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Spieth right to launch Lightning raid

Over the years, the Lightning Stakes has been a stallion making race with the honour roll boasting horses the calibre of General Nediym, Testa Rossa, Choisir, Fastnet Rock and Nicconi.

Saturday’s Group One 1000m-sprint will be no different with five potential stallions lining up in the field of 13.

One is the lightly raced four-year-old Spieth who makes his return following a heart-wrenching second behind Malaguerra in the Darley Classic last spring.

Trainer Bryce Heys has identified the Lightning Stakes and the Newmarket Handicap start as ideal springboards into the Sydney carnival.

A win in the Lightning Stakes, or the Newmarket, would cement Spieth’s career at stud.

“He’s exposed at Group One level now with his Darley run and off that he’s entitled to be given a preparation to win a Lightning or a Newmarket,” Heys said.

“Those two races put you into another stratosphere as a stallion prospect.

“He’s got to win one of these to prove his worth at stud.

“His two runs in the spring warrant him going towards these two high calibre races and it will also give a good indication of whether he will be competitive in the TJ Smith.”

Another factor influencing his decision to head to Melbourne is the four-year-old’s preference for dry ground.

“He likes a dry track and he runs time,” Heys said.

“I can get two solid Group One races into him because you can get caught in Sydney if we get bad weather.”

Before Heys commits to a Newmarket start he wants to see how Spieth returns in the Lightning and the composition of the weights.

He said Chautauqua would have a big bearing on the March 11 Newmarket when weights were released on February 28.

“If Chautauqua is in the race we could be well weighted, but if he’s not we might not be if we don’t win the Lightning,” Heys said.

“I’m sure we’ll be there but I’m looking for a good run on Saturday to justify going there.”

Heys said Spieth had enjoyed a good preparation for his return and arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday morning.

Three-year-olds Flying Artie ($4) and Star Turn ($4.40) head Lightning betting with Spieth, who jumps from barrier five, on the next line at $6.

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