Lights Of Heaven will be first up at Caulfield this Saturday when the promising mare returns in the PB Lawrence Stakes.
She’ll be out to defend her unbeaten record in a race where she faces plenty of challenges.
The first such challenge will come in sparking a good combination with jockey Ben Melham.
Melham takes the ride with regular rider Luke Nolen serving a suspension.
He’s become somewhat of a go to guy for the Peter Moody stable in similar circumstances in the past and the trainer has no reservations on putting him on such an important horse.
“He’s been a a good stop- gap for us in the past and he’s been riding work for us,” Moody said.
Lights Of Heaven is being billed as the early Caulfield Cup favourite so there’s no shortage of expectations going into her first up run.
The PB Lawrence Stakes, formerly the JJ Liston Stakes, will kick off a program which will include the Makybe Diva Stakes, Underwood Stakes and the Caulfield Stakes before a potential Cup’s campaign.
“By then we’ll know whether she’s a Caulfield-Melbourne Cups horse, Cox Plate horse or just a good mare,” Moody said.
She’s not the only hotly anticipated return this weekend with Sepoy featuring on the same card at Caulfield.
In Sydney meanwhile the likes of Foxwedge and Karuta Queen will also be kicking off their three year old seasons.
They join horses such as Anise, Boys On Tour, Hollyweird and Defiant Dame, most of which will be targeting a Golden Rose start next month.
Their first showdown will be in the San Domenico Stakes at Rosehill, a race John O’Shea rates as very important.
His horse, Foxwedge, developed a bit of a following as a two year old and he says it’s important to hit the ground running in the new season.
“There won’t be any mucking around, especially with these colts because winning a race like the San Domenico can be very valuable,” he said.
It’s a similar story for Karuta Queen, trainer Neville Layt saying she’s good to go from race one as she looks to build on a career which already includes a Magic Millions title.
“She has been working the place down,” Layt said.
“She hasn’t lost any of her speed, she has come on physically and I’m really looking forward to her campaign.”
She is one horse though which is unlikely to continue to the Golden Rose with Layt saying her top limit is the 1200m.