John O’Shea’s returning Golden Rose winner Exosphere is the early favourite in all-in Black Caviar Lightning 2016 odds for this weekend’s Group 1 feature at Flemington Racecourse.
Racing Victoria took 15 nominations for this Saturday’s $750,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m), formerly the Lightning Stakes, including a number of boom three-year-olds looking to become the first of their age to win since Fastnet Rock (2005).
One of the top youngsters in the mix for the weight-for-age sprint is the Godolphin-raced Lonhro colt Exosphere who returns to racing kicking off his autumn campaign.
Winner of the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) last September, the $1 million earner was last seen crossing fourth to fellow three-year-old Black Caviar Lightning nominee Japonisme in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day.
He trilled nicely at Warwick Farm on February 8 over 804m when runner-up to another Lightning hope, the Joe Pride-trained Terravista, sharpening him up for his shot at a third win from four first-up runs.
The bookies are taking no chances on the young Exosphere and he sits top of the pre-field Black Caviar Lightning betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $2.30.
He is followed very closely in the markets by the equal highest rated Australian racehorse in the WTR, Chautauqua ($2.80) for Team Hawkes.
Co-trainer John Hawkes won the race back in 2001 with Sports and trains Encoasta De Lago five-year-old Chautauqua in partnership with his sons Michael and Wayne.
To date the $3.43 million earning geldings has won three of his six Flemington assignments with his other three runs producing seconds at the track he returns to this weekend.
After posting his second elite level win in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 23 during the spring, Chautauqua was last seen running a devastatingly close second when only just nosed out of the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) win by Delectation on November 7 during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
The Chris Waller-trained Darley Classic winner Delectation ($7) occupies the third line of the current early Black Caviar Lightning odds for the rematch this weekend.
A four-year-old son of Shamradal, the progressive champion chases another Flemington Group 1 win over the short 1000m distance to hand his master Sydney-based trainer with his first Lighting Stakes success.
Rounding out the single figure hopes at $8 is the aforementioned Terravista also returning to racing here, the first-up flyer boasting five wins and a third from six previous resuming runs.
He ran third in the Darley Classic last time out, form the bookies are tipping to stack up back at the track over 200m shorter on Saturday.
The last Lightning Stakes favourite to win was triple winning and the now namesake of the classic Black Caviar (2011-13) who was odds-on for all of her victories.
A little further down the latest markets to win this year meanwhile are Waller’s Coolmore Stud Classic winner Japonisme ($10), the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Coolmore Stud Stakes third placegetter Keen Array ($12) and Pride’s other nominee Ball Of Muscle ($15) who is more likely to be saved for the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on March 5.
Check out the latest Black Caviar Lighting Stakes 2016 odds, all-in prices open online now at Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of the release of the final field and barriers on Wednesday!