The Black Caviar Lightning Stakes

The next passage was edited from Wikipedia:

“The Black Caviar Lightning Stakes is a Group 1thoroughbred horse race at Weight for Age (allowance conditions), run over a distance of 1000 metres (approximately 5 furlongs) “down the straight,”at Flemington Racecourse, in Melbourne, Australia in mid-February.

It’s name was changed from the Lightning Stakes in 2012 to honor undefeated sprinting superstar Black Caviar, who won the race in 2011, 2012 and 2013.  Prize money is roughly US$500,000.

The Lightning Stakes forms the first leg of the three leg Autumn sprint series over the Melbourne carnival. It precedes the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m – 5.5 furlongs – open handicap) at Caulfield Racecourse on the third Saturday in February and the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m – 6 furlongs – open handicap), Australia’s most famous sprinting handicap, also run at Flemington on the first Saturday in early March on “Super Saturday.”

  • Since 2005 the Lightning Stakes has been the first leg of the Global Sprint Challenge.  Until Nicconi’s defeat in the 2010 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot held in June, the Lightning Stakes race has proved an outstanding guide to the winner of the King’s Stand Stakes, with Choisir (2003), Takeover Target (2006), Miss Andretti (2007) and Scenic Blast (2009) all winning this race before subsequently winning at Royal Ascot later that year.
  • In June, 2012, Black Caviar’s connections skipped the King’s Stand to run in the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and won by a desperate head over crack French miler Moonlight Cloud after Black Caviar’s Jockey misjudged the finish line and quit riding the mare for a few moments.

As you can see from the winner’s list above, the BLACK CAVIAR LIGHTNING STAKES is THE SPRINT in Australia because the race is run under allowance conditions.  The Newmarket Handicap has double the purse (approximately US$1,000,000), but often the winner of the Newmarket is determined by the racing secretaries that assign the weights.  For example, solid 3yo sprinter Shamexpress carried an extremely light 114 pounds when he won the 2013 Newmarket last March.  The spread in the weights is much less in a “Weight For Age” (WFA) event.

WHAT SHOULD PUNTERS KNOW ABOUT BETTING THE LIGHTNING?

(1) It is the kind of race that can get a horse standing at stud.  This is not a warm-up race.

(2) Horses that have a high cruising speed have a huge advantage running “down the straight” at Flemington.  Advantage to Snitzerland and Bugatty, who appear to be the speed of the speed.

(3) Horses that ran well in the GOLDEN SLIPPER stakes at 2 do very well in this race.  Advantage Snitzerland and Samaready.

(4) Horses coming off big barrier trial wins are extremely dangerous.  Snitzerland won her barrier trial by 6 big lengths.

(5) Horses with a good record down the straight at Flemington usually outrun their odds.  Shamextress has a Grade 1 win and just missed in another Grade 1 down the straight, but I think he is better at 6 furlongs.  Samaready is 1 for 1 down the straight, but that was two years ago in an allowance race against 2yo fillies.  Snitzerland has a decent record at Flemington and her narrow loss at 5f to developing superstar Lankan Rupee (think an Australian version of Lea) looks like a badge of honor now.  We’ll give a slight edge to Shamexpress.

(6) Posts with high barrier numbers (10 through 13) have the advantage over posts nearest the inner rail (1 through 4) BECAUSE if a horse gets off slowly it is easier to recover from the outside draw.  The inside horses often get “swallowed up” by the field.  Advantage – slightly to Snitzerland and her early speed in post 10.

 

SUMMARY

It appears that this race will be a rematch of the 2012 Golden Slipper, with Snitzerland (7/2 ML odds) and Samaready (8/5 ML) fighting it out.

With my checklist above I have to give Snitzerland the nod, with Samaready 2nd and Shamexpress (8/1 ML) 3rd.

Super players, consider using Pago Rock (10/1 ML), who is pretty honest and drew well in Barrier number 11.  He will close from mid-pack and while probably not brilliant enough to win, a 3rd or 4th placing would not be a surprise at all.

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