South Australian gallopers punched above their weight during the Melbourne spring, with Paul Beshara's Happy Trails and Jake Stephens Alcopop scoring group one successes in the Emirates Stakes and Mackinnon Stakes respectively during the carnival.

Three months later its now the Melbourne Festival of Racing, but the script could be similar even though the cast list might be different.

Goolwa-based trainer David Jolly has every reason to be optimistic that his progressive four-year-old mare Avoid Lightning could add to the Croweaters' group one Victorian tally if - or more likely, when - she contests the Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield later this month.

The daughter of the now deceased stallion Blevic took the honours in the listed WJ Adams Stakes over 1000 metres at Caulfield on Saturday, coming with a well timed late run for Craig Williams to get up and beat Canali ($7) by a neck, with the $2.70 favourite First Command a long head away third in what was a blanket finish with just over a length separating all six runners.

Avoid Lightning is, by her trainer's admission, not the best looking of horses - "she's not a very big mare and she's got a bit of a sway back on her. She's not a very pretty horse" - is Jolly's rather blunt assessment.

But handsome is as handsome does, and her victory in the $120,000 contest as a well backed $3.50 chance yesterday took her tally to six wins in nine starts, for a prizemoney tally of over $200,000.

Her physical characteristics are in large measure why she is being aimed at rich but more difficult assignments in Victoria. In Adelaide her class would mean she is asked to shoulder large burdens against inferior opposition while in Melbourne she gets in with relatively light imposts (she had bottom weight of 54 kilograms on Saturday compared to First Command's 60.5), although her rivals are much tougher nuts to crack.

Still, she did the job in style and Jolly is confident that the extra 100 metres of the 1100 metre Oakleigh Plate would not be a problem. Neither would the weight, as she would be expected to get in with the minimum in that Group One contest.

"We did have in the back of our mind that she may contest an Oakleigh Plate where she would be down in the weights. She goes all right at Caulfield. The trip won't hurt. I will have a chat to Craig. She will have nothing on her back and not being a big mare that tends to suit. We planned to run her in some better handicaps down in the weights," Jolly said.

He explained that the mare's unusual name was rooted in a nightmare experience for her dam Ya Michelle. Michael Abdullah, who owns Avoid Lightning, bought her mother and had planned to campaign her but she injured herself in a thunderstorm and never made it to the track.

"She damaged a hock in a thunderstorm, went over a couple of fences. Mike, when he bought her did so with the intention of breeding from her. Maybe it was meant to be," said the fatalistic Jolly.