A quality field of 13 speedsters has assembled for this Saturday’s Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (Race 8) over 1000m at Flemington with much interest surrounding the performance of a couple of highly rated three-year-olds.
Flying Artie’s abbreviated spring preparation was capped by a sensational win over Astern in the Coolmore Stud Stakes down the straight and he has been chalked up favourite in early betting markets for the first leg of the Global Sprint Challenge.
Trainer Mick Price, who won this event with Lankan Rupee back in 2015, appeared bullish about his chances earlier in the week, suggesting the colt had ‘come of age’ over the summer and developed into a far stronger horse than what we saw in his juvenile season.
Second pick Star Turn has finished behind Flying Artie on all four occasions they’ve met on the track but there are reasons to believe he might be able to reverse that statistic on the weekend.
With a career at stud beckoning, trainer John Hawkes noted that the shorter distance probably suits his horse a little more with Dwayne Dunn set to ride the colt more quietly after he was overwhelmed in the final furlong of the Coolmore.
Indeed, the stable could probably do with a boost at the moment following the lacklustre performance of Chautauqua in last week’s Rubiton Stakes at Caulfield.
While we’re expecting both colts to run well, it’s interesting to note that younger horses haven’t made the most of the lighter impost enjoyed under the WFA conditions of this race with Fastnet Rock the last three-year-old to taste victory back in 2005.
Punters are thus left to assess whether this year’s crop are superior to the likes of Japonisme, Brazen Beauand Shamexpress who have all come up short in this race in recent years.
With the heavily backed Global Glamour’s narrow win on Monday costing us a tidy sum, we now know how Bryce Heys feels after his post-race tears following Spieth’s luckless second in the Darley provided one of the more poignant moments of the spring carnival.
With Hugh Bowman to take the ride, it’s no surprise to us to see the chestnut has come in for plenty of support over the past couple of days given his compatibility with the track but he’s probably short enough now and we’re happy to lay him at the price.
With 14 of the past 15 winners starting at odds of 7.50 or less, punters could be excused for ignoring runners further down the list but it must be said there’s plenty of depth in the field.
Mick Kent’s Supido makes his first appearance for almost nine months and is another horse to have no fears with the straight track given his perfect four from four record.
He looked sharp in a recent trial out at Cranbourne and we’re awaiting any strong market leads come raceday.
Terravista, meanwhile, is no stranger to Group 1 sprint racing during carnival time but enters this off the back of arguably the worst run of his career where he was beaten by more than eight lengths in the Winterbottom.
He also loves the straight here and has run too many good races for us to completely discount him but no seven-year-old has ever won this event and he might be a place chance at best.
Both The Quarterback and Flamberge are tasty odds for top-level winners but with The Newmarket on their radar they might find this a tad short of their best distance and others a bit nippy.
- Flying Artie
- Star Turn
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