Sydney horseman Joe Pride isn’t worried about the likely star-studded line-up in Saturday’s Black Caviar Lightning 2016 believing his proven performer Terravista has the turn of foot to win the Flemington dash.
Fifteen nominations were received on Monday for the $750,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) including last November’s Darley Classic winner Delectation and runner-up Chautauqua.
Third in the same Group 1 over 1200m at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival was Pride’s six-year-old son of Captain Rio Terravista who is out to turn the tables with a first-up win on the weekend.
Only a long neck separated the first three over the line in what was a blanket finish to last year’s Darley Classic, and with all three likely acceptors for the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes it is shaping up as a scintillating showdown.
Also in the mix are gun three-year-olds Exosphere and Japonisme, also returning for the autumn, but Pride remains confident his veteran galloper has the experience and skill to get the job done.
“He’s right up there with those sort of horses,” Pride told Racing Victoria.
“We just need him to perform at the level he’s shown he can in the past and he’s given every indication that he’ll be able to do that this week.
“I’m expecting a small field and with his good turn of foot that should help him.”
Terravista is a first-up flyer boasting an imposing record of five wins and a third from his six previous runs when resuming, and also has a great affinity with the Flemington track.
He chases his maiden win since taking out Randwick’s Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) in Sydney first-up last time in and his first Group 1 success since beating home the Team Hawkes-trained Chautauqua in the 2014 Darley Classic.
Second-up Terravista returns to Flemington on ‘Super Saturday’, March 12, for a second shot in the $1 million Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m), a race he crossed third to Brazen Beau in last Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
Pride will then take his $1.77 million earner to Sydney for a shot at the $2.5 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on Day 1 of Randwick’s The Championships, April 2, which he also finished third in last autumn behind Chautauqua.
“It fits into his program a little better in that I want him to peak on TJ Smith Stakes day,” Pride said.
“There’s not really a lot of movement in his program because being a Group 1 horse, there’s not many races they can run him.
“He’s had the one trial, but for 1000m I think that’s all he’d need.
“I’m very happy with him.”
Terravista had a lead-up trial on February 8 over 804m where he defeated Exosphere ahead of his return.
His regular rider Hugh Bowman is racing in Sydney this weekend, Damien Oliver taking over in the saddle on Saturday shooting for his incredible sixth Lightning Stakes success.
Oliver’s previous winning rides were aboard Schillaci (1992-93), Gold Ace (1996), Testa Rossa (2000) and most recently the David Hayes-trained Nicconi (2010).
Pride’s other Black Caviar Lightning Stakes nominee Ball Of Muscle is an unlikely acceptor, to be saved for a first-up run in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on March 5.
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