The Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained superstar sprinter Chautauqua is one of the headline nominees for the Black Caviar Lightning 2016 at Flemington Racecourse this Saturday in Melbourne.
The second elite level of the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival, this season’s $750,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) has attracted 15 nominations with Chautauqua the highest rated of the early entries.
A dual Group 1 winner, the Encosta De Lago five-year-old won three on the trot in Melbourne during the spring including the Manikato Stakes before his brave second to Delectation in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) last time out.
He kicks off the Lightning Stakes this weekend back at the same track as the Darley Classic looking to continue his gun first-up record leading towards a trip to Sydney to defend his title in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 2 during The Championships.
The Hawkes Racing stable has also nominated for smart Exceed And Excel colt Headwater, another 2016 TJ Smith Stakes hope this autumn, who comes off a first-up win down the Flemington straight at this track and distance in the Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) from January 30.
The galloper that beat home Chautauqua in the Darley Classic during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the Chris Waller-trained Delectation is also nominated for a rematch in the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes on Saturday.
Waller has a total of three entries as he chases his first win in the classic, Delectation joined by three-year-olds stablemates Counterattack and Japonisme.
Redoute’s Choice colt Counterattack ran third to Japonisme in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington back on Victoria Derby Day last October and returned with a brave third to Spill The Beans in the Group 3 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.
As well as the Melbourne Group 1 he is also nominated for a rematch with Spill The Beans in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) over more distance at Rosehill Gardens this weekend.
Waller’s returning Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Japonisme meanwhile is only in the mix for the Black Caviar Lightning this weekend seeking another elite level win at Victoria’s premier track.
There is a total of seven three-year-olds nominated for the Black Caviar Lightning this season out to be the first of that age group to win the short distance spring since Fastnet Rock (2005).
The other headline youngster in the mix is the John O’Shea-trained Exosphere, winner of the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) last September.
James McDonald travels to Melbourne to continue his association with the Godolphin-raced Lonhro colt whose last start was a fourth in the Coolmore Stud Stakes.
David Hayes & Tom Dabernig also have a livewire three-year-old entered with Bel Esprit gelding Keen Array running for the first time since his Coolmore Stud Stakes second.
Other notable hopes include the Joe Pride-trained duo of Ball Of Muscle and Terravista.
Super-consistent five-year-old Ball Of Muscle has never finished worse than third in his 17 career runs to date and was runner-up at his only previous Flemington start April over 1000m.
He is a Group 1 placegetter having run second to Buffering in last October’s Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley and was last seen crossing third in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1000m) on Caulfield Cup Day.
Ball Of Muscle trialled nicely at Warwick Farm when third over 804m earlier in the month behind fellow Black Caviar Lightning bound Terravista.
Captain Rio six-year-old Terravista has a solid Flemington record of a win and two thirds from three starts including his third placing behind Delectation in the Darley Classic on November 7.
Check out the full Black Caviar Lightning 2016 nominations below then head along to our preferred online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au to open a new account depositing and quoting the code BETBONUS to enjoy up to $500 in bonuses for a short time only!
2016 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes Nominations
Flemington Racecourse – 20/02/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x221x3223x||BALL OF MUSCLE||G||5||Joseph Pride||106|
|3||1213x1112x||CHAUTAUQUA||G||5||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||115|
|6||215x5311x6||ECLAIR CHOICE||G||4||Phillip Stokes||105|
|8||135x7948x1||HEADWATER||C||3||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||96|
|10||40x112112x||KEEN ARRAY||G||3||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||94|
|11||21x16x||KINGLIKE||C||3||Peter G Moody||86|
|12||3x685382x4||SWEET EMILY||M||5||Phil Sweeney||81|
|14||540x25x20x||VA PENSIERO||H||5||Jason Coyle||100|
|15||538x13641x||VEZALAY||M||4||Leon & Troy Corstens||95|