Group 1 Racing at Flemington Debuts with Black Caviar Lightning
It might seem as though Group 1 racing is far in the future, but so far as Flemington racecourse is concerned, it resumes with the 1000 metre Lightning Stakes of February 18.
Since 2013, the race has been promoted at the Black Caviar Lightning in honour of the undefeated sprinter, but it is still registered as the Lightning Stakes and is the first race of the three leg Autumn Sprint Series, with the other two being the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate at The Heath and the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap back at Flemington.
The Lightning Stakes is run under weight for age conditions, the Oakleigh Plate and the Newmarket are both conducted as open handicap races.
Chautauqua won last year’s Lightning, but it was Black Caviar’s three consecutive in 2011 – 2013 that cemented the race’s new name.
The race was first run in 1955 and was won by Gay Vista. The first multiple winner was Sky High that saluted in 1961 and 1962. The next two editions were won by Wenona Girl.
Maybe Mahal won twice consecutively in 1977 – 78, followed by River Rough in 1984 – 85. Schialli won in 1992 – 93. Mahogany holds the distinction of having won twice with a year intervening, 1995 and 1996.