The Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning headlines the action on Flemington’s nine-race program on Saturday afternoon, where a quality field of 11 sprinters have accepted.
Of the 11 acceptors, six of them have already claimed Group 1 glory, with three of them already achieving Group 1 success down the Flemington straight.
Headlining the field is the best sprinter in the world, Nature Strip, who will be looking to go one better in the race having been narrowly defeated by Home Affairs last year. Meanwhile, Roch ‘N’ Horse, Coolangatta and Bella Nipotina will be looking to build on what were breakout spring campaigns.
2023 Black Caviar Lightning betting odds
It is little surprise to see that online bookmakers have Nature Strip installed as an even-money favourite for the first Flemington Group 1 of 2023, having won six of his 10 starts down the straight. Outside of the Strip, it is a wide-open betting market with Coolangatta ($9), Marabi ($11), I Wish I Win ($12), Bella Nipotina ($13) and Roch ‘N’ Horse ($13) all looking to spring an upset.
2023 Black Caviar Lightning speed map
As expected in a 1000m Group 1, there is speed to burn with Nature Strip, Fire, Marabi and Coolangatta all wanting to lead in the event. We expect Marabi to set a genuine tempo first-up from nearly 12 months off the racetrack, with Fire to settle up outside of her. Nature Strip and Coolangatta will look to be on their girths throughout and be letting down inside the final 300m. With a such a genuine tempo expected, the race could be nicely set up for get-back-and-run-on horses like September Run, Buenos Noches and even I Wish I Win.
2023 Black Caviar Lightning preview & form
With Nature Strip deservedly coming up a $2 favourite for Saturday’s Group 1, we are chasing some much-needed value in the race. It is impossible to knock the efforts of the Mike Moroney-trained Roch ‘N’ Horse, who managed to cause two massive boilovers in 2022 at Flemington in the Newmarket Handicap and the Champions Sprint. She got the better of Nature Strip in the Champions Sprint, when sitting just off the superstar and worrying him out of a victory inside the final 100m. She draws alongside Nature Strip in barrier two and will be able to stalk the favourite wherever he goes once again. The six-year-old mare may have only won once when first-up, but with an ideal run in transit and a genuine love affair with the Flemington straight, we are more than happy to take the $13 on offer with online betting sites for Roch ‘N’ Horse to cause another upset at Flemington.
In saying that, it would be a shock to no-one if Nature Strip came out and put five lengths on his rivals first-up. His return in The Shorts last spring was utterly dominant when settling just off the leaders at Randwick and peeling out at the top of the home straight, only to be eased down inside the final 75m against a genuine Group 1 field. He won this race two years ago when fresh and was the definition of a good thing beaten in 2022. James McDonald will need to have Nature Strip humming early from barrier one, and if he leads or is outside the leader with minimal effort, there is no reason why this star cannot bring up a 10th Group 1 win.
From there, the options are limitless. Marabi went into last year’s William Reid Stakes on the back of a seventh-straight win to begin her career when claiming the Oakleigh Plate. Coolangatta has ‘Group 1 sprinter’ written all over her as a three-year-old filly and managed to defeat her older rivals in the Moir Stakes last prep. Bella Nipotina and September Run are proven Group 1 mares and cannot be discounted over 1000m first-up.
Outside of Fire and Millane, no result would shock us in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning, but the price about Roch ‘N’ Horse compared to Nature Strip is simply too hard to pass up.
2023 Black Caviar Lightning selections & best bets