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The Lightning Stakes

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Flemington Races

The Group 1, 1000-metre Lightning Stakes is a weight-for-age horse race that held annually every late January or late February at Melbourne’s Flemington racecourse, It is the first Group 1 event in the Melbourne horse racing calendar and it currently carries at total prize purse of $500,000.

The Lightning Stakes was inaugurated in 1955 and was won by Gay Vista. From 1955-1973, it had a race distance of five furlongs. Since then, the event was given its current 1000-metre distance. From 1955-1979, it was also tagged as a principal race. In 1980, it was elevated to Group 2 status and was given Group 1 status in 1987.

This race is the first leg of the three-leg Melbourne Autumn Sprint Series. Following it is the Group 1, 1100-meter Oakleigh Plate open handicap race at the Caulfield racecourse during the Blue Diamond Stakes Day. Next to it is the Group 1, 1200-metre Newmarket Handicap which is the most famous sprinting handicap race in Australia. It is held during the first Saturday of March in Flemington races.

Also, the Lightining Stakes is the first part of the eight-part Global Sprint Challenge Series. The other Australian horse race in the series is the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic which is held every November at the Flemington racecourse.

The other legs of the Global Sprint Challenge are the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes and the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes which are both held every June at the Royal Ascot racecourse in England. Next to them is the Group 1 July Cup which is held every July at the Newmarket Racecourse in England. The next leg is the Group 2 Centaur Stakes which is held every September at the Hanshin Racecourse.

Next to it is the Group 1 Sprinters Stakes at the Nakayama racecourse in Japan every October and the final leg is the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint every December at the Sha Tin racecourse. After the eight legs, the Champion Sprinter trophy is awarded to the horse which accumulates at least 42 points and has participated in at least three countries.

The Lightning Stakes is staged at the 1000-meter straight course at Flemington so it involved no turns. Therefore, the race suits lighter and faster horses. The most common lead-up race for the Lightining Stakes is the Group 2, 1200-metre Australia Stakes weight-for-age horse race at Mooney Valley.

Meanwhile, those who have competed or won at the Lightning Stakes usually heads on to races such as the Group 3, 1100-metre Rubiton Stakes at the Caulfield racecs on CF Orr Stakes day and the Group 1, 1200-metre William Reid Stakes at Mooney Valley.

As for the Lightning Stakes’ winning records, jockey Harry White has won this race four times. He won with Black Onyx in 1970, Zambari in 1972, Cap D’antibes in 1975 and The Judge in 1979. Damien Oliver has also won four Lightning Stakes trophies with three horses. Oliver won with Schillaci in 1992 and 1993, Gold Ace in 1996 and Testa Rossa in 2000.

In the 2010 Lightning Stakes, Burdekin Blues paced the race before running out of gas at the 200 metre mark. From then on, Wanted went to the lead before Nicconi surged ahead to claim the victory. Wanted settled for second while Shellscrape finished third. Nicconi was steered to victory by Damien Oliver while Wanted and Shellscrape were guided by jockey Brad Rawiller and Cliff Brown respectively.

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Lightning Stakes Recent History

Year Winner 2nd 3rd Time
2010 Nicconi Wanted Shellscrape 0:57.1
2009 Scenic Blast Typhoon Zed Grand Duels 0:56.9
2008 Apache Cat Swick Stanzout 0:57.3
2007 Miss Andretti Magnus Ticklish 0:57.2
2006 Takeover Target Gods Own Cape Of Good Hope 0:56.8
2005 Fastnet Rock Alinghi Cape Of Good Hope 0:57.3
2004 Regimental Gal Our Egyptian Raine Mistegic 0:57.0
2003 Choisir Spinning Hill Azevedo 0:56.9
2002 Spinning Hill Mistegic Chong Tong 0:57.1
2001 Sports Black Bean Easy Rocking 0:57.0
2000 Testa Rossa Falvelon Magic Music 0:56.0
1999 Isca Toledo Scandinavia 0:57.6
1998 General Nediym Notoire Show No Emotion 0:57.9
1997 Mahogany Cangronde Spartacus 0:57.0
1996 Gold Ace Strategic Sequalo 0:56.9
1995 Mahogany Alannon Keltrice 0:56.9
1994 Keltrice Schillaci Kenvain 0:56.1
1993 Schillaci Clever Zoe Oozook 0:56.0
1992 Schillaci Umatilla Wrap Around 0:55.9
1991 Shaftesbury Avenue Bureaucracy Lightning Bend 0:57.4
1990 Redelva Show County Strawberry Ranch 0:57.0
1989 Zeditave Special Clay Hero 0:56.5
1988 Special Snippets Redelva 0:55.5


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