Lightning Stakes Race Information

The Lightning Stakes is a 1000 metre weight-for-age race run by the Victoria Racing Club over the straight course at Flemington and is the only Group 1 race in Australia over 1000 metres. The race used to be held at the end of January or early February each year as the first Group 1 race for the calendar year, but the Orr Stakes has taken that spot and the Lightning now runs in mid-February.

  • Race Type: Group 1
  • Distance: 1000 metres
  • Conditions: Weight-for-age
  • Track: Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, Victoria
  • Prizemoney: $750,000
  • Date: Saturday 13 February 2021

Lightning Stakes Race History

See the 2021 Lightning Stakes Preview and Results.

The Lightning Stakes was first run in 1955 over a distance of 5 furlongs (about 1006 metres) when it was won by Gay Vista. The distance changed to 1000 metres in 1973 when Australia adopted metric measurements.

The race was classified as a Principal race from 1955 to 1979, then became a Group 2 in 1980. In 1987 it was upgraded to a Group 1 race and has a special place as Australia’s shortest Group 1 race. It is normally run at Flemington, but in 2007 it was held at Moonee Valley due to major track renovations at Flemington.

Top class sprinters often tackle the Lightning Stakes as part of their preparation for the Newmarket Handicap over 1200 metres, which is usually run 3 weeks later. In between many of the best sprinters will also run in the Oakleigh Plate over 1100 metres which is held at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Stakes Day, one week after the Lightning Stakes. Only two horses have ever won the Lightning Stakes, Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket Melbourne sprint treble and they were Schillaci in 1992 and Placid Ark in 1987.

When Black Caviar won the race for the third consecutive year in 2013, her time of 55.42 seconds, took .08 of a second from a track record that had stood for 25 years. It was set by Special in the 1988 edition of the event.

Useful Facts

Last mare to win: In Her Time (2018)

Last 3YO to win: C&G  – Fastnet Rock (2005); Filly – Regimental Girl (2004)

Multiple winners: Black Caviar (2011, 2012 & 2013), Schillaci (1992 & 1993); River Rough (1984 & 1985); Maybe Mahal (1977 & 1978); Wenona Girl (1963 & 1964); Sky High (1961 & 1962).

Fastest time (1000m): Black Caviar (2013) 0:55:42

Leading jockeys: Damien Oliver with 5 wins (Nicconi 2010; Testa Rossa 2000; Gold Ace 1996; Schillaci 1992 & 1993).

Leading trainers: Bart Cummings with 8 wins (Shaftesbury Avenue 1991; Hula Chief 1986; Demus 1983; Maybe Mahal 1977 & 1978; Cap d’Antibes 1975; Century 1974; Storm Queen 1967).

Interesting trivia: 1998 winner General Nediym sired 2004 winner Regimental Gal.

Past winners of the Lightning Stakes

In 2005 the Lightning Stakes was made the first leg of the Global Sprint Challenge which began in that year. It consists of ten Group 1 sprint races across Australia, England, Japan, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong. Hong Kong horse Cape of Good Hope came third that year and went on to win the Global Sprint Challenge. Recent Lightning Stakes winners have continued on to win Group 1 sprint races on the international circuit including Black Caviar, Takeover Target (2006), Miss Andretti (2007) Apache Cat (2008) and Scenic Blast (2009).

Year Winner Second Third
2021 Nature Strip September Run Swats That
2020 Gytrash Redzel Loving Gaby
2019 In Her Time Osborne Bulls Sunlight
2018 Redkirk Warrior (GB) Redzel Missrock
2017 Terravista Spieth Star Turn
2016 Chautauqua Terravista Japonisme
2015 Lankan Rupee Brazen Beau Deep Field
2014 Snitzerland Shamexpress Samaready
2013 Black Caviar Moment Of Change Golden Archer
2012 Black Caviar Hay List Buffering
2011 Black Caviar Hay List Warm Love
2010 Nicconi Wanted Shellscrape
2009 Scenic Blast Typhoon Zed Grand Duels
2008 Apache Cat Swick Stanzout
2007 Miss Andretti Magnus Ticklish
2006 Takeover Target God’s Own Cape Of Good Hope (GB)
2005 Fastnet Rock Alinghi Cape Of Good Hope (GB)
2004 Regimental Gal Our Egyptian Raine Mistegic
2003 Choisir Spinning Hill Azevedo
2002 Spinning Hill Mistegic Chong Tong
2001 Sports Black Bean Easy Rocking
2000 Testa Rossa Falvelon Magic Music

From the archives:

Lightning Stakes Preview & Tips 2018

Track: Good,   Weather: Fine

There are 10 runners for the $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes. The odds-on favourite is Everest winner Redzel who has won 11 of his 21 starts and finished last campaign with a Group 1 win in the Darley Classic. Second favourite is Terravista who won this race last year, was 2nd in 2016 and always runs well first-up. Third favourite is Hey Doc who also goes well first-up and won the Group 1 Manikato Stakes at the end of his last campaign.has 5 wins from 9 starts and struck all sorts of trouble when a close 2nd in the Group 1 Darley Classic at the end of last campaign.

Formality is the only three-year-old in the race and is very smart. Redkirk Warrior won first-up at Flemington last campaign. Ball Of Muscle won the Mumm Stakes at this track and distance at the end of last campaign and excels at this distance. The other runners are all over 16 to 1 in the early market but any of them could fill a place including Super Too who has won 2 trials by good margins.

The following are the top 4 selections from our tipster panel for this years race.

Jo’s Tips
1 Redzel
2 Terravista
6 Ball Of Muscle
9 Super Too