The world’s equal top ranked sprinter defending his reputation against two rising superstars - that’s the salivating scenario ahead of a most interesting 2015 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes. There’s Lankan Rupee, who finished last year alongside Terravista atop the global short-course charts, the hugely talented and unbeaten Deep Field, who desperately needs a Group One win to complete his breeding barn resume and of course, young buck Brazen Beau, the multi million dollar 3 year old colt from the Chris Waller yard. Promoter’s dream! The fact that only 3 others will oppose them doesn’t seem to matter.
The Group 1 Lightning Stakes is set to jump at 4:35pm (AEDT). Tune into Sky Racing for all the action!
All three are resuming, but have been seen strutting their stuff in either trials or jump outs. Let’s start with Lankan Rupee, the $2.30 fixed odds favourite at TAB.com.au. I really liked his trial win over A Time For Julia recently at Cranbourne. He sat wide, just off the pace, before quickening nicely under light riding from Dale Smith. I reckon it was a much better trial than the one he turned in ahead of his Spring campaign, although admittedly, that trial was on a heavy track. He’s since galloped well between races at Caulfield last week, prompting Smith to declare: “Whatever beats him, wins (The Lightning)”. Singapore fly-in Craig Newitt of course takes the reigns on raceday though – and he’ll be hoping Smith’s a good judge!. While Lankan Rupee did win the Group One Manikato Stakes last prep, he wasn’t nearly as dominant in the Spring as he had been in the Autumn prior, when he picked up a Group One treble. Maybe we’re going to see the best of him again, in the Autumn of 2015!
Deep Field ($2.40) is the up and comer, with his race record standing at 5 from 5 and his winning margins total reading 24 lengths. If you want to dig deep (and you’re a very brave soul), you could punch a hole or two in his form lines though. You see, of the 10 horses that have finished in the placings behind him so far, only 2 have subsequently won - Isorich (a Wyong BM70) and Shamalia (a Filles and Mares BM84 at The Valley). But, you can only beat what’s before you, and that he’s done – with ease.
Check out the full TAB.com.au market for the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes here.
Regular rider Dwayne Dunn will miss the ride, after losing his appeal against his suspension, meaning James Winks will keep the saddle warm in his absence. Deep Field’s been primed by Team Hawkes for his first up tilt, with a brilliant jump out win at Flemington earlier in the week. He rocketed out of the barriers and went to the line under his own steam to win by 4 lengths or so.
Brazen Beau ($5) was behind him in the jump out, but wasn’t asked to do a thing and connections were delighted with the effort, declaring it a replica of the one the horse produced before his maiden Group One win in the Coolmoore Stud, back in the Spring.
Talented WA sprinter Watermans Bay ($31), last start winner Fab Fevola ($61 and also entered M/V Friday night) and the somewhat enigmatic The Quarterback ($16) are also in the field. Watermans Bay finshed second in the Group One Winterbottom at Ascot in 2014 – and third in the same race behind Buffering and Moment of Change in 2013. But he’s mixing it with the (much) bigger boys this time. 8 year old Fab Fevola chalks up start 50, but a benchmark 78 win last time out isn’t winning form for this, while The Quarterback went back to back with wins in much easier grade, before a last start sixth, as favourite at Sandown.
So often in small fields, an outsider will surprise, but I’m confident that won’t be the case in this high class speed battle.
For the record, I’m tipping Deep Field to beat Lankan Rupee and Brazen Beau.
G3 - The Majordomo Hospitality Handicap Steeple Chase
G2 - Prix Raoul Balliere
G2 - Prix Ariste Hemard
G3 - Victress Stakes
G2 - Premier Trophy