The Light Fingers Stakes is one for the fillies and is an Australian Turf Club Group 2 race run at set weights over 1200m. It is specifically for three year old fillies run at Royal Randwick of February of each year.
Run on the same day as the Apollo Stakes, Southern Cross Stakes and Triscay Stakes the Light Fingers is a great race for talented three year old fillies to tune up on the way to tackling Group 1 challenges at the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
The race itself was named after former Melbourne Cup winner Light Fingers who won the race in 1965 under the training of legend and racing hall of famer Bart Cummings.
History Of The Light Fingers
Lightfingers was originally a Kiwi bred horse who was leased to the King of Cups Cummings ona trip to New Zealand after an attempt to buy the chesnut mare had failed.
Originally named Close Embrace across the ditch the horse was renamed to Light Fingers after the Australian Registrar wouldn’t accept her original name because of a naming conflict.
On debut in Adelaide on Boxing Day in 1963 Light Fingers ran second over 5 furlongs. She would then kick on and win her next three starts which turned into 7 from 12 starts as a 3 year old including the major fillies race that year The Thousand Guineas at Flemington.
Light Fingers would win the Melbourne Cup in 1965 under the ride of Roy Higgins who rode the mare for the majority of her wins. She would subsequently be introduced into the Australian Hall of Fame in 2017.
The Light Fingers Stakes the race was introduced to the Sydney racing calendar in 1979 where it was graded as a Listed race over 1200m.
Having started life as a Listed Grade race the race was boosted to Group 2 status for one year in 1986 before being dropped by to a Group 3 in 1987. It wasn’t until 1991 the Light Fingers Stakes received Group 2 level grading once again.
Much like the Apollo stakes, The Light Fingers was bounced around from course to course after having stints at Warwick Farm and Rosehill Racecourse before finding its permanent home at Royal Randwick where its inaugural running had been held.
Having set weights of 56kgs assigned to runners the Light Fingers nowadays has a prize money of $200,000 attached to it which is more than the $109,000 Light Fingers herself had ever won in all her races.
Race Venue For The Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes
Despite being run at Warwick Farm and Rosehill in the past the Light Fingers Stakes has found its home at Randwick where it is run alongside the Apollo Stakes as one of the headline acts to run at the track in February.
Royal Randwick plays host to key racing from February to mid April where high calibre racing at Sydney’s Autumn Carnival culminates over two days of The Championships where $21.2 million in prize money is up for grabs.
Randwick Racecourse has been in operation since 1833 where the New South Wales Governor agreed to lease the land in order to become a permanent venue for Thoroughbred Horse Racing rather than running in Hyde Park in the City.
Located in Sydney’s East, Randwick has today become a powerhouse of Australian racing playing host to premium race days all year round as well as having world class training facilities where runners are able to trial and develop.
In 1965 when Light Fingers won the Melbourne Cup trainer Bart Cummings only had a stable in the South of Australia before opening a facility at Flemington Racecourse in 1968 and increasing his operations to Randwick in 1974.
All but retired in 2014 Bart Cummings along with his grandson and training partner James closed operations in the south and relocated all racing operations to Randwick and the Cummings named Leilani Lodge.
Randwick continues to have Cummings connections with James Cummings and his now Godolphin sponsored stable still training from the eastern suburbs venue.
Racing History Of The Light Fingers Stakes
Being a race for the fillies we have seen a number of young talented 3 year olds come through and tackle the Group 2 light fingers.
In 2014 Sweet Idea won the Lightfingers in a blistering year where she had come from winning the Magic Millions Three Year Old Classic and went on to finish second in the Coolmore Classic. Sweet Idea would go on to win the Group 1 Galaxy as a four year old as well as the Memsies Stakes and Myer Classic at Group 1 level before retiring in 2015.
Sweet Idea would be the first of two winners of the Light Fingers for trainer Gai Waterhouse in recent years, who after a successful spell at the Magic Millions in 2017 took out the race with Global Glamour.
In the last few years Godolphin have emerged to the fore of the Light Fingers however having won in both 2018 with Alizee and again in 2020 with Flit.
Alizee, a half sister to fellow Godolphin runner Astern has particularly benefited from winning the Light Fingers going on to win the Flight Stakes, Queen Of The Turf and Futurity Stakes all at Group 1 level.
The Lightfingers has produced some talented runners over the years and a great race to tip the cap to legendary trainer Bart Cummings and his 1965 Melbourne Cup winning horse Light Fingers.
Light Fingers, a hall of fame inductee, won the cup with the heaviest weight a female has ever carried to victory and this race for three year old fillies is a great way to acknowledge her success in her juvenile years.
As part of the lead up to the Autumn Carnival The Light Fingers is a great race for trainers to improve their young talent hot off the heels of the Magic Millions Carnival.
||Light Fingers Stakes Winner|
|2009||Rock Me Baby|
|1995||Flight To Fantasy|
|1994||Gem Of The West|
|1988||Here's The Point|