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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 $750,000. The 2016 Lightning Stakes was won by Chautauqua from Terravista with Japonisme 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 three years in a row during the 2012/2013 racing season.
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 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.
Chautauqua (2016) was resuming from a spring spell when he stormed home late to win this event in exciting fashion and recent Lightning Stakes winners include Lankan Rupee (2015) and Snitzerland (2014).
2016 Lightning Stakes result
1. $2.80 Chautauqua 58.5 Dwayne Dunn
2. $6.50 Terravista 58.5 Damien Oliver
3. $7.00 Japonisme 55.5 Glyn Schofield
4. $3.10 Exosphere 55.5 James McDonald
5. $11.00 Delectation 58.5 Craig Williams
6. $41.00 Va Pensiero 58.5 Craig Newitt
Margins: 0.1L, 0.1L Time: 0:57.02
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 Dubai Golden Shaheen - Meydan racecourse - Dubai - March
Gr1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen - Chukyo racecourse - Japan - March
Gr1 Chairman's Sprint Prize - Sha Tin racecourse - Hong Kong - May
Gr1 King's Stand Stakes - Royal Ascot racecourse - England - June
Gr1 DIamond Jubilee Stakes - Royal Ascot racecourse - England - June
Gr1 July Cup - Newmarket Racecourse - England - July
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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