Speedy Sydney mare Snitzerland lived up to her pre-race expectations to score her first Group 1 victory in the $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington today.
Rosehill trainer Gerald Ryan has had Snitzerland sizzling on the tracks and repeatedly said that she was the best she has ever been in the lead up to today’s race.
Snitzerland had had some issues in the Spring and wasn’t at her best but Ryan knew that she was back to her best when she ran the fastest 900m Rosehill barrier trial with a six lengths win on February 4.
Ryan chose to stay in Sydney today to supervise his team at Rosehill with stable foreman Sterling Alexiou left in charge at Flemington and he said that Snitzerland deserved her Group 1 victory racing up to her good first up form.
“She’s terrific first up and what she’s been showing us at this time in she has just bought it to race day. It’s just a thrill to get a Group 1 with her,” Alexiou said.
“She has been flying this time in, it was good to get the monkey off our back.”
Owner Neil Werrett was also over the moon to share another Black Caviar Lightning win after his undefeated champion mare Black Caviar won the last three runnings of the weight for age sprint down the famous Flemington straight.
“It’s been quite an amazing day actually. To name a race after Black Caviar and then win it has been a real triumph, for Gerald as well,” Werrett said.
“He looked after this horse and brought it back from the Spring where we were kind of a bit worried. But her last run was a second to Lankan Rupee and he has franked the form so it’s a thrill to win today’s race.”
“Gerald has managed her exceedingly well. She came second in the Golden Slipper, a few people have forgotten that and today was a great achievement.”
A run in the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 8 is still undecided with Werrett to meet with Ryan to discuss the possibility.
Sydney based jockey Brenton Avdulla rode a well-judged race on Snitzerland ($5) and after sharing the lead with the well backed Bernabeu ($4.80) down the middle of the course let the Snitzel mare stride at the 250m and she proved too strong for Shamexpress ($7.50) who got to within half a length of the her.
Race favourite Samaready ($3.10) had trouble staying in touch with the leaders in the early part of the race but went to the line strongly to be one length away third.
Avdulla knew he was going to win his first Group 1 in Melbourne from the time Snitzerland hit the ground running and the mare didn’t disappoint him.
“As soon as she left the barriers she was right on song, I couldn’t hold her any slower for the first 400m,” Avdulla said.
“I just went across with Nash and I was going to try to sit off Bernabeu and after the 800m I couldn’t and I just let her stride. From the 600m I just kept letting her improve. I got the 300m I was just full of horse, even when I got to the clock tower and she did the rest.”
The speed battle between the two two year olds didn’t eventuate with Bugatty, who finished eighth, and Boomwaa, who finished tenth, never really in the hunt.