Trainer Les Bridge heads back to Adelaide knowing that Avoid Lightning has the right credentials to win the Group 1 $400,000 William Hill Classic (Registered as Robert Sangster Stakes) (1200m) at Morphettville on Saturday.
Avoid Lightning started her career under the care of South Australian trainer David Jolly before being transferred to Bridge’s Randwick stable at the beginning of 2014.
But this will be the first trip back to Adelaide for Bridge since he last ventured there with Joie Denise who ran second to Our Marquise in the 1995 Veuve Clicquot Stakes.
Bridge rates Avoid Lightning among the best mares he has trained and is well placed under the weight for age conditions.
“She’s a top-quality mare … up there with the best I’ve had,” Bridge told The Advertiser.
“Under the conditions of the race on Saturday, she meets almost everything better on the weights.”
Bridge said that a little bit of moisture on the track would help her chances as well but it doesn’t look like he will get that wish with no rain forecast for Adelaide heading into the weekend.
“I’m just hoping the sting is out of the ground. That’s what she likes best,” Bridge said.
Avoid Lightning didn’t fare very well at the barrier draw for the Robert Sangster Stakes, coming up with gate sixteen of seventeen in the original draw but moves in one with the scratching of Platelet who drew the rails.
But Bridge is not too concerned about the wide draw and will be happy to see regular rider Tim Clark settle the Blevic mare back in the field, one or two off the fence before making her move down the outside of the field in the straight.
“I don’t think the barrier will worry her too much. She’s got a terrific turn of foot when she can sit back,” Bridge said.
“By that time of the day the inside might be a bit worn anyway. It’d be nice if Tim can settle her back and one or two off the fence.”
Avoid Lightning has a fifty per cent winning strike rate since joining Bridge’s stable with five wins from ten starts including three at Group level.
She won the Group 3 $150,000 Hyland Race Colours Birthday Card Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Carnival and followed that up in the Spring with a win in the Group 3 $125,000 City Tattersalls Club Nivison (1200m) at Randwick.
And she heads to Adelaide on the back of a win in the Group 2 $300,000 Drummond Golf Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on the second day of ‘The Championships’.
The six year old mare has also been placed once at Group 1 level with a late finishing third to Cosmic Endeavour in the 2014 Group 1 $500,000 Sky Racing Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm during the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
Avoid Lightning is on the third line of betting for the Robert Sangster Stakes at $7 with Ladbrokes.com.au behind Miracles Of Life at $4.60 and Vain Queen at $5.
Robert Sangster Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.60 Miracles Of Life, $5 Vain Queen, $7 Avoid Lightning, $8.50 Politeness, $11 Sabatini, Gregers, Tycoon Tara, $12 Magnifisio, $17 Wawail, $21 I Love It, $26 Runway Star, $34 Scarlet Billows, $41 Miss Steele, $67 Text’N Hurley, $101 Fine Approach, $151 Natural Disaster.