Vezalay set for Lightning Stakes 2016 return

Chautauqua heads a strong list of entries for the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes at Flemington, named in honour of the unbeaten champion.

Australia’s equal highest-rated galloper on the World Thoroughbred Rankings in 2015 with Lankan Rupee and Winx, Chautauqua is among 15 nominations for the 1000m-Group One dash on Saturday.

Terravista and Delectation who have lowered Chautauqua’s colours in the past two runnings of the Darley Classic at Flemington during the spring, have been entered to take on the Hawkes Racing-trained sprinter on Saturday.

Vezalay and Sweet Emily are the only mares among the nominations.

The Leon and Troy Corstens-trained Vezalay hasn’t raced since winning the Alinghi Stakes over 1100m at Caulfield last October but has been set for a first-up tilt at the Lightning following a recent jump-out at Flemington.

The daughter of Shamardal will be having only her second run at the highest level after finishing eighth to Lucky Hussler in the William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley last March, her fifth career start.

Longer term plans are for Vezalay to again have a shot at the race this year.

“She’s fit and well so we’ll have a crack at the Lightning,” Troy Corstens said.

“After that we’ll see where we go.

“Ultimately a race like the William Reid or the Sangster Stakes in Adelaide is where we would like to be heading.”

Vezalay has an excellent fresh record, winning two of her three starts first-up, albeit not against the Group One company she will be opposed to on Saturday.

The seven three-year-olds in the nominations are headed by the John O’Shea-trained Exosphere and Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Japonisme.

Exosphere is the TAB’s $2.40 favourite in the early market from Chautauqua at $3, Delectation $6.50 and Japonisme $8.


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