With no early morning scratchings in the Group 1 $750,000 Coolmore Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington today, super mare Black Caviar gets to face her next biggest challenge in chasing her nineteenth straight win.
Rival jockeys and trainers think that Black Caviar will be vulnerable today dropping back to 1000m after taking out the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield last Saturday and is the first time she has raced week to week.
Jockey Michael Rodd is aboard Buffering for Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote and is one of the those who thinks if she is ever going to beaten today is the day.
“This is probably the most vulnerable we are going to get Black Caviar,” Rodd said. “She is coming back from 1400m and backing up for the first time, so this is the one chance to have a crack at her.
“But she wasn’t let out of first gear in the Orr Stakes so she wasn’t overly taxed. She will still have speed in her legs and everything tells you it’s going to be awfully hard to beat.”
Trainer Peter Moody only announced that Black Caviar would be contesting today’s Lightning Stakes after she easily took out the Orr Stakes last Saturday.
Early morning markets have the champion mare at $1.12, the longest price she has been since winning the Group 1 $400,000 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben last winter when she was sent out at $1.14.
Rodd is well aware that Buffering is a top class sprinter in his own right and the four year old showed that he can handle the Flemington straight when he got to within three lengths of Black Caviar in the Group 1 $1m Patinack Farm Classic on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival last year.
“The tactics will be a little bit tricky. If you get stuck in a speed battle with Black Caviar, or take off early to try and beat her, it will bring about your undoing. Obviously I want to go out and try to win the race but I’m also a realist and it is going to be a very tough ask to beat Black Caviar,” Rodd said.
“But if she is having a bad day my bloke could certainly pounce on her.”
If Moody’s decision proves to be the right one and Black Caviar keeps her unbeaten record in tact by winning the Lightning she will have taken out the first leg of the Global Sprint Challenge Bonus which has never been won.
The US$1m Global Sprint Challenge Bonus has been made more practicable with changed conditions and will be paid for wins in three different countries and will include “home ground” series legs wins.
Today’s Lightning Stakes is the first leg of the series which extends over ten series legs in six jurisdictions and ends with the Hong Kong Sprint in December.
With connections aiming at the $US2 million Golden Shaheen (1200m) in Dubai, a new leg of the series this year, and the Golden Jubilee Stakes (1200m) at Royal Ascot in June, Black Caviar will have the first leg of the series parcelled up if she takes out the Lightning.