Trainer Daniel Morton admits that Watermans Bay faces a tough challenge in the 2015 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes at Flemington on Saturday, but is looking forward to seeing how the talented sprinter fares against the likes of Deep Field and Lankan Rupee.
Watermans Bay did not record a race win in three starts in Melbourne during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but he impressed connections with his performances during the Perth Summer Racing Carnival, where he finished second in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on November 22 before he took out the Group 3 Scahill Stakes (1400m) at the same venue on December 6.
The Eternity Range gelding was unable to make a winning return to racing when he finished second in the Listed Cyril Flower Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on February 7, but Morton told Racing Ahead that he six-year-old did enough to convince him he was worthy of a place in the 2015 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes field.
“He went super,” Morton said.
“He carried 62 kilos and he steamed home and hit the line really well, which was all we needed to see to be able to put him on a plane.
“I earmarked it after his summer campaign here where he raced very well and Stephen Arnold and Tommy Berry rode him across here for me and between the three of us we figured that he was worthy of a shot.”
Watermans Bay will carry the same weight as Lankan Rupee and Deep Field in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) and Morton admits that the Group 1 placegetter is not suited by the weight-for-age conditions of the race and will have a far stronger chance of recording a maiden win at Group 1 level in the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington on March 14.
“We are under no illusions, it is obviously a very good field, but I am looking forward to the challenge and more so getting through this one in one piece and heading towards the Newmarket,” Morton said.
“He obviously drops back to handicap conditions where he will be better suited as opposed to weight-for-age and if he comes through in one piece that is the plan.”
Watermans Bay is currently available at 2015 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes odds of $31, while Lankan Rupee ($2.20) is a narrow favourite from Deep Field ($2.50) and Brazen Beau ($5.50).