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Ad Imperatriz with assistant trainer Ben Gleeson ahead of the Black Caviar Lightning. (Scott Barbour/Racing Photos)

Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Preview

15 February 2024 Written by Trent Crebbin – Racing & Sports

The elite sprinters are back, headlined by Imperatriz in Saturday’s Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m).

A small but select field for the Lightning, as it often can be, but the best horses are usually here and that's what we see again as Imperatriz, who I would be happy to argue is the best sprinter in the world.

Hong Kong star Lucky Sweynesse had strong claims to that but he's been off his best for a few months and without having seen Imperatriz since the Spring, by default she can lay claim.

Her Spring was pretty remarkable, going undefeated and posting some consistently strong ratings that the others in the field have not, and likely never will match.

She announced that with, dare I say, an explosive win in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley and ended with a comfortable win in the Group 1 Darley Champions Sprint (1200m) down the straight.

She was below her other three runs in that race despite beating a stronger field. The margin was softer there but she still beat some of the best sprinters and I daresay any of her ratings last preparation will still win this.

The obvious query is the trial everyone is talking about. No doubt she's worked much better in the past, including leading into last preparation, and she won't be able to get away with being more than a length or two off her best.

The problem is, if you do want to put a bit of weight on that trial, and perhaps even that she wasn't at her absolute best down the straight, is finding what beats her.

Private Eye goes very well fresh but 1000m is definitely on the sharp side for him. His run first up in The Shorts over 1100m, running to 125, would really test Imperatriz, who ran to 121 in her most recent effort (125 after her mare's allowance).

Beating Private Eye in the Winners Stakes (Giga Kick Stakes) was Bella Nipotina who ran to 122, a peak for her. She was good in this race last year behind Coolangatta but would have to run better again to win this.

Onto the three-year-olds, who I don't think are quite up to these. Cylinder arguably should be shorter than I Am Unstoppable, who seems overbet just because he ran some good races down the straight.

Cylinder started shorter in the Coolmore Stud Stakes off a narrow fifth in The Everest but regardless, the time and ratings of the Coolmore and its leadups look very shaky and a far cry from the likes of Home Affairs coming back and winning this race off a Coolmore win.

Finding a bet looks tough, Imperatriz has to be odds-on and $1.80 or so is probably fair, but there's enough knocks to look past her for now. Private Eye's profile appeals but I just query him over 1000m.

My selections are as follows, but I'd be happy to take on the three-year-olds and take the established sprinters in exotics.

4 – IMPERATRIZ

1 – PRIVATE EYE

3 – BELLA NIPOTINA

7 – CYLINDER

 

4:15pm - Race 8 - BLACK CAVIAR LIGHTNING (1000m)

Prizemoney: $1,000,000 - Group 1 - Weight-For-Age

  # Form Horse (Barrier) Trainer Jockey (Weight)

1 x 1 3 2 x PRIVATE EYE (8) Joe Pride Blake Shinn (58.5kg)

2 2 5 x 9 5 THE ASTROLOGIST (7) Leon & Troy Corstens Luke Currie (58.5kg)

3 3 3 1 5 x BELLA NIPOTINA (6) Ciaron Maher Craig Williams (56.5kg)

4 1 1 1 1 x IMPERATRIZ (2) Mark Walker Opie Bosson (56.5kg)

5 1 7 1 4 x ESPIONA (4) Chris Waller Michael Dee (56.5kg)

6 x 3 5 3 4 RICH FORTUNE (1) Jerome Hunter Mark Zahra (56.5kg)

7 1 3 5 0 x CYLINDER (5) James Cummings Damian Lane (55.5kg)

8 3 2 2 2 x I AM UNSTOPPABLE (3) Lloyd Kennewell & Lucy Yeomans Jamie Kah (55.5kg)