Almanac Racing: Australia’s Lightning Stakes
During Australia’s popular and famous spring racing carnivals, the best racing in the world is focused on older horses going a distance of ground. This season, Australians were treated to some of the world’s most important grass races, including the Caulfield Cup, the Melbourne Cup and watching the great race-mare Winx capture the WS Cox Plate for the second year in a row.
As the spring turns to summer, much of the focus is shifted towards the nation’s best 3-year olds that will be competing for a chance to win the coveted Australian Triple Crown (Randwick Guineas, Rosehill Guineas and the WTC Australian Derby). That doesn’t mean there won’t be important races available for the nation’s top older handicap horses.
About the Lightning Stakes
As part of the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival, the Lightning Stakes stands as one of the nation’s premiere races for sprinters on turf. As a tribute to one of the greatest sprinter in horse racing history, the Melbourne Racing Club renamed this race the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes in late 2013, following the great race-mare’s amazing record in this very race. As part of a brilliant undefeated racing career over 25 races, Black Caviar won this race three years in a row from 2011 to 2013.
Conditions of the Race
The Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes will be be run on February 18, 2017 at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The race is slated for 3-year olds and up, running a distance of 1000 meters (Five furlongs) on turf for a total purse of AUS $750,000.00. Weights are to be set based on age.
History of the Race
The Lightning Stakes was first inaugurated in 1955 by the Victoria Racing Club. Over time, the race established itself as the first leg of the coveted Autumn Sprint Racing Series, which also includes the G1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield Racecourse and the G1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington. Some of the greats that have won this race include Sky High (1961, 1962), River Rough (1984, 1985), Scenic Blast (2009) and the aforementioned Black Caviar.
Contenders for This Year’s Edition
With about 30 days remaining until the horses meet the barrier, the field for the 2017 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes is starting to take shape. In the coming weeks, it’s a sure bet that Australian bookmakers will start taking future bets and offering free bets on a race of this magnitude. Here is a quick look at a couple of the race’s possible contenders.
Supido – With an eye one a start in March’s Group 1 Newmarket Stakes at Flemington, the connections of Supido will be looking to use this race as a potential prep. With a record of six wins from nine starts for just over $330K in purses, Supido will be making his first start since May of 2016, when he finished a strong third in the Group 1 Goodwood Stakes behind superstar Black Heart Bart.
The Quarterback – After a dull performance in November’s Group 1 Darley Classic, The Quarterback got a little freshening for this race. As the winner of last year’s Group 1 Newmarket Stakes, this 6-year old gelding will look to get back to his winning ways in this spot.
With the top Australian bookmakers offering plenty of free bets, now is a great time to start building a bankroll for top races like the Lightning Stakes. Summer racing down under provides racing fans and punters with plenty of opportunities to wager on some of the top racehorses in the industry. Now is the time to start following the best horses in order to get the best results.