Despite the massive heat, the G1 Lightning Stakes are a “go” at Flemington, and as promised I’m ready for a little live blogging for all interested (guess that would just be Michael—LOL!). How ironic to see the blazing heat Down Under when we are bracing for a possibly snow “storm of the century” here on Monday/Tuesday.
Glen Boss just guided talented Largo Lad to victory in race 4—next up at Flemington is the G3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m, or 7f). Lots of early money on Mick Price-trained Pre-Eminence who finished third behind Rebel Raider in the G1 Victoria Derby last out in November. But, isn’t it interesting that top jock Craig Newitt jumps off him, and onto his stablemate Al Omghe? Additionally, Pre-Eminence looks to like a little sting out of the track, and that's not going to happen today. If Al Onghe is that interesting to Newitt, that what about Fair Trade who beat him last out? I like the switch to Nick Hall. Also, Damien Oliver has a good record on Keano who takes a drop in weight after winning over this course back in December—the freshening up may give him the advantage.
Just noticed that Newitt also gave up Price's Heart of Dreams, as did Oliver (he gets Glen Boss instead). With horses so equally matched, and only separated by questions of preparation first up, the jockey angle seems an edge. I've gone $2WP on Al Omghe.
Nothing. Should have gone with Fair Trade—nice winner. G3 win in only second race.
Now the moment we’ve been waiting for—Apache Cat vs. Weekend Hussler. Is there anyone else to consider? Comments?
Well, turns out the big two were a tad disappointing, or in Weekend Hussler’s case, unlucky. The surprise victor was Scenic Blast, who had placed in both previous efforts on the Flemington straight course—a second-place to Tan Tat De Lago in the G3 Danehill back in September ’07, and a third-place to Weekend Hussler and Bel Mer in the G1 Ascot Vale that November. He was very lightly-raced last year (only four starts, with two victories). Steven Arnold did a nice job on him.
Ironic that a son of Scenic (descendent, through his dam, of Foolish Pleasure) should win here. It was only last November that another son of Scenic, Sunburnt Land, finished an impressive third behind Swick in the G1 Patinack Farm Classic over this very course, and was spelled with his first goal back to be this very race. Unfortunately, Sunburnt Land died just a week later, struck by lighting out in his paddock.