The straight 1000 metres can be the ultimate test of speed and the fastest horses in the land are queueing up for an elite edition of the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.
The quality of horses that will be there on Saturday will scare rivals off, with Delectation, Japonisme, Terravista and Exosphere confirmed as runners, while Chautauqua is still a query and will remain so until acceptance time. He would make it a handful of group 1 winners for the first leg of the Global Sprint Championship.
"We were happy with his jump-out on Friday and are still to make a decision on the Lightning," co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said. "We [will] make it later in the week. Our target is the TJ Smith and it is just how we get him there."
Chautauqua was explosive in winning the Manikato Stakes in the spring and flew down the straight on Friday morning with the Chris Waller-trained Japonisme and Delectation. The trio ran 45.93 seconds out of the barriers over 800m. That pair will resume in the Lightning and are proven down the straight, taking out two group 1 sprints during the Flemington carnival – the Coolmore Stud Stakes and Darley Classic respectively.
Joe Pride opts to take Terravista to the Lightning and has booked Damien Oliver after beating Exosphere in a Warwick Farm barrier trial earlier in the month. He was confident after the trial about the horse he labels WBS – world's best sprinter.
"Going forward, if he lines up in the Lightning like I expect him to I feel like we would derive more benefit from the point of yesterday to the race I would think," Pride told Melbourne radio after the trial.
Godolphin trainer John O'Shea has primed Golden Rose winner Exosphere for a first-up crack at the Lightning but is cautious after he finished down the track in the Coolmore Stud Stakes at his only run down the straight.
"He is going good but until he does it down the straight, you have to have a doubt there," O'Shea said.
"Everyone has seen what he has done but he still has to do it at Flemington and it is a very good field. I like my horses to show [what] they can do rather than talking about it."
Godolphin's retained jockey James McDonald will take the trip to Melbourne to partner Exosphere in the 1000m group 1, giving up the chance to ride leading Golden Slipper contender Astern in the Silver Slipper at Rosehill.