Leading Brisbane trainer Rob Heathcote, who entered his champion Queensland galloper Buffering as one of the 16 Lightning Stakes 2012 nominations today, believes rival horseman Peter Moody will opt not to run the undefeated queen Black Caviar in Saturday’s Flemingtonfeature.
Black Caviar maintained her flawless career record last Saturday easily accounting for her rivals and the 1400m to coast to a customarily cruisy victory in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes at Caulfield.
Having pulled up after the run in brilliant order, connections threw in a nomination for the Bel Esprit five-year-old to defend her title in this weekend’s $750,000 Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1200m).
Despite Moody’s Racing Manager Jeff O’Connor proclaiming that her subsequent acceptance and appearance in the 2012 Lightning Stakes field was looking good, Heathcote believes she will be a no show come Saturday.
Mossman four-year-old Buffering, a three-time Group winner, has faced off against the ‘Black Flash’ twice before.
He finished third to her in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben last May before his last-start second behind the mighty mare in the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 5.
While Heathcote is wary of coming up against her again, he believes Moody may not go through with plans to run her on Saturday.
“The way Peter has managed her through the career to date, it would just really surprise me if he comes out and runs her three weeks in a row, particularly with the big overseas campaign still to come,” he said.
“I know it was only a hard canter on Saturday, but it was still 1400m and she won’t have it handed up to her on a plate in the Lightning.”
While nothing is a sure thing in racing, you can put your money on all the rival Lightning Stakes trainers hoping Heathcote is correct.
Sydney-based John O’Shea is one of them, his smart Fastnet Rock colt Foxwedge nominated to go first-up into the Lightning Stakes having run a close second to another superstar, Sepoy, in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) last-start on Derby Day.
While confident he has a good horse in Foxwedge, O’Shea knows all too well what it’s like to come up against and be defeated by a champ and is unconvinced that anything is too much for the Cav.
“I’m sticking to my plan which was always to run him first-up in the Lightning Stakes and I won’t be changing from that regardless of whether Black Caviar is running,” he said
“I know it’s going to be difficult to beat her but on the flipside if there is ever going to do this could be next week with her coming back from 1400m to 1000m.
“So in reality if we’re ever going to take her on it’s a good time to do so with the backing-up factor and also the distance factor.
“I’m not saying we are going to beat her but we’ll be there trying.
“It’s an opportunity to get her beaten.”
Along with Buffering, two other Queenslanders that feature in the Lightning Stakes nominations with Tony Gollan’s straight-track specialist Temple Of Boom and Jason McLachlan’s 2009 Golden Slipper winner Phelan Ready.
McLachlan also nominated his Catbird gelding Facile Tigre, but said they were more likely to be saved for the $350,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 25.
The five-year-old hasn’t been seen since Melbourne Cup Day when they beat home a smart field in a Listed 1200m feature, but impressed their trainer in a Friday morning hitout last week.
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2012 Lighting Stakes Ballot & Weights
Caulfield – 18/02/2012
|2||FACILE TIGRE||Jason McLachlan||9||58.5kg||103|
|3||GRAN SASSO||David Brideoake & David Feek||15||58.5kg||95|
|4||HAY LIST||John McNair||2||58.5kg||115|
|5||METALLURGICAL||John P Thompson||13||58.5kg||95|
|6||PHELAN READY||Jason McLachlan||12||58.5kg||103|
|7||SECRET FLYER||Mark Young||10||58.5kg||102|
|8||TEMPLE OF BOOM||Tony Gollan||4||58.5kg||108|
|9||BLACK CAVIAR||Peter G Moody||1||56.5kg||130|
|10||CURTANA||Peter G Moody||8||56.5kg||101|
|11||LONE ROCK||Robert Smerdon||6||56.5kg||109|
|12||SISTER MADLY||John Sadler||5||56.5kg||110|
|13||AFRICAN PULSE||Michael Moroney||11||55.5kg||89|
|15||SMACKDOWN (NZ)||Austy Coffey||16||55.5kg||62|
|16||HALLE ROCKS||Mick Price||14||53.5kg||72|