nature strip darley, black caviar lightning

The Black Caviar Lightning (or the Lightning Stakes) is a Group 1 weight-for-age sprint race over 1000 metres down the Flemington straight. Total prizemoney is $750,000. It often serves as the starting point for the autumn campaigns of star sprinters, on their way to other autumn Group 1 sprints such as the Oakleigh Plate, The Galaxy, Newmarket Handicap, William Reid Stakes and the TJ Smith Stakes.

Black Caviar Lightning 2022: Trevor Lawson’s Preview

This looks a very high quality affair on paper, obviously somewhat tempered by the fact that they’re all first-up in their campaigns. The only exception is The Astrologist, but he’s had a 35-day freshen-up anyway. So none will be completely wound-up – they’ll have bigger things in mind later in the carnival.

So as always in these races we’re looking for horses with a decent record down the straight, but also those that perform well first-up.

Track The rail is in the true and the track is good with no rain predicted, so you’d think it’ll be perfect. I wouldn’t anticipate anything out of the ordinary.

Speed Eduardo and Nature Strip will lead from Profiteer and Home Affairs. Then we have a gap to The Astrologist, Swat’s That and Gytrash, and another gap to Masked Crusader and The Inferno.

NATURE STRIP resumes here and is terrific fresh (four wins and two seconds from eight starts). He’s had eight runs down the straight for six wins. He resumed in this race last year coming off a very similar Spring prep and won. Kah has ridden him once for one win. Ticks all the boxes and obviously the horse to beat.

EDUARDO is a good horse and also very good fresh (eight starts, four wins, three placings). He beat Nature Strip first-up in the Spring in The Shorts, albeit on a wet track, and did the same in the autumn last year in the Challenge Stakes. Will sit on Nature Strip and has good claims.

MASKED CRUSADER has won his past three first-up runs. His second in The Everest behind Nature Strip was a terrific run, albeit at 1200m – I suspect he might find the top two a bit quick over 1000m first-up.

GYTRASH ran okay first-up in the Spring, behind Nature Strip and Eduardo in The Shorts, but that was on a wet track. He hasn’t won since October 2020 and I’d prefer to see how he goes here before I entertain backing him.

THE INFERNO had two runs at this trip last prep and performed very well, though that was at The Valley, which he seems to like. He’s a get back and run-on type and that’s very hard to do against this level of opposition. I’d say he’ll probably find them a bit too quick.

THE ASTROLOGIST resumed over 1200m in the Standish and ran well, and has now had a freshen-up and is back in trip. He hasn’t run at 1000m in a very long time. I think he’s outclassed here.

SWAT’S THAT ran okay in this race first-up last year. But she hasn’t won a race since October 2020 and I’m not sure she’s up to this very high level.

HOME AFFAIRS put in a terrific effort resuming last spring, winning easily, albeit in a leader-biased track. He then went out far too fast in The Everest and knocked up. He was very, very good in winning the Coolmore. He resumes here, and it’s interesting that J-Mac has chosen to ride him ahead of Nature Strip. You probably can’t read too much into that in this case however, he’ll be taking later runs and other opportunities with Godolphin into account.

PROFITEER took a couple of runs to get going last prep. His peak performance was at this track and distance, but this is a different class. Not sure he can handle the pressure.

Verdict There’s really no doubt that Nature Strip is the horse to beat. I have him marked about $3, so just longer than the market. We’ll check to see how it moves on Saturday.

I also have Eduardo and Home Affairs around the same price as the market, while I think Masked Crusader is a bit short – I have him close to $15.

For those who like a lay, for mine the big unders is Profiteer. I don’t have him anywhere near the current market price.

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