The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Chris Waller’s champion sprinter Nature Strip returns for the autumn in Saturday’s best at HQ heading markets to successfully defend his title in the 2022 Black Caviar Lightning.
Set to run as Flemington Race 7 at 4:25pm (AEDT), this season’s Group 1 $1 million Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) features a small but elite field of just nine short-distance hopefuls.
After winning the race last Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival fresh, Waller’s now seven-year-old son of Nicconi again dominates Black Caviar Lightning betting at $2.70 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Nature Strip is out to become the first multiple winner since the race’s namesake, three-time champion mare Black Caviar (2011-13), and is the genuine Flemington specialist in the mix.
He’s six-from-eight at the track and was last seen backing up from his $15 million The Everest win in Sydney to salute in last November’s Group 1 VRC Classic (1200m) down the iconic ‘Straight Six’ by over three lengths.
Last year’s winning hoop Ms Jamie Kah has the mount on Saturday’s headliner with Nature Strip drawn in barrier six.
Waller will also saddle-up his smart I Am Invincible colt Home Affairs from barrier eight first-up with James McDonald aboard.
No three-year-old has won the Black Caviar Lightning since Fastnet Rock in 2005 and Home Affairs is at a current quote of $6.50 to be the next.
He had his first run at Flemington on Derby Day last October and was ultra-impressive winning the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) from barrier 13 of 16 by three lengths.
Following Nature Strip in the Black Caviar Lightning odds at $4 is the popular Joe Pride-trained Eduardo.
The evergreen eight-year-old Host gelding is yet to win at Flemington from three previous starts, but has a 50% winning strike-rate fresh (8:4-1-2).
The classy chestnut is a dual Group 1 winner and was last seen enjoying another feature race victory in the $1 million Classique Legend Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill in October.
That followed on from his third in The Everest behind Nature Strip, with Saturday his first run in Melbourne since a disappointing seventh over the Black Caviar Lightning track and distance way back in May of 2020.
The other single-figure fancies are three-year-old Capitalist colt Profiteer ($8.50) to be ridden by Brett Prebble and the Hawkes Racing-trained Masked Crusader ($9).
The Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr-trained Profiteer is two-from-two at Flemington following his winning debut here back in December of 2020 and an 1000m victory last start at HQ on November 2.
Masked Crusader is yet to race at Flemington, but the five-year-old son of Toronado has plenty of form around this calibre of sprinters.
With prize money earned just shy of $3.8 million, last year’s The Everest runner-up was lasts seen running sixth to Eduardo in the Classique Legend Stakes and will be better suited to the shorter distance fresh this weekend.
2022 Black Caviar Lightning Field & Barrier
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||x121x1211x||NATURE STRIP||Chris Waller||Ms Jamie Kah||6||58.5kg||120|
|2||x1131x131x||EDUARDO||Joseph Pride||Nash Rawiller||5||58.5kg||116|
|3||125x15126x||MASKED CRUSADER||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Jye McNeil||3||58.5kg||114|
|4||31x30x370x||GYTRASH||Gordon Richards & Damien Moyle||Mark Zahra||2||58.5kg||113|
|5||1111x6120x||THE INFERNO||Cliff Brown||Damian Lane||4||58.5kg||110|
|6||x5411313x3||THE ASTROLOGIST||Leon & Troy Corstens||John Allen||1||58.5kg||104|
|7||x358x8052x||SWATS THAT||Leon & Troy Corstens||Damien Oliver||9||56.5kg||108|
|8||2138x191x||HOME AFFAIRS||Chris Waller||James McDonald||8||55.5kg||111|
|9||1127x621x||PROFITEER||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Brett Prebble||7||55.5kg||87|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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