BLACK Caviar's defence of her amazing 22-race winning sequence has been made easier as she will confront only seven rivals in Saturday's Black Caviar Lightning at Flemington.
And the world's fastest mare will be tackling two stablemates, Moment Of Change and Golden Archer.
The six-year-old mare will not only be attempting her 23rd victory, she also will be aiming to become the first horse to win three Lightning Stakes in as many years.
As has happened in the past, connections of group 1 sprinters have shied away from clashing with Black Caviar. A field of eight is better than most club officials had hoped for, though the $500,000 on offer from first to eighth, was sufficient lure.
Sydney-trained sprinter Satin Shoes and local galloper Shamexpress will be her main rivals but it would seem the Caulfield-trained mare has many lengths on the pair.
Racing Victoria general manager Greg Carpenter believes the make-up of the field may not see the world's fastest mare lead throughout. He said early speed could come from the likes of last-start group 1 winner Moment Of Change or even the Anthony Freedman-prepared First Command.
''With those two in the race and they have early speed, Black Caviar from barrier two won't necessarily have to lead.
''However, if it's only a dawdling pace, she may seize the opportunity and go to an early comfortable lead,'' Carpenter said.
And racing scout Nick Smith from Royal Ascot will also be at Flemington on Saturday watching Black Caviar as he has an invitation for the champion six-year-old to return to England later this year.