A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
The Lindsay Park stable will have just the one Black Caviar Lighting 2018 runner in Redkirk Warrior on Saturday as their gun fillies Catchy and Formality bypass the race in favour of the Oakleigh Plate.
The team had a total of four nominees for this autumn’s Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington Racecourse, but head trainer David Hayes confirmed on Tuesday that only Newmarket Handicap winner Redkirk Warrior would accept.
Shiedel will be saved for a later return to the track, yet to be determined, while the three-year-olds Catchy and Formality will do battle at Caulfield on Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes Day, February 24, in the Group $500,000 Oakleigh Plate (1100m).
“We will be looking at running them in the Oakleigh Plate, the handicap conditions of the Oakleigh Plate suits the three-year-old fillies so we will kick off their preps there,” Hayes told Racing Victoria.
Peter & Paul Snowden’s returning The Everest champion Redzel dominates Black Caviar Lightning odds at Ladbrokes.com.au as he races for the first time since taking out the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at the track last November.
Seven-year-old Hong Kong expat Redkirk Warrior also has Group 1 winning form at Flemington having made history last Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival taking out the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) first-up for the first time in a century.
The Notnowcato gelding also saluted first-up in the spring with a two and a half-length Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) win at Flemington before things went amiss.
His two subsequent starts last preparation saw him finishing a disappointing 10th and 11th respectively behind Redzel in Sydney’s The Everest and the Darley Classic.
Hayes, who won the Lightning Stakes back in 2010 with Nicconi, hopes the addition of blinkers on Saturday will help sharpen Redkirk Warrior up and make him a more competitive rival to Redzel.
“He trialled brilliantly up the straight and he has got the addition of blinkers for the first time, with the older horses it can really give them a lift and his training suggests with them on he could go to another level,” Hayes said.
“He has got Redzel to beat, who is obviously a superstar, but if there is a horse in the field capable of an upset I think it is Redkirk Warrior.
“His form tapered off last prep, he went up to Sydney and ran a bit below par and then his final for the year was disappointing, so I thought a little bit of a change up in the blinkers might make the difference.
“He is an older horse, he doesn’t change much prep to prep, I’m happy with the way his coat looks and I expect a bold showing.
“I think Redkirk Warrior at his best can test anything so hopefully I think he will do what I think he can do.”
Stay tuned for the official Black Caviar Lightning 2018 field and updated odds from Ladbrokes.com.au set for release shortly.
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