Flemington hosts the Group 1 Lightning Stakes which has since been renamed the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes after the champion mare dominated the race for three successive years.
Black Caviar made the Lightning Stakes its own, but the winners list also features some of Australia’s other sprinting champions and it is firmly one of the biggest races of the year. The Black Caviar Lightning Stakes will next be run on February 18, 2017.
The Group 1 weight-for-age sprint has a purse of $750,000 and due to the timing of the race in February, it gains all the attention from the betting public.
The Lightning Stakes was added to the Global Sprint Challenge in 2005 which includes the King’s Stand Stakes. Four winners of the Lightning have gone over to Royal Ascot and won the King’s Stand so that’s a great form guide for punters of both Australian and European racing.
The Lightning Stakes is one of the major betting races in Australia, so which star thoroughbred will be next to add their name to the growing list of champions?
2019 Lightning Stakes betting odds
Star performers Graff and Sunlight are locked together at the top of the market at the $4.50 favourite at online bookmaker Ladbrokes to win the 2019 Lightning Stakes.
Godolphin gun Osbourne Bulls ($5) is on the third line of betting while In Her Time is at the $5.50.
Best Lightning Stakes bookmakers
All of our listed bookmakers will offer all-in and fixed odds betting on the Lighting Stakes.The sprint is one of the most popular betting races on the Australian racing calendar so the bookmakers know how important framing the best value market is.
Lightning Stakes History
- Dates back to 1955 with Group One status since 1987
- Named after the champion, and unbeaten, mare Black Caviar who won the race in 2011, 2012, 2013
- Other Notable Winners: Todman (1960); Sky High (1961/62); Dual Choice (1971); Maybe Mahal (1977/78); River Rough (1984/85); Placid Ark (1987); Shaftesbury Avenue (1991); Schillaci (1992/93); Mahogany (1995/97); General Nediym (1998); Testa Rossa (2000); Choisir (2003); Fastnet Rock (2005); Takeover Target (2006); Apache Cat (2008); Nicconi (2010); Lankee Rupee (2015); Chautauqua (2016)
- Leading Trainer: The late Bart Cummings holds the record with seven wins. Lee Freedman won six with Miss Andretti (2007) the most recent.
- Leading Jockey: Damien Oliver holds the record with five wins and is on Missrock this year.
Lightning Stakes betting guide
The Lightning Stakes has been a good betting race for favourites punters in recent history. Six of the last 10 races have been won by the favourite, with only one horse winning at odds of more than $5.
Black Caviar won at minuscule odds from 2011-2013 and other favourites include Miss Andretti in 2007 and Chautauqua in 2016.
The likes of Lankan Rupee, Apache Cat and Nicconi were all well-favoured in the betting with Scenic Blast the only runner to cause an upset in the last 10 years when it won paying $20.
There has been some beaten favourites which have given punters a headache. Quality sprinters Alinghi, Schillaci and Show County all finished second as the favourite.
Also included in the beaten favourites list was the highly-touted Deep Field, Weekend Hussler and Hareeba which ran as the $1.36 elect.
There have been only five double-figure odds winners in the last 30 years so backing the well-favoured runners is the best Lightning Stakes strategy.
Fillies and mares have a good record in the Lightning Stakes with recent winners including Black Caviar, Miss Andretti, Snitzerland, Regimental Gal and Spinning Hill.
Running down the Flemington straight doesn’t suit every sprinter in Australia, so it’s best to make note of which runners have experience running down the straight. Some horses often need a turn to produce their best turn-of-foot, whereas others can sprint when asked.
The best barrier to jump from is barrier two. Six of the last 34 winners have jumped from barrier two with the next best barrier being five and one.
Damien Oliver is a rider to follow with 17 starts for five wins and four placings. The champion jockey has had a great record in the race and he knows how to ride Flemington better than any other current Victoria rider.
Recent Lightning Stakes winners
2019: The market was having a tough time discerning who should be the 2019 Lightning Stakes favourite, with Sunlight jumping as the $3.20 top elect. The fav made the early pace too, looking to lead from start to finish but as the champion filly wilted in the final stages it was In Her Time that took the front and ran strongly to the line. Godolphin sprinter Osborne Bulls charged home late and only narrowly missed out as In Her Time gripped on for a powerful win.
2018: Terravista won the Lightning a year ago and was arguably unlucky not to win in 2016 when beaten in a photo finish. The eight-year-old gelding flies fresh and loves the Flemington straight. He has also won a Group One Darley Classic and placed in two others, including his second to Redzel last spring.
2017: It was one of the more eventful Lightning Stakes in the race’s history with Terravista ($15) coming from last to first to win the group 1 race. Another Sydney horse Spieth ($6) finished second, but it was a pre-race incident that added to the drama. The usually quiet horse The Quarterback threw his jockey off and went to the ground and lashed out at horses around him, with the large crowd holding its breath only for jockey Matt Allen to jump to his feet fine. Subsequently The Quarterback, Faatinah and Orujo were all withdrawn from the race. Star Turn ($4) managed to hold on for third. It was a brilliant result for Terravista, who at one time was regarded as the world’s best sprinter, but has been beset by injury woes in the last few years. Read full report.
2016: Chautauqua solidified its status as one of the world’s best sprinters when taking out the 2016 Lightning Stakes. The Hawkes-trained start was the short favourite to win the sprint and it only narrowly scored the prize by a nose over Terravista and Japonisme in third. It ran a quick time of 57.02 for the 1000m and it would later win the T.J. Smith Stakes and The Chairman’s Sprint Prize in Hong Kong.
2015: Lankan Rupee scored one of the most impressive Lightning Stakes wins in 2015. The Mick Price-trained gelding exploded in the straight to win by almost three lengths over the likes of Brazen Beau and race-favourite Deep Field. The son of Redoute’s Choice was a well-backed runner at $2.60 and it gave jockey Craig Newitt his second win in the race.
2014: The 2014 edition of the Lightning Stakes was one of the most even betting fields where Snitzerland was victorious. The Gerald Ryan-trained mare jumped well for jockey Brenton Avdulla before being taken on in the lead. It was pushed forward at the 300m and it had a big enough break to hold off the closing Shamexpress and Samaready. Snitzerland paid $5 with bookmakers with the disappointing effort coming from third favourite Bernabeau which finished last.
2013: The mighty Black Caviar made it three consecutive Lightning Stakes wins in 2013. The six-year-old mare controlled the race from the outset before jockey Luke Nolen asked the champion to extend. Black Caviar burst clear at the 200m and put 2.5 lengths on the rest of the field at the finish. The Lightning Stakes was one of Black Caviar’s last races and although punters didn’t get rich taking the $1.10 on offer, the victory will remain one of the greatest in the sprint’s history.
2012: The 2012 Lightning Stakes was one of the best fields assembled and Black Caviar made them look second rate. The daughter of Bel Esprit won by 1.8 lengths at short odds of $1.10 and it defeated the likes of Hay List, Buffering, Foxwedge, Temple Of Boom and Golden Slipper winner Phelan Ready. Black Caviar also won in 2011 which kicked off a three-year domination.
Lightning Stakes winners list
2019 – In Her Time
2018 – Redkirk Warrior
2017 – Terravista
2016 – Chautauqua
2015 – Lankan Rupee
2014 – Snitzerland
2013 – Black Caviar
2012 – Black Caviar
2011 – Black Caviar
2010 – Nicconi
2009 – Scenic Blast
2008 – Apache Cat
2007 – Miss Andretti
2006 – Takeover Target
2005 – Fastnet Rock
2004 – Regimental Gal
2003 – Choisir
2002 – Spinning Hill
2001 – Sports
2000 – Testa Rossa
1999 – Isca
1998 – General Nediym
1997 – Mahogany
1996 – Gold Ace
1995 – Mahogany
1994 – Keltrice
1993 – Schillaci
1992 – Schillaci
1991 – Shaftesbury Avenue
1990 – Redelva
1989 – Zeditave
1988 – Special
1987 – Placid Ark
1986 – Hula Chief
1985 – River Rough
1984 – River Rough
1983 – Demus
1982 – He’s A Haze
1981 – Countess Marizza
1980 – Sportscast
1979 – The Judge
1978 – Maybe Mahal
1977 – Maybe Mahal
1976 – Desirable
1975 – Cap D’antibes
1974 – Century
1973 – Make Mine Roses
1972 – Zambari
1971 – Dual Choice
1970 – Black Onyx
1969 – Mister Hush
1968 – Begonia Belle
1967 – Storm Queen
1966 – Citius
1965 – Marmion
1964 – Wenona Girl
1963 – Wenona Girl
1962 – Sky High
1961 – Sky High
1960 – Todman
1959 – Ritmar
1958 – Misting
1957 – Copper Year
1956 – Apple Bay
1955 – Gay Vista