The Lightning Stakes is a Group 1 weight-for-age race that takes place in February each year at Flemington racecourse in Melbourne the Melbourne autumn racing carnival. The race is run over the sprint distance of 1000 metres with prizemoney of $500,000. The 2013 Lightning Stakes was won by Black Caviar from Moment Of Change with Golden Archer third.
One of the most anticpated weight-for-age sprint races of the autumn in Melbourne, the Lightning Stakes is held alongside the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes and Group 3 Vanity Stakes, both for three-year-olds.
The Melbourne Racing Club renamed this race the 'Black Caviar Lightning' for the 2012/2013 racing season in honour of champion Peter Moody mare Black Caviar and she became the first galloper to win the race three years in a row when successful again in 2013.
The Lightning Stakes is the premier weight-for-age 1000m sprint event of the Flemington autumn carnival and always attracts the better gallopers going around. The race has been won by many of Australia's best sprinters over the years and more often than not it will be taken out by a top class racehorse as evidenced by the quality of recent winners Black Caviar (2011-13), Scenic Blast (2009), Apache Cat (2008), Miss Andretti (2007) and Takeover Target (2006).
The Lightning is run down the Flemington '1000m' straight course with no turns involved and suits some horses more than others. Horses with an affinity for the Flemington track or proven down the straight are ones to consider when assessing the form for this race.
The Gr2 Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley in January is a typical lead up race to this event as its raced under the same weight-for-age conditions, although Redelva (1990) was the last horse to win both races in the same year.
The weight-for-age Gr1 William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley in March is another option for sprinters contesting this event, with champion mare Black Caviar (2013) the last galloper to take out the Lightning Stakes & William Reid Stakes double. Black Caviar also managed to take out the Lightning Stakes & Newmarket Handicap double in 2011.
Black Caviar (2011-13) won the Gr1 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in England before resuming from a long spell to win this event for the third year in succession and recent Lightning Stakes winners prior to that were Nicconi (2010) and Scenic Blast (2009).
2013 Lightning Stakes result
1. $1.10 Black Caviar 56.5 Luke Nolen
2. $21.00 Moment Of Change 58.5 Linda Meech
3. $41.00 Golden Archer 58.5 Daniel Stackhouse
4. $51.00 Satin Shoes 56.5 Craig Williams
5. $151.00 Go The Knuckle 58.5 Nicholas Hall
6. $20.00 Shamexpress 55.5 Glen Boss
7. $51.00 First Command 58.5 Steve Arnold
8. $301.00 Spirit Cent 58.5 Kerrin Mc Evoy
Margins: 2 1/2 len, 3 1/4 len Time: 0:55.42
Global Sprint Challenge
The Lightning Stakes is the first leg of the 'Global Sprint Challenge' which is a series of eight sprint races run in Hong Kong, Australia, England and Japan. The Australian legs of the series are the Gr1 Lightning Stakes held at Flemington in January and the Gr1 Patinack Farm Classic held on the final day of the Flemington spring carnival in November.
Global Sprint Challenge races
Gr1 Lightning Stakes - Flemington Racecourse - Australia - January
Gr1 King's Stand Stakes - Royal Ascot - England - June
Gr1 Golden Jubilee Stakes - Royal Ascot - England - June
Gr1 July Cup - Newmarket Racecourse - England - July
Gr2 Centaur Stakes - Hanshin Racecourse - Japan - September
Gr1 Sprinters Stakes - Nakayama Racecourse - Japan - October
Gr1 Patinack Farm Classic - Flemington Racecourse - Australia - November
Gr1 Hong Kong Sprint - Sha Tin Racecourse - Hong Kong - December
The Champion Sprinter trophy is awarded to the connections of the horse that accumulates 42 points or more in a single season, and participates in challenge races in at least three countries. Challenge winners since the Global Series inception have been Cape of Good Hope (2005), Takeover Target (2006), Miss Andretti (2007) and Apache Cat (2008), Scenic Blast (2009) and Starspangledbanner (2010).
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