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Lightning Stakes preview – can Black Caviar do the improbable?

February 18, 2012

The Lightning Stakes is one of my favourite Group 1 races every year.

It is our only Group 1 over 1000m, and in recent times the winner has effectively cemented a Royal Ascot trip with victory in the race.

This year, as last year, it is hard to expect any surprises. But this year, the circumstances are different.

Black Caviar is backing up after winning the Orr Stakes last weekend. 1400m to 1000m in seven days is quite a task, and it is an incredible test of her ability.

Victory today will surely silence the doubters once and for all.

Here are my thoughts on each runner:

1. PHELAN READY (2)

2009 Golden Slipper winner who showed glimpses of his old form in the spring without winning. Even still, his old form would not be good enough for him to feature here. Would need a 100m headstart to be competitive. No.

2. HAY LIST (7)

The world’s second best sprinter, who is unlucky to be racing at a time when Black Caviar is around. I do agree with sentiments that suggest this will be the time he’ll beat her, if ever. That said, he is returning from a life threatening injury. He has trialled well into this but there are definitely queries there.

3. BUFFERING (3)

Queenslander who has featured on numerous occasions behind the two great sprinters. Always seems to be the bridesmaid, a very handy sprinter but a few lengths off being world class. He’s a good chance of filling a top four position but it is hard to see him winning here.

4. TEMPLE OF BOOM (1)

Talented Queenslander who loves the straight. He steps up in class a fair bit today but he’s speedy. The Newmarket will be the perfect race for him but don’t be surprised to see a bold run from him today. He’s my quinella horse.

5. SECRET FLYER (8)

Returned to form in the winter of last year after a long break between wins. Did start close to favourite in the 2009 Newmarket but his best days are behind him, and even so, this is an entirely different kettle of fish. Simply can’t have him.

6. METALLURGICAL (4)

Expensive yearling who showed nothing for a very long time. But he was gelded, sent to Queensland, and he’s just continued to improve ever since. I’d be shocked if he placed here, but don’t be surprised to see him bob up in an easier race soon.

7. BLACK CAVIAR (5)

What a champion mare, how can you ever get sick of her? I said last week before the Orr, I was as nervous as I’d ever been for her. Well, multiply that feeling by 10 and you’ll know how I feel today. I should know by now that she does incredible things that most other horses can’t do. But I’m still slightly weary of the quick back up and the drop in distance. But she should win, and I’ll be cheering her home!

8. LONE ROCK (6)

Group 1 Goodwood winner who showed an explosive turn of foot up the straight in the Bobbie Lewis during the spring. Hard to see how she can beat Black Caviar when she carries the same weight, but could be a place chance.

9. FOXWEDGE (9)

Good three year old who came very close to knocking off Sepoy in the Coolmore Stud Stakes in the spring. This is his acid test. I personally am not a huge fan of the horse, but I could see him ending up in the placings. Doubt he could win though.

SUMMARY

I’m beginning to sound like a broken record – yes, it’s BLACK CAVIAR on top again! No one wants to see her beaten today, and I doubt she will be beaten. I’m throwing in TEMPLE OF BOOM for second, he loves the straight and I reckon we still haven’t seen the best of him. HAY LIST is a hell of a horse but I want to see him do it on the racetrack before declaring him over his injury, while BUFFERING is the next best. Go Nelly!

NUMBERS

7 – BLACK CAVIAR
4 – TEMPLE OF BOOM
2 – HAY LIST
3 – BUFFERING

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