He’ll strip much fitter for the run and will appreciate the drop in weight.
Classy three-year-olds Star Turn and Flying Artie head the market and will be hard to beat but I have a query over Flying Artie over 1000m and think Star Turn may have his measure – this time anyway.
Lightly-raced sprinters Speith and Supido are both having their tenth career starts and certainly have the x-factor, but again, it’s a bit of a guess as to how both are going to sprint in this class when first-up.
The Quarterback, Terravista and Flying Artie are Group 1 winners over 1200m at Flemington, and my main concern with each is whether they are better suited over 1200m and might find a couple of others a bit sharp over 1000m.
Interestingly, Terravista and Heatherly have both finished runner-up at the track and trip in exactly the same time.
Heatherly tried to lead all the way in the Festival of Racing Stakes and was nailed on the line by Ready For Victory in a time of 57.720.
Terravista fell just short of Redzel in the Mumm Stakes in the exact same time (57.720) when first-up last campaign, which shows he’s still got what it takes.
The Quarterback is the only one to have gone quicker (0:56.33), but that was when he beat Fab Fevola on a super-quick track.
On Saturday, the rail is out 9m and runners may be looking to get toward the middle of the track for some fresh ground after seven races have already been won.
I think Flamberge is the likely leader along the inside section and that will leave Star Turn and Heatherly vying for a spot on his back to get a nice cart into the race.
Star Turn overraced last time he went down the straight and if he does that again, he'll put himself at risk while also handing the run of the race to Heatherly.
In a recent barrier trial at Cranbourne, I thought Heatherly shaded Flying Artie, and she looks to have come back well after bleeding last start.
She looks better suited over 1000m than most, and with the right run, she can outgun them over the concluding stages.
Lightning Stakes Facts:
First run in 1955, the Lightning Stakes was won by Gay Vista and has since grown in stature to become one of the country’s most prestigious sprint features.
Most of the Lightning field will progress to the $1.25 million Newmarket Handicap (1200m) held at Flemington three weeks later.
Supporting Lightning Stakes Day is the Group 3 The Vanity (1400m) and the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) for the three-year-olds.
There is generally no lead-up race to the Black Caviar Lightning, as most horses use it as a springboard to dive deeper into the Sydney and Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnivals – the Newmarket Handicap in Melbourne and the TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) in Sydney.
It was most recently won by star sprinter Chautauqua from the Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes stable. The grey defeated Terravista and Japonisme in a tight three-way finish in the 2016 edition.
The long and illustrious honour roll lists the who’s who of Australian racing headlined by unbeaten mare Black Caviar who won the race on three consecutive occasions between 2011 and 2013.
Such was the dominance of Black Caviar in the race that the Lightning Stakes was renamed the Black Caviar Lightning to honour one of the immortals of the turf.
Other notable winners of the Black Caviar Lightning include Todman (1960), Sky High (1961-62), Wenona Girl (1963-64), Storm Queen (1967), Cap D’Antibes (1975), Placid Ark (1987), Special (1988), Redelva (1990), Shaftesbury Avenue (1991), Schillaci (1992-93), Mahogany (1995 & 1997), Testa Rossa (2000), Choisir (2003), Regimental Gal (2004), Fastnet Rock (2005), Takeover Target (2006), Miss Andretti (2007), Apache Cat (2008), Black Caviar (2011-13) and Lankan Rupee (2015).
Legendary trainer Bart Cummings is the most successful trainer in the Black Caviar Lightning having prepared the winner on seven occasions, closely followed by Lee Freedman with six winners.
Damien Oliver is the most successful jockey in the feature sprint having won it five times ahead of Harry White who rode the winner on four occasions.