In the final Stakes race of the season, Group 1 Goodwood runner-up Behemoth returns to the track in the Listed Lightning Stakes hoping to follow in the footsteps of some of Australia’s best sprinters.
The 2018 edition saw Nature Strip defeat Sunlight and the two have collected four Group 1 victories between them since last year’s race. In 2016 Viddora claimed the Lightning before adding two Group 1 victories to her name and other previous winners, Wild Rain and Avoid Lightning also went on to place in Group 1 races.
It will be the first time Behemoth has raced since that narrow defeat in the Goodwood. The exciting youngster will be ridden by Dom Tourneur who partnered him to his debut win in November last year as well as his narrow defeat in the Listed Redelva Stakes behind Humma Humma.
The Lightning Stakes has been a successful race for Tourneur, claiming the feature three times throughout his career aboard Bandipur, Buddy Bundy and Prettyhappyaboutit. It’s also been a favourable race for trainer David Jolly who has won it twice with Avoid Lightning and Streetcar Magic.
While Behemoth will go into the race as a strong favourite, he’s going to face some stiff competition from a number of interstate visitors and local hopes.
Assertive Approach is a lightly raced gelding from the Hawkes stable. He first trialled on the Parks track back in 2017 where he ran third behind the talented Music Bay. It took him another 14 months to finally get a race start and is now two from two in his career with wins at Bendigo and Sandown. His last start victory in June was a real eye catcher defeating Montenegro Man by 3.75 lengths. Todd Pannell will team up with his old bosses to take the ride.
Godolphin don’t often send too many runners to Adelaide but it looks like last start winner Lanigera will make the trip over tackle the Lightning. James Cummings won the race two years ago with Bandipur and he will be hoping for a repeat of that victory with Lanigera. The two-year-old has come up against some talented horses including Microphone and Loving Gaby in his career, running at Stakes level in four of his six starts.
Levi Kavanagh’s Excess Funds debuted in the Listed Talindert Stakes running fourth to the Golden Slipper runner-up and Group 1 Sires Produce winner Microphone. He comfortably beat Mockery last start at Sandown and will have the experienced Joe Bowditch aboard.
Zizzis took out last year’s Adelaide 2YO Magic Millions Classic before winning on Caulfield Cup Day beating a couple smart types including Khulaasa and Zargos. She was another strong last start winner on heavy going at Sandown. A couple visits to Adelaide can only help her chances
Tequila Time was the boom local horse of the 2018 Festival of Racing winning four starts on the trot including the Group 3 Breeders and Sires Produce Stakes. He hasn’t quite reached those heights in 2019 but has been super close to a win in his last two stars missing by less than half a length combined. With Raquel Clark on board you have to give him a good chance in this.
The other good local chances looks to be Gordon Richards’ Bold Star who is in hot form winning two on the trot. With regular jockey Raquel Clark riding Tequila Time, the talented Victorian apprentice Jack Martin makes the trip across the border for the ride.