While trainer Gerald Ryan can’t fault his speedy mare Snitzerland, he is sticking with the punters and declaring the favourite Samaready the hardest to beat in the Group 1 $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington today.
Ryan has Snitzerland primed for a bold first up showing after a six lengths Rosehill barrier trial win on February 4 but sees the two time Group 1 winner Samaready as the class runner in the twelve horse field.
“Samaready is the favourite and the one to beat along with John O’Shea’s three-year-old (Bernabeu),” Ryan told AAP.
“But I’m very happy with my mare. She is as strong as she has ever been. Her barrier trial was good and Brenton has been pleased with her this week.”
Ryan has dismissed the two lightly weighted two year olds as a threat in the weight for age sprint, pointing out that his filly Peggy Jean beat the Robbie Laing trained Boomwaa when they ran first and second in the $250,000 Inglis Classic (1200m) at Randwick on January 18.
“I think there’s a big question over whether two-year-olds are strong enough,” Ryan said.
“They have speed and I know it’s a 1000 metres not 1200 but Peggy Jean beat Boomwaa in the Inglis Classic and she wouldn’t get near Snitzerland.
Boomwaa and Bugatty from the Team Hawkes stable will only have to carry 46kgs in the scamper down the Flemington straight and their riders Dean Yendall and Dean Holland are certain to set a merry dance and give the older horses something to chase.
Both the juveniles have won over the 1000m at Flemington as has the John O’Shea trained three year old Bernabeu who is to be ridden by top Sydney jockey Nash Rawiller.
Rawiller was impressed with the Fastnet Rock colt from the first time he got a feel of him in a track gallop before he came out and blew his opposition away with a three and a quarter lengths win over the Black Caviar Lightning course and distance on Melbourne Cup day.
“From the first time I rode him in a track gallop around the inside grass at Flemington last spring, and just straight away he felt like he had something special about him,” Rawiller said.
Rawiller was again on board Bernabeu in an 800m Warwick Farm trial on January 28 but had to watch when Glen Boss rode him in the 800m Flemington jumpout last week.
“I gave him a soft trial at Warwick Farm and was really impressed with it. And I think everyone saw his jumpout at Flemington the other day. It was pretty slashing,” Rawiller said.
Samaready, the 2012 Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes winner and last Spring’s Group 1 Moir Stakes winner is a firm favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au for the Black Caviar Lightning at $2.90 ahead of Snitzerland at $4.40 and Bernabeu at $6.
Late year’s Newmarket Handicap winner Shamexpress is next in the betting at $7.50 while the two year olds are at longer odds with Boomwaa marked at $14 and Bugatty a $31 chance.