As predicted leading Melbourne trainer Peter Moody has accepted his stable ace Black Caviar for the Lightning Stakes 2012 at Flemington this Saturday, the mighty mare to face a field of eight rivals should she go ahead and defend her title in the sprint showdown.
Having pulled up sensationally after easily saluting in her distance test to secure her 18th straight in the CF Orr Stakes over 1400-metres at Caulfield last Saturday, it is looking more and more likely that Black Caviar will make another first this weekend and go to the $750,000 Group 1 Coolmore Lightning Stakes (1000m) on a seven-day back-up.
She has never raced on successive Saturdays, but having crushed Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed over the 1400m last weekend, a 1000m sprint would appear to be little more than a track gallop for the queen.
“She has pulled up terrific and I am really happy with her,” Moody said.
“She had a nice little gallop here this morning and then a swim in the pool and she looks great.
“She’ll take the Lightning in her stride, no worries.
“Running in the Lightning is something I have had in the back of my head for some time, although I didn’t make that public.”
Black Caviar will draw the crowds to Flemington Race 6 at 4:10pm on Saturday so long as Moody goes through with starting her, the brilliant Bel Esprit five-year-old to jump from barrier five with Luke Nolen in the saddle once again.
There is the risk that a Lightning Stakes run from Black Caviar miss the $500,000 Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield next Saturday, but Moody said the Blue Diamond Stakes Day event was less crucial for her now that she had proven herself over the 1400-metres already.
“That will be the problem I guess,” he said.
“It will have no bearing on her running in the Lightning, but it will depend on how she pulls up whether or not she runs in the Futurity.
“Anyway, I’ve see her already over 1400-metres, so I don’t really need to see her over that trip again right now.”
While Black Caviar is the domineering drawcard, the connections of eight other horses have decided to go ahead and run for second in the 2012 Lightning Stakes.
Her most notable rival is of course arch-nemesis Hay List, back from a lengthy injury-enforced spell and looking to go one better than the second he ran behind her in the Lightning 12 months ago.
It came as an early lightning strike for Hay List’s connections when they discovered their champion sprinter would once again be facing off against the best in the business, and there is still a chance they will be scratched in favour of a first-up run in the $350,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield Saturday week.
Black Caviar’s Lightning Stakes acceptance has been a bitter blow in fact for the connections of all the other horses that had been targeting the race with the assumption the ‘Black Flash’ would be nowhere to be seen.
Other trainers to test their horses against the champ include John O’Shea with his smart three-year-old colt Foxwedge, Robert Heathcote with his Patinack Farm Classic runner-up Buffering drawing ideally in barrier three and fellow Queensland horseman Tony Gollan who will be represented by straight track specialist Temple Of Boom in the inside alley.
Gollan has his fingers crossed that Saturday could see Black Caviar vulnerable as she attempts a notable distance drop of 400-metres, but knows she will more likely remain undefeated come Sunday morning.
“If she starts, it means that we all have to be happy finishing one place further back in the field than where we want,” Gollan said.
“At weight-for-age conditions, as long as Black Caviar turns up fit and well – and I’m sure Peter wouldn’t run her otherwise – she wins.”
As for Temple Of Boom, who boasts three stakes victories at Flemington from five attempts, he is heading towards the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) back at his favourite track on March 10.
“The handicap conditions of the Newmarket will suit him, and that’s his main aim this trip,” Gollan said.
“The Lightning is his first go at weight-for-age but he’s forward enough to run well.”
Rounding out the 2012 Lightning Stakes field are then former Golden Slipper winner Phelan Ready (barrier two), Mark Young’s stakes winning eight-year-old Secret Flyer (barrier eight), the Robert Smerdon-trained Fastnet Rock mare Lone Rock (barrier six) and Metallurgical (barrier four).
Ace hoop Craig Williams has the mount on the Patinack Farm-owned Metallurgical and is all too familiar with Black Caviar’s backside having been aboard CF Orr Stakes runner-up Southern Speed last Saturday.
Lightning Stakes odds and betting markets are due to open shortly at our No. 1 recommended online bookie Luxbet, with Black Caviar set to open odds-on at $1.05 or shorter.
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2012 Lightning Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Flemington Race 6 – 4:10pm – 18/02/2012
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||8X23X4387X||PHELAN READY||Jason McLachlan||Brad Rawiller||2||58.5kg||103|
|2||116X21212X||HAY LIST||John McNair||Glyn Schofield||7||58.5kg||115|
|3||3744X1462X||BUFFERING||Robert Heathcote||Michael Rodd||3||58.5kg||107|
|4||1X4501613X||TEMPLE OF BOOM||Tony Gollan||Danny Nikolic||1||58.5kg||108|
|5||34536X151X||SECRET FLYER||Mark Young||Dwayne Dunn||8||58.5kg||102|
|6||211222X84X||METALLURGICAL||John P Thompson||Craig Williams||4||58.5kg||95|
|7||111X111X11||BLACK CAVIAR||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||5||56.5kg||130|
|8||9X231X513X||LONE ROCK||Robert Smerdon||Glen Boss||6||56.5kg||109|
|9||137X12412X||FOXWEDGE||John O’Shea||Nash Rawiller||9||55.5kg||102|