywood back in November of last year.
Scenic Blast’s last appearance in Australia was their 2009 Newmarket Handicap victory, and Saturday will be their first look at Moonee Valley.
They are an interesting addition to the Schweppes Stakes 2011 and their international race experience, which includes a win in the Group 1 King’s Stands Stakes at Ascot in June of 2009, certainly makes them a smoky in the race.
Still, against Black Caviar Scenic Blast looks to be running for second at best as admitted by Morton.
“She’s an absolute superstar,” he said.
“Realistically he (Scenic Blast) was at his peak in 2009.
“She should be too good.”
Scenic Blast will follow the same spring path as Black Caviar, set to face off against her again on Emirates Stakes Day, November 5, in the $1 million Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington.
“The intention is to run him (on Saturday) and then in the Patinack,” Morton said.
“We’re mindful he hasn’t trialled or raced in 11 months, he’s a real project.”
In a warning shot to her rivals, as if she needed to send one, Black Caviar showed she was as relaxed as ever ahead of Saturday’s showdown given an easy gallop and swim at the beach on Tuesday morning.
Running over 800 metres in 52.84 seconds, Black Caviar finished her final 600 metres in a leisurely 37.52 seconds which satisfied Moody.
“Just making sure she is relaxed and happy,” Moody said.
Moody will also be represented in the feature race of the weekend, the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), by his in-form mare King’s Rose who drew ideally in barrier two for Saturday’s weight-for-age clash.
“Her preparation has been good and she deserves her chance,” Moody said of King’s Rose who worked over a mile at Moonee Valley this morning.
King’s Rose, a winner of two of her three starts down under, is rated a $15 chance in the current Cox Plate odds at Luxbet which are led by firming favourite Helmet ($3.40).
While the 2011 Cox Plate final field and barriers were released on Tuesday, the remainder of the Moonee Valley race acceptances will be taken on Wednesday and published right here at Races.com.au including those for the Schweppes Stakes.
Punters looking for value in the Schweppes Stakes on Saturday should sign up with the Tabcorp-owned online bookmaker Luxbet now, and if you quote the code BONUSBET when making your first Luxbet deposit you will also be rewarded with a $500 bonus bet.
Over the carnival Luxbet have been offering exclusive ‘Without The Favourite’ race markets where they give odds on races as if the hot favourite were not running.
This will be a great option for the Schweppes Stakes with Black Caviar all but unbeatable, so make sure you check out Luxbet for your Cox Plate Day betting needs!