Les Bridge’s locally-trained mare Avoid Lightning is set to back up from her recent Group 3 win at Rosehill in the Sapphire Stakes 2014 at Royal Randwick this weekend.
The five-year-old improved on her first-up fifth in the Group 3 Roy Higgins to narrowly hold off Plucky Belle for a victory in the Birthday Card Stakes (1200m) in the wet on March 29, Avoid Lightning’s first win in 13 months.
Now she’s one of 20 fillies and mares nominated for the $300,000 Group 2 Drummond Golf Sapphire Stakes (1200m) on Sydney Cup Day this Saturday.
Also coming into the Sapphire via a run behind Avoid Lightning in the Birthday Card Stakes are the likes of the Peter Moody-trained runner-up Plucky Belle and third placed Aerobatics from the Peter Snowden stables.
Mossman mare Plucky Belle, a winner on Melbourne Cup Day last November before going to Perth for a 12th behind Luckygray in the Group 1 Railway, resumed in the Birthday Card Stakes and is set to improve second time in when she usually does her best running.
Aerobatics meanwhile is third-up here after her maiden turf triumph since a Caulfield Group 3 last October.
Along with Plucky Belle Moody has also nominated for his Kiwi import Full Of Spirit, a Flying Spur five-year-old who races for the first time in Australia here and for the first time since November.
While Avoid Lightning is the sole last start winner in the mix a number of others come off some good form include the Gai Waterhouse-trained Cosmic Endeavour who was runner-up to Politeness in the Group 3 PJ Bell Stakes (1200m) at the track last Saturday.
Waterhouse’s other Sapphire Stakes hopefuls are then Fastnet Rock filly Shahad who won first-up at Canterbury before their eighth in the Birthday Card and dual Group 2 winner Sweet Idea.
Sweet Idea is one of a couple of good fillies dropping back from Group 1 company here.
The Magic Millions Guineas winner, third in last year’s Golden Slipper as a two-year-old, has had her two latest runs in Group 1 class.
First was a devastatingly close second to Steps In Time in the Coolmore before her ninth to Lankan Rupee in the TJ Smith Stakes last weekend where she failed to let down on the Heavy (9) track.
Also down in class after failing in their recent elite effort is the John Thompson-trained Red Ransom filly Thump.
Winner of the Group 2 Surround Stakes at Warwick Farm two back, Thump was last seen running eighth to Spirit Of Boom where she held on fairly in the William Reid at Moonee Valley on March 21.
See below for the full Sapphire Stakes 2014 nominations, final acceptances out on Wednesday.
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2014 Sapphire Stakes Nominations
Royal Randwick – 19/04/2014
|2||AVOID LIGHTNING||Les Bridge||101|
|3||BELLE DE COEUR||Luke Price||71|
|4||COSMIC ENDEAVOUR||Gai Waterhouse||86|
|6||FULL OF SPIRIT||Peter G Moody||100|
|8||LUCKY NEWS||Kristen Buchanan||69|
|9||MAGNA AMICA||Tracey Bartley||68|
|11||PERON||John P Thompson||98|
|12||PLUCKY BELLE||Peter G Moody||99|
|15||SIMPLY BRILLIANT||Bjorn Baker||73|
|16||SINGLE STYLE (NZ)||Gary Portelli||87|
|18||SWEET IDEA||Gai Waterhouse||106|
|20||VILLA SPLENDIDO||Garry White||72|