Talented sprinter Samaready will begin her 2014 Melbourne Festival Of Racing campaign in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 15.
Samaready returned to work this morning after spending just over a month in the spelling paddock following her 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign, which came to a premature end following her eighth place finish in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m).
The daughter of More Than Ready returned to the races, after more than a year on the sidelines, with a tough win in the Group 3 Theshark.com.au Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on August 31 and blitzed a strong field to win the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 27.
She went into the Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley on October 25 as the clear favourite but never looked comfortable during the run and was found with an exercise induced pulmonary haemorrhage following the race.
Trainer Mick Price told Racing Victoria that Samaready had thrived during her time away from his stable and revealed that the classy four-year-would have three starts at Group 1 level in both Melbourne and Sydney during the autumn.
“She’s very well in herself; she has had about a month off and is in lovely condition,” Price said.
“We’re thinking we’ll go to the Lightning with her and then the Newmarket and then five weeks after the Newmarket into the T.J. Smith in Sydney.
“She’s a proven weight-for-age mare so it looks like a suitable first up race for her.”
The Lightning Stakes has been dominated by equine superstar Black Caviar in recent years, winning the past three editions of the race, but the 2014 edition of the Group 1 event is set to be an extremely open affair.
Australia’s newly crowned champion sprinter Buffering is unlikely to contest the race, but Samaready could be joined in the Lightning Stakes by the likes of John O’Shea-trained Bernabeu and Darley speedster Kuroshio.
Price has not had much past success in the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes; missing the placings with True Persuasion (sixth behind Black Caviar in 2011), Bel Mer (eighth behind Apache Cat in 2008), Halibery (11th behind Regimental Gal in 2011) and Intelligent Star (sixth behind Spinning Hill in 2002).