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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 2014 Lightning Stakes was won by Snitzerland from Shamexpress with Samaready 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' in 2013 in honour of champion mare Black Caviar, who became the first galloper to win the Lightning Stakes race three years in a row during the 2012/2013 racing season.

Lightning Stakes info
Date: Saturday 21st February 2015
Track: Flemington racecourse, Melbourne
Distance: 1000 metres
Race Type: Weight-for-age
Status: Group 1
Prizemoney: $500,000
2014 Winner: Snitzerland

The Lightning Stakes is the premier weight-for-age 1000m sprint event of the Flemington autumn carnival and always attracts the best sprinters going around. A long list of Australia's best sprinters have won this race over the years including 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, suiting 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 it is raced under the same weight-for-age conditions, and Black Caviar (2012) was the last horse to win the Australia Stakes & Lightning Stakes double in the same year.

The better sprinters from this race may consider tackling races such as the Gr1 Oakleigh Plate on Blue Diamond Stakes day later in the month at Caulfield or the Gr1 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington on Super Saturday of Racing in March.

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.

Snitzerland (2014) resumed from a spring spell to win this event and recent Lightning Stakes winners include champion mare Black Caviar (2011-13), who won the race three years in succession, and prior to that Nicconi (2010).

2014 Lightning Stakes result
1. $500 Snitzerland 56.5 Brenton Avdulla
2. $7.50 Shamexpress 58.5 Damien Oliver
3. $3.10 Samaready 56.5 Craig Newitt

then followed
4. $31.00 Pago Rock 58.5 Stephen Baster
5. $18.00 Unpretentious 58.5 Craig Williams
6. $151.00 Esprit De Bullet 58.5 Vlad Duric
7. $51.00 Brilliant Bisc 53.5 Glen Boss
8. $31.00 Bugatty 46.0 Dean Holland
9. $26.00 Aeronautical 58.5 Chad Schofield
10. $17.00 Boomwaa 46.0 Dean Yendall
11. $21.00 African Pulse 58.5 Michael Rodd
12. $4.80 Bernabeu 55.5 Nash Rawiller

Margins: 1/2 len, 1 len
Time: 0:57.16

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 VRC Sprint 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 VRC Sprint 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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Lightning Stakes recent winners & placegetters
Year Winner 2nd 3rd Time
2014 Snitzerland Shamexpress Samaready 0:57.1
2013 Black Caviar Moment Of Change Golden Archer 0:55.4
2012 Black Caviar Hay List Buffering 0:55.5
2011 Black Caviar Hay List Warm Love 0:57.2
2010 Nicconi Wanted Shellscrape 0:57.1
2009 Scenic Blast Typhoon Zed Grand Duels 0:56.9
2008 Apache Cat Swick Stanzout 0:57.3
2007 Miss Andretti Magnus Ticklish 0:57.2
2006 Takeover Target Gods Own Cape Of Good Hope 0:56.8
2005 Fastnet Rock Alinghi Cape Of Good Hope 0:57.3
2004 Regimental Gal Our Egyptian Raine Mistegic 0:57.0
2003 Choisir Spinning Hill Azevedo 0:56.9
2002 Spinning Hill Mistegic Chong Tong 0:57.1
2001 Sports Black Bean Easy Rocking 0:57.0
2000 Testa Rossa Falvelon Magic Music 0:56.0
1999 Isca Toledo Scandinavia 0:57.6
1998 General Nediym Notoire Show No Emotion 0:57.9
1997 Mahogany Cangronde Spartacus 0:57.0
1996 Gold Ace Strategic Sequalo 0:56.9
1995 Mahogany Alannon Keltrice 0:56.9
1994 Keltrice Schillaci Kenvain 0:56.1
1993 Schillaci Clever Zoe Oozook 0:56.0
1992 Schillaci Umatilla Wrap Around 0:55.9
1991 Shaftesbury Avenue Bureaucracy Lightning Bend 0:57.4
1990 Redelva Show County Strawberry Ranch 0:57.0
1989 Zeditave Special Clay Hero 0:56.5
1988 Special Snippets Redelva 0:55.5

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