Lightning Stakes

Lightning Stakes

Group One Betting Guide
Date: Saturday, Feburary 18, 2023
Location: Flemington Racecourse – Victoria, Australia
Prize Money: $1,000,000
Distance: 1,000m

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 19, 2022.

The Group 1 weight-for-age sprint has a purse of $1,000,000 and due to the timing of the race in February, it gains all the attention from the betting public.

The Lightning Stakes is the first of three big sprint events in Melbourne for the Autumn carnival, with the Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield and the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington in the weeks following the Lightning Stakes.

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?

2023 Lightning Stakes betting odds

Who will join Home Affairs on the Lightning Stakes honour roll? (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

Odds for the 2023 Lightning Stakes are not available yet. will update this page as they come out.

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.

United States Sport Table

Sport Table

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); Nature Strip (2020)
  • 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.

Lightning Stakes betting guide

The Lightning Stakes has not been a good betting race for favourites punters in recent history. Three of the past six winners of the Lightning Stakes have come in at double figure odds, with the exception being In Her Time in 2019, Nature Strip in 2021 and Home Affairs in 2022.

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 and Gytrash the only runners 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, Nature Strip 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. Nature Strip also went around as a $1.35 favourite in 2020 but could do no better than a fourth placed finish.

There have been only six double-figure odds winners in the last 30 years so backing the well-favoured runners usually seen as a smart Lightning Stakes strategy.

Fillies and mares have a good record in the Lightning Stakes with recent winners including Black Caviar, Miss Andretti, In Her Time, 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. Seven of the last 38 winners have jumped from barrier two with the next best barriers being five and one.

Damien Oliver is a rider to follow with five wins in the Lightning Stakes including consecutive wins in the race aboard Schillaci. 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.

2022 Lightning Stakes result

1stHome Affairs ($7.50)
2ndNature Strip ($1.20)
3rdEduardo ($1.50)

Recent Lightning Stakes winners

  • The 2022 Lightning Stakes will go down in folklore with Home Affairs and Nature Strip giving Chris Waller the quinella in the race for the second year in the row. Home Affairs managed to lead throughout, but it was a drama-filled contest behind from when the barriers opened. Nature Strip was sandwiched out of the gates by Profiteer and Eduardo and was a clear last inside the first 50m. The Strip managed to accelerate quickly and settle just off his stablemates heels. They paired off inside the final furlong and despite being left vulnerable late, Home Affairs kept finding to fend off the best sprinter in the world and further solidify the fact that he is the best up-and-coming sprinter in the land. Arguably Nature Strip’s run into second when beaten a nose will go down as one of the great runs in Group 1 sprinting history without winning.
  • Star jockey Jamie Kah proved the key to coaxing the best out of the enigmatic Nature Strip when she combined with the superstar sprinter to win the Black Caviar Lightning. The six-year-old Gelding jumped well and gained enough traction beside leader Pippie that he could hold the lead ahead of second place September Run who was making the break down the outside to re-write the wrongs from 2020.
  • It looked to be a one act affair in the 2020 Lightning Stakes with superstar sprinter Nature Strip jumping as a $1.35 favourite. However, it was the Gordon Richards trained Gytrash who produced an electric turn of foot to claim the 2020 Lightning Stakes and put to bed a small field of proven Group 1 superstars. Nature Strip was in strife early on after racing keenly throughout, and with the leader Redzel there for the taking over the final furlong, Gytrash stormed past the former Everest champion and got the job done quite comfortably in the end by a length.
  • 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.
  • Terravista won the Lightning a year ago and was arguably unlucky not to win in 2016 when beaten in a photo finish. Eyes were on Terravista to go back-to-back however it was Redkirk Warrior that stormed home in the final stages to record an outstanding victory in the 2018 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes at Flemington this afternoon. It was Super Too that took up the running and Kerrin McEvoy on Redzel was happy to trail her into the race, while Redkirk Warrior was settled at the tail of the field. Redzel looked the winner when he hit the front at the 250 metre mark, but Redkirk Warrior showed a staggering acceleration in the final stages to steal victory in the shadows of the post.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 past winners list

Lightning Stakes Past Winners
Year Horse Jockey Trainer
2022 Home Affairs James McDonald Chris Waller
2021 Nature Strip Jamie Kah Chris Waller
2020 Gytrash Mark Zahra Gordon Richards
2019 In Her Time Corey Brown Kris Lees
2018 Redkirk Warrior Regan Bayliss David Hayes
2017 Terravista Corey Brown Joseph Pride
2016 Chautauqua Dwayne Dunn Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes
2015 Lankan Rupee Craig Newitt Mick Price
2014 Snitzerland Brenton Avdulla Gerald Ryan
2013 Black Caviar Luke Nolen Peter G Moody
2012 Black Caviar Luke Nolen Peter G Moody
2011 Black Caviar Luke Nolen Peter G Moody
2010 Nicconi Damien Oliver David Hayes
2009 Scenic Blast Steven Arnold Daniel Morton
2008 Apache Cat Corey Brown Greg Eurell
2007 Miss Andretti Craig Newitt Lee Freedman
2006 Takeover Target Jay Ford Joe Janiak
2005 Fastnet Rock Glen Boss Paul Perry
2004 Regimental Gal Steven King Shaun Dwyer
2003 Choisir Glen Boss Paul Perry
2002 Spinning Hill Steven Arnold Guy Walter
2001 Sports Darren Gauci John Hawkes
2000 Testa Rossa Damien Oliver Dean Lawson

Lightning Stakes Past Winners Pre 2000

Lightning Stakes Past Winners Pre 2000
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

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