It has been more than a quarter of a century since a two-year-old filly has contested the Group One Lightning Stakes and trainer Lloyd Kennewell is happy to be taking on the challenge with Jedastar at Flemington.
On Saturday, Jedastar will become the first juvenile filly to run in the weight-for-age sprint since Clever Zoe finished second to champion sprinter Schillaci in 1993.
The idea to run Jedastar was first hatched by Kennewell after the filly won over the straight 1000m course and distance against her own age and sex on debut on New Year’s Day.
The plan was confirmed shortly after Jedastar ran second in the Blue Diamond fillies Preview (1000m) at Caulfield three weeks ago.
“She’s in really good order and I couldn’t be happier with where she’s at,” Kennewell said on race eve.
“Obviously it’s a big task ahead for a two-year-old filly but if you could pick a year you wanted to be in it, I think it would be this year.
“We’re happy to face that challenge and think outside the box. It’s what you’ll get from me as a trainer and I think my owners and clients are very comfortable with where we are at and what we are achieving and what we’re doing.
“I think if she can run top three it enhances her value as a broodmare immensely.”
The attraction of carrying 44kg was a factor in Kennewell’s decision, as the speedy Jedastar will carry between 9.5kg and 14.5kg less than all her rivals which include Group One winners Sunlight, In Her Time and Written By.
“She’s fast and I just felt it was a lot better task than going to a 1200-metre race at Caulfield in the Blue Diamond,” he said.
“I just felt she wasn’t ready and it wasn’t her time to go to 1200 metres.
“And being proven up the straight over 1000 metres is a massive thing and a big advantage for her.”
Kennewell is surprised others have not had a crack at the race with a two-year-old filly in the past 26 years.
“I think it’s a good race for a two-year-old filly if they are precocious and strong enough to deal with it,” he said.
“Obviously we’ve had the likes of Black Caviar and that come through which is not the right years for two-year-olds to go to those races, but I think this year is one of those races where she could show up and run extremely well.”
Apprentice Chris Caserta rides Jedastar.