The Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday has only attracted a small field of seven but the contest is going to be intriguing with the battle already beginning in the betting ring.
Virtually nothing is separating the top two in the market order at Ladbrokes with the three year old Exosphere at $2.50 holding a very slight advantage over the Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua at $2.60.
The John O’Shea trained Exosphere was a Group 1 winner against his own age group when he took out the 2015 Group 1 $1m Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill and will be taking on weight for age company for the first time in the Black Caviar Lightning.
The Lonhro colt has had one try down the Flemington straight when he struggled to finish fourth to the Chris Waller trained Japonisme in the Group 1 $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington during the Spring Carnival.
Stable jockey James McDonald has given up a strong book of rides at Rosehill on Saturday to stick with the Golden Rose Stakes winner in the Black Caviar Lightning.
Chautauqua has a better record down the Flemington straight with three wins at Group 2 and Group 3 level, but has been runner up three times at Group 1 level.
The popular grey sprinter has finished second in the last two runnings of the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) behind Terravista and Delectation and was also second to Brazen Beau in the 2015 Group 1 $1m Newmarket Handicap (1200m).
Leading Melbourne jockey Dwayne Dunn will partner Chautauqua again after having ridden the grey in nine of his last twelve starts.
The Waller trained Delectation, with Craig Williams in the saddle, is on the third line of betting at $8 and is having his first start since upsetting Chautauqua in the Darley Classic.
McDonald was aboard Delectation that day and rode a superb race to weave a passage through the field before getting the judge’s decision in a very tight finish.
Stablemate Japonisme with Glyn Schofield, is also taking on weight for age company for the first time at his first run back since causing an upset win in the Coolmore Stud Stakes and is listed as a $9.50 chance.
The Joe Pride trained Terravista splits the Waller at $8.50 and definitely can’t be left out calculations.
Damien Oliver rides Terravista who showed his class in winning the 2014 Darley Classic and was only beaten a nose and a head when third to Delectation in the 2015 version.
The two outsiders of the field are the Peter Moody trained three year old Kinglike at $26 and Jason Coyle’s Va Pensiero at $71.
The lightly raced Kinglike is a winner at his only try down the Flemington straight with a victory in the Group 2 $200,000 Danehill Stakes (1200m) on September 12 and is having his first run back after running sixth in the Group 2 $200,000 Caulfield Sprint (1000m) at Caulfield on October 17.
Five year old Va Pensiero is returning to the race track for the first time for almost twelve months after running thirteenth of fourteen in the Group 1 $400,000 Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill during the 2015 Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Black Caviar Lightning Selections
1st No. 3 Delectation
2nd No. 5 Exosphere
3rd No. 1 Chautauqua
4th No. 2 Terravista