Crystal Lily to take it to Black Caviar in Newmarket
GOLDEN Slipper winner Crystal Lily may get the chance to throw down the gauntlet to unbeaten mare Black Caviar with more aggressive riding tactics in the Newmarket Handicap.
Co-trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra are not convinced the three-year-old filly is at her best up the straight but believe they erred with their approach to the Lightning Stakes at Flemington in which she finished fifth to the champion mare on February 19.
Zahra said Black Caviar had every stable bluffed including his own in that she had been able to dominate her r a c e s i n t he e a r l y s t a g e s virtually unchallenged.
He hinted that should Crystal Lily run in Saturday’s Newmarket, the tactics would be more aggressive and she would run her own race and not Black Caviar’s. ‘‘ Everyone just wants to try and sit off her back and then try to go with her,’’ Zahra said.
‘‘ We fell into the trap as well last time with Crystal Lily and should have just let her run.
‘‘ Lily is at her best when she is in full flight but we stuffed up.’’
He pointed to the slow first 200m sectional in the Lightning Stakes of 13.75s which showed a lack of aggression from the competition.
She then blew away her opposition away with a sub-32s middle 600m and was able to win easily pulling up.
Zahra said that while the result may not have been any different, some initiative was needed if there was any chance of avoiding a repeat of the dominance Black Caviar showed in the Lightning.
‘‘ She would probably just go bang and win anyway but at the moment it is like everyone is allergic to her. They don’t want to be in front of her early.’’
Zahra said a final decision on a Newmarket start for Crystal Lily had been deferred until acceptance time tomorrow.
‘‘ We will see how she does this week before we make our minds up,’’ Zahra said.
A winner of four of 10 starts, Crystal Lily has failed at her only two runs up the straight, including the Lightning.
Zahra s ai d her disappointing ‘‘ straight’’ record, which also included a third at her second start on Melbourne Cup Day two years ago, was a worry. However he confirmed stablemate Response, winner of the Sir Rupert Clark in the spring, would chase her second Group One success in the feature sprint.