The nominations of two-year-olds Boomwaa and Bugatty adds plenty of intrigue to the Group One Lightning Stakes but trainer John Hyam is hoping it is an eight-year-old who can spring a surprise.
Hyam will start Esprit De Bullet in the weight-for-age feature down the 1000m straight at Flemington, a race which has been in the trainer's thoughts since before the gelding won an Open handicap over the same course and distance in December.
The Adelaide-based Hyam is willing to overlook Esprit De Bullet's last start failure in the Listed WJ Adams Stakes at Caulfield.
"I can't really fault the horse and I think he deserves a crack at a race like that," Hyam said.
"There's nothing in Adelaide for him for about another six weeks.
"So we'll try, and see how we go."
Esprit De Bullet carried 60kg to win an Open Handicap at Flemington on December 21.
Hyam then targeted the Lightning but decided to run him in the WJ Adams Stakes (1000m) on February 1 because the sprinter had come to hand quicker than expected.
The trainer said Esprit De Bullet got stirred up behind the barriers after going out onto the track early at Caulfield where he beat just one runner home.
"Vlad (Duric) said he had half run his race behind the gates and said he probably didn't handle the track that well either," Hyam said.
"We're happy to get him back down the straight at Flemington because his last win was pretty good there."
The Lightning is now known as the Black Caviar Lightning in honour of the now-retired champion sprinter who won the race three times.
Streama is the highest-rated among the 14 nominations but will remain in Sydney to contest the Breeders' Classic.
Samaready will chase her third Group One win while Snitzerland, who impressed in a sparkling barrier trial last week, is out to claim her first Group One.
Robbie Laing has entered two-year-old Boomwaa while the Hawkes training partnership has also nominated Bugatty.
The last two-year-old to run in the Lightning was Clever Zoe who finished second in 1993, while the last juvenile winner of the race was filly Desirable in 1976.