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Perth horseman Dan Morton has confirmed he’s “under no illusions” when it comes to the chances of his WA raider Watermans Bay upsetting some of the country’s hottest sprinters in the 2015 Black Caviar Lightning takes in Melbourne on Saturday.
While hopeful his Eternity Range six-year-old can be competitive in the $500,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lighting (1000m), Ascot-based Morton also remains acutely aware of the class of Watermans Bay’s rivals.
There are just six in the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes field this year, the firm favourite of which is the undefeated Hawkes Racing-trained entire Deep Field ($2.25 in from $2.30) to win his sixth straight and first in Group 1 company.
The other big name players in the early Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival clash are then Mick Price’s four-time Group 1 winner Lankan Rupee ($2.50 out from $2.35) and the Chris Waller-trained three-year-old Brazen Beau ($5 in from $5.50) racing for the first time since his Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes win at the track in the spring.
Watermans Bay meanwhile is drawn in barrier four and pays $34 to score an upset Black Caviar Lightning Stakes result.
Morton is no stranger to Lightning Stakes success having won the short distance feature with the heroic Scenic Blast as a 21-1 shot back in 2009, before subsequent wins in the Newmarket Handicap and England’s King’s Stand Stakes.
He isn’t however exactly convinced he can do it again six years on with Watermans Bay who has the same hoop, Steven Arnold, aboard who won the Group 1s with Scenic Blast.
“I’m under no illusions with the big guns in the race and I’ll just be able to see my bloke work home down the straight and see how he goes,” Morton told Racenet.
“He’s probably not in the same class as that old unit (Scenic Blast) but he’s going to get a cheque.”
What Morton is more positive about however is that his galloper will take improvement from the run heading towards his main aim this season, the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) back at Flemington on March 14.
“The Newmarket is the goal,” he added.
Futures Newmarket Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by recent Rubiton Stakes winner Chautauqua ($3.20) who is a stablemate of Saturday’s Black Caviar Lightning favourite Deep Field.
Watermans Bay meanwhile is a $51 roughie for the Newmarket, a price he is sure to firm in from with a top three run on the weekend.
He comes off good form at home into the Lightning takes including a win in the Group 3 AJ Scahill Stakes (1400m) on December 6, which followed his Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) second to Magnifisio.
First-up this time in he ran in the Listed Cyril Flower Stakes (1200m) on February 7 and was beaten one and three-quarter lengths when second to Black Heart Bart in a brave effort carting a hefty 62kg.
“He did a great job with the big weight and the winner (Black Heart Bart) is a decent horse so he’s going well,” Morton said.
“He didn’t turn a hair on the plane and he’s arrived here safe and sound, which is always a good start.”
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