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AFRICAN PULSE TACKLES LIGHTNING

Melbourne's Summer/Autumn carnival is now underway and we are excited to have African Pulse in Saturday's feature event at Flemington - the $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes.

Drawn barrier one for Michael Rodd, the talented entire ran nicely first up at Flemington and has pleased the stable with his progress since.

So much so that there is an air of confidence about his chances.

"The more I think about it, the more I like him," said Michael Moroney.

"He may not be well in at weight-for-age but he is a specialist up the straight and he is a specialist at the 1000m."

"There looks to be three to beat - Snitzerland, Shamexpress and Samaready," Moroney said, hoping that African Pulse's love of the Flemington 1000m will give him an advantage over them.

He is also looking forward to saddling up Ballymore's other Flemington runners kicking off with About Square in the fourth event, the Lawn Handicap.

Impressive winning the Sale Quality last time out, the in-form four-year-old again has the services of Glen Boss who has always had plenty of time for the son of Refuse To Bend, as has Moroney.

"He has his share of weight," he conceded of About Square's 57.5kg whilst admitting that the four times winner has earned it - "and he isn't too far away from the other good horses in the race."

"It looks a good race for him," Moroney continued with some reservations about the inside draw.

"It will depend where the speed is, there doesn't seem to be much on paper so he might go forward."

Despite the concerns over the weight and the draw Moroney remains confident - "he is going really well."

Sabrage is the final of our Flemington trio, resuming in the tab.com.au Handicap and likely to find the 1400m too short.

"A win would be a major surprise," Moroney said, noting that Sabrage's best form is over longer trips.

"And from the draw (15) he will have to go back which will make it difficult for him."

Our weekend actually stars on Friday night with our two Hobart runners - Surpass in the Hobart Cup and Bishops Castle in the Thomas Lyon Stakes, both of whom are faring well.

And at Moonee Valley we have three runners with Zazparella and Milkwood both taking their place in the John Paraskevas Handicap over 1600m.

Milkwood, who jumps from barrier four with Jordan Childs aboard, caught the eye with a game second at Benalla when resuming.

"She was terrific first up," Moroney enthused, "and she should again prove competitive."

"We have always had a bit of time for her and she has come back stronger this time in."

Zazparella is also second up, having been unplaced when resuming at Echuca.

"She was a bit disappointing there but she had to be ridden back from an outside draw which doesn't really suit her - we are looking to have her further forward this time."

"She may still be a run away but she is the sort of mare who can improve quickly," he said - noting that he thinks both of his mares can finish in the thick of things.

And the same goes for Air Striker who contests the final race, the Sportingbet Best Tote Plus Handicap over 1528m.

"I was a bit disappointed with his last run, he loomed up to win and didn't really round if off," Moroney said.

"But Mornington has been a bit of a leader's track of late and he is in terrific order. I have always liked him and it would not surprise me if he could turn it all around."

We also have a runner at Terang on Saturday - Optimistic in the Kings Fine Jewellery F&M Maiden Plate over 1608m.

The daughter of New Approach ran nicely at her debut over a shorter trip and is bred for ground, Moroney describing her as "a nice staying filly in the making."

"She is taking a while to learn her craft and the further she goes the better she'll be and she will keep improving."

Church Boy in the 3Y0 Maiden Plate at Geelong on Sunday is our final runner on a busy weekend and hopefully he can round it off with a win.

"We think he is a pretty smart horse," said Moroney.

"His Sydney runs have been good without much luck and he won't remain a maiden for long."

Described by Moroney as a "gorgeous" horse, Church Boy will be ridden by Glen Boss from barrier seven.


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