All eyes were on the returning sprinting champ – Nature Strip – in Saturday’s Black Caviar Lightning at Flemington. However, it was Coolangatta getting her second Group 1 success in the 1000m weight-for-age feature.
The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained three-year-old filly was set a trick assignment first-up but with a strong jump out prior to Saturday, Coolangatta was too good for Nature Strip and the remaining nine-rivals.
The win comes after an impressive spring campaign, highlighted in Group 1 success in the Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley.
She then took on her age group in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes to be defeated 3.6 lengths by superstar filly In Secret.
She returned from a 112-day spell and was simply too sharp for her rivals over the 1000m, pinging clear for Jamie Kah taking out her second Black Caviar Lightning after winning on Nature Strip in 2021.
I Wish I Win returned in terrific fashion powering home into second and looks primed heading to a Newmarket, while Bella Nipotina and September Run were strong closers as well.
Nature Strip who took the lead and was clearly the disappointing run, whether there’s more fallout regarding his performance remains to be seen.
It’s all honours the winner though as Coolangatta was ridden perfect by Jamie Kah just off the speed and held off all challenges on the line.
2023 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning – Coolangatta
David Eustace spoke post-race as fellow trainer Ciaron Maher was quite literally airborne as he joked about post-race, before speaking about his talented filly.
“Yeah, he’s mid-air!” said Eustace.
“Unbelievable, she was so impressive. She travelled into it so well. She’s had a faultless prep, the team have done such an amazing job all three (horses), all three ran with credit and it’s a great thrill.
“We were really confident she’d improved physically, she’s bigger, she’s stronger, she’s heavier and we thought she’d improve more from the spring to now.
“So with that in mind this had been the race targeted a long way out and it’s just fantastic to get another winner.”
He also spoke to the patience of jockey Jamie Kah and her ride well judge effort on Coolangatta.
“A really well judged timed ride from Jamie as well. She let her (Coolangatta) travel deep into the race, didn’t push the button too soon and she was pretty convincing.” Said Eustace.
The now veteran trainer didn’t shy away from the prospects of a Royal Ascot tilt either.
“The dream would be Royal Ascot for everyone involved. She’s shown she likes a straight and I think everyone in the group would be pretty keen to go there.
“Where she runs next, I’m not sure, but ultimately we’d love to give that a crack.”
Jamie Kah was elated with the win as well post-race and barely escaped an expletive making live television as well.
She was shocked that Coolangatta had improved from her mark last preparation eluded she thought the ceiling of the filly had been found.
“I’ve said in my interviews leading up to this race I thought she reached her peak last prep,” said Jamie Kah.
“I didn’t see her improving that much more and she’s just come back better and bigger and stronger.
“I thought she’d run second today, honestly, I didn’t think she’d be able to beat Nature Strip, but the race did shape out for her, there was pressure early but she’s half the size of him and she just does things she shouldn’t do.”
“She’s just an amazing horse.”
“I’m just proud of her, she’s just a ripper.”