Co-trainer Troy Corstens is looking forward to the return of the stable’s classy mare Vezalay who takes on a crack field first-up in the 2016 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne.
The four-year-old daughter of Shamardal is one of just two mares along with the Phil Sweeny-trained Sweet Emily nominated to take on the colts and geldings in this year’s edition of the $750,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m).
Mares though have dominated the recent Black Caviar Lightning Stakes results winning four of the past five editions with triple winner and the race’s namesake Black Caviar (2011-13) and Snitzerland (2014).
Vezalay hasn’t raced since her Listed Alinghi Stakes (1100m) win on Caulfield Cup Day last October, but boasts a good first-up record of two wins and a second from three previous runs and ran well in a recent Flemington jump-out.
Over her 10 start career to date, which has netted three wins, she has been tested in elite level company just once before.
That was in March last year at Moonee Valley Racecourse when finished eighth, beaten only three and a half lengths, by the Darren Weir-trained Lucky Hussler in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m).
She has had two previous Flemington runs when unplaced in a blanket finish beaten just three quarters of a length in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) last September following her third to Wawail in the Group 2 Kewney Stakes (1400m) last March.
Her assignment on Saturday though still looks very tough with headline Black Caviar Lightning nominees including Chris Waller’s Darley Classic winner Delectation, Coolmore Stud Stakes winning stablemate Japonisme, fellow boom three-year-old Exosphere for John O’Shea and Australia’s equal highest-rated ranked galloper Chautauqua.
Corstens is keeping positive and is also looking ahead at future autumn aims for the mare.
“She’s fit and well so we’ll have a crack at the Lightning,” he told AAP.
“After that we’ll see where we go.
“Ultimately a race like the William Reid or the Sangster Stakes in Adelaide is where we would like to be heading.”
The $400,000 Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) runs on March 24 followed by Adelaide’s $400,000 Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) for fillies and mares at Morphettville on May 7.
The 2016 Black Caviar Lightning field and barriers are out on Wednesday.
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