Group 1 winning three year old Exosphere and super sprinter Chautauqua are vying for favouritism for the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
In early markets with Ladbrokes.com.au, the John O’Shea trained Exosphere has opened up at $2.30, fractionally ahead of Chautauqua at $2.80.
O’Shea has reported that Exosphere is working well and has been runner up in two recent Warwick Farm barrier trials.
“Everything is fine with him, he is ticking along nicely,” O’Shea said.
“I’ve kept him up here in Sydney for as long as possible and he will head to Melbourne later in the week.
“He worked as good as we could hope today and looking forward to Saturday.”
Exosphere has also impressed jockey James McDonald in the last week and the premiership winning jockey has opted to travel to Melbourne to partner the Lonhro colt and forego several top rides at the Silver Slipper Stakes Race Day at Rosehill.
McDonald has already established a great association with Exosphere, having ridden him in five of his eight outings, including three wins.
The pair combined to win the Group 2 $175,000 Pro-Ride Skyline Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm during his two year old season then as a three year old Exosphere and McDonald went on to claim the Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill and the Group 2 $300,000 Canterbury BMW Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) at Randwick during the 2015 Sydney Spring Carnival.
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes was non-committal about starting Chautauqua in the Black Caviar Lightning when the grey pulled up ‘a bit big’ after an 800m jump out down the Flemington straight last Friday.
Hawkes was going to wait to see how Chautauqua recovered from the hit out before confirming a start in the weight for age scamper down the famous Flemington straight.
“Pulled up big and had a big blow, but you would expect that,” Hawkes said.
“It depends how he pulls up if he runs in the Lightning next Saturday or not.”
On the third line of betting is the Chris Waller trained Delectation at $7, just head of Joe Pride’s Terravista at $8.
Delectation has already shown his liking for the Flemington straight with a narrow win over Chautauqua and Terravista in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on the last day of the 2015 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Black Caviar Lightning early market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.30 Exopshere, $2.80 Chautauqua, $7 Delectation, $8 Terravista, $10 Japonisme, $12 Keen Array, $15 Ball Of Muscle, Kinglike, $19 Counterattack, $31 Eclair Choice, Headwater, $41 Brockoff, Vezalay, $67 Va Pensiero, $201 Sweet Emily.