A 2014 Tattersall’s Tiara start has been confirmed for Les Bridge’s in-form mare Avoid Lightning after a searching gallop at home in Sydney on Tuesday morning.
The Blevic five-year-old is one of 25 nominated for this year’s $500,000 Group 1 SKY Racing Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m), the weight-for-age feature bringing Group 1 racing in Australia to an end for another season.
Having won three of her five runs this campaign Avoid Lightning will now make the trip to Queensland to be stepped up to Group 1 company for the first time for their new trainer.
Previously prepared in Adelaide by David Jolly she’s only been in Bridge’s care since the start of the year.
With Jolly she was tested at Group 1 level once when a credible sixth behind Platelet, another Tattersall’s Tiara nominee for Saturday, in the 2013 Robert Sangster Classic at Morphettville.
She’s earned another shot at a Group 1 title then after her excellent work at Randwick today with Tim Clark riding her in a smart 1000m effort on the Kensington track.
“She worked really good, a perfect piece of work really, sometimes you can work with a partner and sometimes you get situations where the partner goes too hard but everything worked out perfect,” Clark told the Racing Network.
“It was a nice piece of work over 1000m, she gradually built up each furlong and joined her partner at the furlong and put a couple of lengths on him, she quickened really nice.”
Avoid Lightning’s form this campaign has also been excellent and includes a Group 3 Birthday Card Stakes victory in the wet at Rosehill in March.
Following that she backed up to run second behind the Gai Waterhouse-trained Cosmic Endeavour in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m) in April.
Cosmic Endeavour looks one of the main dangers again on Saturday in the Tatt’s Tiara after the Northern Meteor filly won the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m) on Stradbroke Day over this track and distance.
The three-year-old also won her start before that against her own age at Scone in the lucrative $400,000 Inglis Guineas (1400m).
Avoid Lightning also comes off back-to-back wins having taken out two 1100m Randwick sprints.
The most recent of those was by an easy three lengths over Zaratone in the Listed June Stakes on June 7 where she thrived on a rain-affected ground despite her hefty 59kg weight allocation.
On Saturday she drops down to 57kg and could get another soft track with rain forecast in Brisbane late in the week.
“As far as weights go, I think we will get an advantage too,” Clark said.
While her lead-up form is right, the only query could be the distance with Avoid Lightning going up to the 1400m for the first time.
“She needed a bit of a work out, especially going to the 1400m for the first time,” Clark said this morning.
“She has never been there before (to 1400m), we don’t know about it but she is in the right frame of mind at the moment, if she is ever going to do it, this is it.”
Clark retains the ride on the weekend having ridden her for three of her four wins this prep and is looking forward to continuing his association.
“The only time she was beaten when I rode her (Roy Higgins Tribute Quality), she should have won, I should be four wins from as many starts on her,” he said.
“She has just continued to improve. Obviously we have been fortunate that she has struck a couple of wet tracks as well.
“She is just going great. Les has her at the top of her game.
“There are only about four races at this level for fillies and mares a year, this is the only one over 1400m, and it is definitely worth having a throw at the stumps with the mare going so well.”
Another Tattersall’s Tiara nominee confirmed for a run after a hit-out this morning is Ciaron Maher’s ultra-consistent Dubawi three-year-old Srikandi.
A winner of six on the trot leading up to the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) two weeks ago, the flying filly impressed her Victorian trainer and top jockey Glen Boss with her work today over 1000m at Eagle Farm.
“She seems fine, at this stage we will be accepting and see how she pulls up,” Maher said.
“She worked over 1000m, breezed up the last 600m.
“She was bouncing around before the gallop, which says to me she is still feeling good.
“I’ve kept her nice and fresh, Glen said she stretched out nicely.”
Srikandi caught the eye when just a length off the winner River Lad in the Stradbroke in her first Group 1 start and maiden Eagle Farm run, and is tipped to improve coming back to girls-only company in the Tiara.
Srikandi also had barrier 13 of 18 in the Stradbroke so a better gate on the weekend will further boost her chances of becoming the first since Melito (2010) to back up from the Stradbroke top three and win the Tiara.
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