Flying Artie

Flying Artie at Mick Price's Caulfield stables (Image: Ned Hunt)

Black Caviar Lightning favourite Artie in demand

Mick Price played host to two international racing identities on Thursday and while former champion Hong Kong jockey and now esteemed trainer Tony Cruz and Royal Ascot's director of racing Nick Smith have vastly different jobs, they were after the same thing.

Flying Artie.

Cruz, who is a guest in Melbourne to help launch the Global Sprint Challenge - for which Saturday's Black Caviar Lightning is the first of 10 legs across the world - was handed the colt's reins for promotional shots before declaring to Price his desire to take the horse home with him to race.

"He's a beautiful strong colt and I can't wait to see him race tomorrow," Cruz said later. "I think he will win."

For Smith, he only wants a temporary loan of the horse.

"He really does look the part and he looks tailor-made for the 1200 metres of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes)," Smith said after looking over Flying Artie at Price's Caulfield stables.

"He sets the standard and has the exact right profile of the horses that have come over in the past."

Royal Ascot was a topic that Price was happy to weigh into.

"Personally, I think the horse would be suited to go to Ascot in the 1200 (Diamond Jubilee)," Price said. "I think if you run  in the Lightning, then run him in the Newmarket then run in the T.J. (Smith) and the information from all those races will tell you (whether to go to Ascot)."

On more immediate concerns, Price said while he was delighted with the horse, he was wary about straight racing, especially as Flying Artie is close to the normally-despised inside with barrier four.

"I'm assuming they go in one bunch," he said. "I don't know what will happen if they split but that's the vagaries of straight racing."

He said five-time Lightning winner Damien Oliver excels at finding the best spot in a race.

"He makes his own decision," Price said. "We talk to him but he'll have his own plan and there will be no one trying harder to win a Lightning than Damien Oliver.

"I think it will work out OK. Star Turn in (barrier) two, Heatherly in three and us in four - they're not going to go to the fence obviously - and with Faatinah out in 11, there's speed in front of us and speed out a little."

As for Flying Artie, Price said racegoers will see a different horse to the spring.

"I think the horse has improved from when he was a baby spring colt in his three-year-old year," he said.

"When he ran in the Blue Sapphire, he was still quite green - I know there was an incident in the race - but even when he hit the front he wanted to pull up in that race.

"Then I thought he improved a lot - that race brought him on for the Coolmore. He raced like a professional horse in the Coolmore."