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Black Caviar Lightning Stakes preview

The great racing is underway again in Australia, last week we had the G1 Orr Stakes, this time it's the Lightning Stakes, the first leg of the Melbourne sprint triple crown, and the only WFA event amongst them. These days it's probably a better stepping stone towards heading to Royal Ascot than chasing the triple crown.

Making his blog debut to preview this race is 'King' of @weekndkngracing. Follow him for more insight and advice on Aussie racing.

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2014 BLACK CAVIAR LIGHTNING STAKES

1-SHAMEXPRESS.

1st up.
Class sprinter who excels down the straight course of Flemington, his home track. Proven Gr1 WFA performer.

He won the Newmarket at this venue last Autumn defeating last weeks Gr1 winner Moment of Change in a red hot form race.

Has never run a bad race at Flemington in 6 starts - bolted in by 4L on debut (1200m), 5th behind superstar All Too Hard (1400m), 3rd in the Gr1 Coolmore Stud (1200m), sixth behind the legend Black Caviar in this race last year (1000m), won Newmarket (1200m) & a fast finishing second to Buffering in the Gr1 VRC Sprint last Spring.

All those runs have been very good - against not only Australia’s but the World’s best sprinters. 1000m probably is short of his best trip but O’Brien will no doubt have him ready enough to win.

Will camp off what looks to be a blistering tempo and be charging home late. Quiet possibly right over the top of them.

A key player.

2-PAGO ROCK.

1st up.
Honest campaigner who never seems to run a poor race.
Flies fresh - with five wins from six attempts and was amiss the only time he failed.

Has only once run over 1000m (last Spring) when a very narrow second to quality sprinter Unpretentious in the Schillaci at Caulfield.

Boasts a straight course Flemington win as well as a nose second behind Autumn big gun Speediness over 1400m at this venue.

Hasn’t won in seven attempts at group level and only has one minor placing out of those runs. This is his first attempt at Gr1 level.

Class looms as the biggest obstacle, and despite being very lightly raced for a six year old, it’s hard to imagine he’s got the necessary improvement in him to measure up in this.

3-AERONAUTICAL

1st up.
Won the Razor Sharp fresh in December at Randwick defeating Heart Testa & Pampelonne on that occasion. However despite his record showing only one win from six goes first up, he’s placed three times and has always been hitting the line well.

Only 1000m run was on debut where he clearly found it too short.

Can’t see him being in the finish of the race, but I do think he’ll be working home well late on target for his main aim the Newmarket where he’ll be well suited out to 1200m and down in the weights under handicap conditions.

4-ESPRIT DE BULLET

1000m specialist (9 wins) who has been in training right throughout the summer months.

His form in much lesser class has been patchy at best and he looks completely outclassed stepping up to the top level.

Great for connections of the old boy to have a runner in such a famous race but that’s where the sentiment ends. Pass.

5-UNPRETENTIOUS

1st up.
Very interesting runner. He definitely has talent and being so sparingly raced (12 starts / 5 year old) its hard to imagine that his best is behind him.

Won the Schillaci fresh in the Spring at WFA level then tackled the elite class in the VRC Sprint, when far from disgraced in his first go at that level, finishing 6L off tearaway winner Buffering.

Has won three of his four first up races, and trialled very well in preparation for this behind Oakleigh Plate fancy Lankan Rupee.

Represents very good each way value at the price & is a genuine knockout chance.

6-AFRICAN PULSE

Very lightly raced stallion who at 5 has only had 12 career starts to date.

A winner of five races, all at 1000m, but everyone one of those wins came first run back from a spell. Winless from three goes second up, with only one minor placing amongst those runs. That's a major concern for his hopes.

Has won twice over the Flemington 1000m from three starts and was 2nd at the other.

Group 1 performed, he was most unlucky in an Oakleigh Plate beaten only 2.5L and the start after he was just 3.5L off Hay List in the Newmarket.

Has enormous talent but has constantly be plagued with setbacks throughout his racing career. On his best form he’d be a great hope in this, but judging on his first up effort at Caulfield in the listed Adams Stakes, he does look well below his top.

7-SAMAREADY

1st up.
Super star mare who is undoubtedly one of the top few sprinters currently racing in Australia. Only constant injury and health issues have stopped her from reaching dizzying heights.
Still maintain she should have beaten Pierro in their Golden Slipper clash and that’s speaks massive volumes about her class levels.

She was breathtaking winning the Gr1 Moir Stakes 2nd up last prep (off the back of a dominant 1st up win) thrashing Buffering by 4L & the 3rd horse by 6.5L. After that race Buffering had three more runs in his campaign and won Gr1s at each them. Terrific form!

One of those wins (for Buffering - Manikato Stakes) was over Samaready but the mare came out of the run with internal bleeding & never looked comfortable at any stage of the run. Although she was only 1.5L off the winner. After that she was immediately spelled in preparation for this campaign.

Easily won her only run at Flemington, over this track and distance, as a two year old. So the straight holds no fears.

Will settle in behind a hot tempo and be finishing right over the top of them.

If at her best, she’s simply levels above any of her rivals here and will win.

8-SNITZERLAND

1st up.
Speed machine who only knows it one way, flat out! Makes her own luck out in front and always gives herself every possible hope. Was poor in the Moir last Spring, carving up badly after leading to finish well back behind Samaready but was found to have a poor post race recovery rate, so excusable.

Bounced back to her best on Oaks Day over this distance down the straight getting beaten a nose by Lankan Rupee, despite conceding the older male 2.5kg in weight.

Her Rosehill trial in preparation for this was astonishing - winning by 6L and smashing the clock in the process. Her time of 52:30 for the 900m was the fastest 900m trial time in the past 7 years.

Looks to be in peak condition, flies first up and proven down the straight, she ticks all the boxes.

Very tough to lead all the way down the straight and win, but one thing’s for sure she’ll run the 1000 right out. If they chasers are right at their peak, she might just be too speedy.

9-THERMAL CURRENT
SCRATCHED

10-BERNABEU

1st up.
The boom horse. Set tongues wagging last week with a brilliant jump out down the Flemington straight.

Many people are getting carried away with the horse but I’m very reserved in my judgement of him.

His last start win over this track and trip was totally dominant, but it must be remembered that race was a three year old handicap race that lacked depth. Yes, his time was terrific in winning but fast times don’t win Gr1 races alone. He steps up of open Gr1 WFA tomorrow, which I view as the equivalent of a high school track sprinter going from racing his classmates to going to the Olympics. It’s an enormous step! One which undoes so many good horses particularly this early in their career. Only the very very best can make the progression.

He might be a superstar?? But looking at his runs prior to the Flemington win, nothing suggests he’s a superstar yet. He was beaten at Kembla Grange two starts ago in a 1000m Class 2 race, getting run down after hit the front. The winner Biloxi then went to a NMW race in town and was thrashed.

11-BRILLIANT BISC

Very talented sprint filly whose five career runs to date suggest she’s got a very bright future. Beat Guelph on debut in the Gimcrack & has a minor placing behind Overreach.

Ran well 1st up when third in the Adams at Caulfield behind Shamal Wind.

Has plenty of scope and if she has improved can run a bold race.

12-BOOMWAA

Good reason two year olds don’t run in WFA races….It’s a mammoth ask on such a young animal!

Not even in the top calibre of 2 year olds amongst his crop. So cannot entertain him steeping up to open Gr1 and winning.

13-BUGATTY

Good reason two year olds don’t run in WFA races….It’s a mammoth ask on such a young animal!

Not even in the top calibre of two year olds amongst this crop. So cannot entertain him steeping up to open Gr1 and winning.

SUMMARY:

Looks very little depth in the race and I’ve narrowed it down to three winning hopes.

Samaready, Snitzerland & Shamexpress…..The only proven Gr1 / WFA performers in the field. Concede a chance to Unpretentious because I have a very high opinion of the horse and a huge improvement wouldn’t surprise at all.

Samaready though is classes above this field & if she is 100% (which reports out of Caulfield suggest she is) she’ll be too good. She’s a very special mare! Currently around the $3 mark which is getting a bit skinny, but id be surprised if she didn’t go off at $3.20 or better.

BACK: SAMAREADY
LAY: BERNABEU

Other bets on the day;
Rosehill
Race 3 - 3 TWIRL. Terrific debut behind the speedy Rubick who subsequently won the Diamond prelude last week. Was taking ground off the winner late and will relish the rise in distance. Looks top shelf, really think he’s a genuine Slipper horse.

Race 6 - 3 CATKINS***. Classy mare who flies fresh. Really came of age in the Spring when she was Gr1 placed & she’s ready to show her very best now after being given time to fully mature. If for a big prep & this looks a great starting point.

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