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Redzel is preparing for a first-up tilt at the Group One Lightning Stakes

Star sprinter Redzel is showing he retains his enthusiasm for racing as the dual Everest winner prepares for a first-up tilt at the Group One Lightning Stakes at Flemington.

Seven-year-old Redzel was spelled after finishing eighth in his attempt to win a third Everest at Randwick in October and co-trainer Peter Snowden has been happy with his build-up towards Saturday’s Lightning Stakes over the straight 1000m.

With his regular jockey Kerrin McEvoy aboard, Redzel won a 900m-barrier trial by 1-1/2-lengths in customary frontrunning fashion with blinkers on at Randwick last Thursday.

“He has had two trials which have been two typical trials for him,” Snowden said.

“He had a good solid trial the other day and ran very fast time and won comfortably.

“He’s a seven-year-old now and I’m fully aware of that.

“Any sign I see that he’s not quite up to where he used to be that will be the sign we start thinking what we do about the future.

“But the first thing Kerrin said when he got off him the other day was his zest is still there, he feels fantastic, he’ll run the race of his life next week. So that’s all I needed to hear.”

The Chris Waller-trained Nature Strip is the early odds-on favourite for the Lightning Stakes with nominations to be released on Monday.

Three-year-old filly Loving Gaby is at $6 and Redzel $7.

Nature Strip is unbeaten in four starts on the straight course at Flemington, highlighted by his dominant win in the Group One Darley Classic over 1200m at the end of his spring campaign last year.

“Nature Strip is a good horse and he is going very well and he likes Flemington. But we’ve got a pretty good record down there as well, especially over 1000 metres,” Snowden said.

“Handlebars down, it’s just full on speed.

“The 1000 metres, that is Redzel’s cup of tea.”

Redzel has won two of his four Flemington starts with his wins coming in the Listed Mumm Stakes (1000m) in 2016 and Group One Darley Classic (1200m) in 2017.

He went agonisingly close in the Lightning two years ago when he was grabbed right on the line by Redkirk Warrior, going down by a short head.

 
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