Can Lightning strike three times? Well, champion mare and Australia’s racing darling, Black Caviar, will be aiming for her third Lightning Stakes victory and her 23rd overall win this coming Saturday at Flemington Racecourse. If she succeeds she will be the first horse in Australian racing history to win the Lightning Stakes in three successive years.
Of course it is unthinkable that she could lose a race. Looking at the field of acceptances for the 2013 race, which has now been renamed the Black Caviar Lightning, it seems highly unlikely. Seven other acceptors will be vying for second place, among them Black Caviar’s stable mates Golden Archer and Moment of Change, the speedy Satin Shoes, First Command and Shamexpress, all with a chance to run a place.
I’ll be at Flemington on Saturday to witness this historic event, to take in the vibe and soak up the atmosphere occasioned by Black Caviar’s first race start since returning from Ascot. Hopefully the crowds will not be over the top, though Flemington is so large it probably won’t be all that squashy as I observed at last year’s event.
There are a few other races of interest on the card, principally the Group 3 C S Hayes Stakes, a race for three year old colts and geldings over 1400 metres. Focus will be on Philippi and Royal Haunt who are both unbeaten with three wins each. Judging by the way Royal Haunt thrashed his rivals in the Manfred Stakes a fortnight ago, I give him the edge in the competition. Albrecht and Hosting look the next best dressed with the Bart Cummings trained Lunar Rise who, on second thoughts, would probably prefer a longer race.
The Vanity is the fillies equivalent of the CS Hayes and though I haven’t been following any of the contestants, a quick glance at the form leads me to the selection of Petite Diablesse as my top pick, closely followed by You’re So Good and Spending, who is a full sister to Shopaholic who won this race last year. Considering how these days, siblings appear to be winning the same races that their older brothers and sisters were successful in, it’s not all that far fetched to imagine Spending taking out the Vanity.
Speaking of siblings, Black Caviar’s little half brother All Too Hard won the C F Orr Stakes last weekend in fine fashion setting to rest any doubts as to his real ability and marking him as the top three year for the 2012/13 season.