Snitzerland blisters in Lightning

| February 20, 2014
Brenton Avdulla riding Snitzerland wins Black Caviar Lightning Stakes

Brenton Avdulla riding Snitzerland wins Black Caviar Lightning Stakes

Four-year-old mare Snitzerland showed sustained speed to hold off Shamexpress and Samaready in Saturday’s Black Caviar Lightning (1,000m) at Flemington, the first leg of the Global Sprint Challenge.

Snitzerland ($5) has raced at the highest level throughout her career, and trainer Gerald Ryan sent her into the Lightning on the back of a record-breaking trial win in Sydney.

“I couldn’t hold her any slower,” said jockey Brenton Avdulla, who will combine with Ryan next weekend with leading Blue Diamond hope Rubick.

“I knew we were coming here today with a horse that was on song. I don’t think Gerald’s had her going any better, even when she ran second in the Slipper.”

Emotion filled Avdulla’s voice when asked what it meant to claim his first Group One in his home town.

The Sydney-based 23-year-old’s tally at elite level now stands at four – his previous coming in the 2011 Epsom aboard Secret Admirer.

“It’s special, I can tell you that,” Avdulla said.

“It all started here, and especially today too as my pop died before I was born and it’s his birthday so it all works out all right.”

Owner Neil Werrett has now tasted success in the past four Lightnings, having won three with the champion whose name now adorns the $500,000 race.

“To name a race after Black Caviar and then to win it has been a real triumph for Gerald,” Werrett said.

“He’s managed her exceedingly well. She ran second in a Golden Slipper and I think a few people had forgotten that.

“I can’t tell you how great a thrill this is.”

Werrett, who won Wednesday’s Mornington Cup with Instrumentalist, said he would talk to Ryan about whether Snitzerland would run in the $1 million Newmarket on March 8.

Last year’s Newmarket winner Shamexpress will prove tough to beat after finding Saturday’s 1,000 metres a touch too short.

Craig Newitt, meanwhile, said the $3.10 favourite Samaready was off the bit early in the race but ran homely bravely on a greasy track.

“I just couldn’t keep up with shifty ground underneath,” he said.

“She just kept closing, she was all heart, and I think the 1,200m of the Newmarket will be right up her alley.”

Nash Rawiller said the well-backed Bernabeu (12th, $4.80) was the first horse beaten when the pressure went on and that the pre-race showers did not help his cause.

The inclusion of two-year-olds Boomwaa and Bugatty added another dimension to the race but neither failed to get close to the older gallopers.

Bugatty (eighth) and Boomwaa (10th) were the first juveniles to contest the Lightning since Clever Zoe finished second in 1993, and no two-year-old has won the race since Desirable in 1976.


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