Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes: Tips and preview

Cameron Rose Columnist

By Cameron Rose, Cameron Rose is a Roar Expert

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    The Black Caviar Lightning Stakes is one of the marquee sprints of the racing season, with the list of winners an absolute who’s who of Australian sprinting greats.

    Last year Chautauqua took out the race, following in the footsteps of Lankan Rupee, Black Caviar three times, Scenic Blast, Apache Cat, Miss Andretti, Takeover Target, Fastnet Rock and Choisir since the turn of the century.

    This year sees no stand-outs, but some serious sprinting talent at the top of the markets.

    Two three-year-old colts head the betting, with Flying Artie the punters-elect ahead of Star Turn at this stage.

    They’ve met twice, with Flying Artie taking honours both times, albeit not much between them on either occasion.

    Flying Artie was placed in both the Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper at the end of his two-year-old season, before being unbeaten in the spring taking out the Blue Sapphire Stakes and the Coolmore Stud Stakes coming from last. He is a genuine underage sprinting talent.

    Star Turn’s Schillaci Stakes win in October was one of the most breathtaking of the spring, donkey-licking genuine Group 1 performers like Malaguerra, Fell Swoop, Flamberge, Turn Me Loose, Hucklebuck and Dothraki. He’ll be hard to beat again.

    The rest of the field comprises a nice mix of sprinting veterans and up-and-comers.

    Terravista, The Quarterback and Flamberge make up the first group, all Group 1 winners, with the first two having won at the highest level down the straight.

    Terravista may well have won this race last year if not for pilot error, with Damien Oliver dropping his whip in the shadows of the post, and he’s a threat again. The Quarterback is a gun straight horse, and accomplished over the 1000m course at Flemington. There’ll be plenty who can’t resist the each-way value he represents at the $15 mark.

    Flamberge has one placing from his last eight runs down the straight, and is hard to recommend at this level.

    Spieth, Supido and the mare Heatherly head the lightly raced types still making their name.

    Spieth is the emerging star of the sprinting ranks and was one of the stories of 2016, rising from a class 1 win at Kembla Grange to being pipped in the Group 1 weight-for-age Darley Classic in Cup week behind Malaguerra.

    He’s having his first run over 1000m, and most will be looking for him to put the writing on the wall before unloading on him in the Newmarket.

    Supido is another lightly raced talent, who hasn’t been seen since last years Goodwood Handicap in Adelaide. He ran third behind Black Heart Bart and Under The Louvre that day, beaten less than a length, and didn’t that form stand up.

    Heatherly is a ball of sprinting talent that has Group 1 winner written all over her. She has run well and won up the straight in the past, but speedy fillies and mares can often be brought undone. If this was around a turn she’d be top selection, and is still a live winning chance, but the straight course makes it harder for her.

    Of the rest, Illustrious Lad and Counterattack ran the quinella down the straight in the Derby Day Group 2, and have good form around Group 1 horses. This level will test them, but they should run well.

    Faatinah was all over the place first-up and is a better horse than that, but he’s hard to come into. Orujo isn’t up to it. Missrock is the rare filly coming off a VRC Oaks run to resume in a Lightning Stakes. Hats off to Robbie Laing if he can pull that off.

    They’ll go like the clappers here, with Faatinah the likely leader from Heatherly, Star Turn and Illustrious Lad. Of the main chances, Spieth and The Quarterback will be the most rearward, with most others in-between.


    1. Star Turn
    2. Heatherly
    3. Flying Artie
    4. Spieth

    There’s plenty of quality racing up at Rosehill too, with three Group 2 races in the form of the Hobartville Stakes for three-year-olds, the Millie Fox for the mares and the Silver Slipper for the two-year-olds, where the Golden Slipper favourite She Will Reign resumes.

    Cameron Rose
    Cameron Rose

    Cameron Rose is a born and bred Melbournian, raised on a regime of AFL, cricket and horse racing. He likes people who agree with him but loves those that don't, for there's nothing better than a roaring debate. He tweets from @camtherose.

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    The Crowd Says (12)

    • February 17th 2017 @ 8:45am
      Razzar said | February 17th 2017 @ 8:45am | ! Report

      The lightening will definately be a fascinating, but a watch race for mine.

      But I’m impressed by Flying Artie and does look one of the logical winners.
      Speith has loads of talent, but his undoing is where he maps,, pace white hot he def can figure.
      Star Turn has likely upside and may have improved. Impossible to dissmiss.
      Heatherly with her on pace style. Has she improved? Can she race within herself a little more and control the race.
      There are also many more chances in this tricky race and track.

      The great Dr Turf in his book wrote ” if you bet in a race where there’s more than five chances, at least halve your usual bet, it will pay off in the long run”

      I’m pretty sure Cam, when Oliver rode Terravista, got his whip caught under his saddle in the last 75 metres of the Lightening
      My best each way is Sabkhat r6 Eagle Farm.

      Good luck punters

    • February 17th 2017 @ 9:22am
      Peter Line said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      Hi Cameron,

      Nice preview. And nice pick last week with Tally getting 3rd, had a nice place winner there!

      Got any good roughies that you like or will be backing this week? Surely to be plenty of value around.

      I do like The Quarterback, it loves the Flemington straight.

    • Roar Rookie

      February 17th 2017 @ 9:39am
      JOHNY BULLDOG said | February 17th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

      Thank God Rawiller’s not riding Spieth again!I think Hughie wil get him home.

    • February 17th 2017 @ 5:44pm
      andrew said | February 17th 2017 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

      5 – rose ahead won her maiden well enough and then ran very well in a strong BM64 race at sand against the boys. Draws for a good run and blinkers go on, she is a promising filly and stable just starting to get a few winners of late. Moreso, I think a few of her key rivals are a risk with several first up and clockwork organe likely looking for further. The 10 is race fit, but im always happy to bet against hawkes horses in melb who continue to start under the odds. Rose ahead should be able to park in ideal spot and have the right fitness and fitness here.

      6 – lots of very exposed form here. my take on lining it up is. not much between chance to dance and big memory at caul. I’d lean big memory to turn tables (of a nose) with 1.5kgs weight swing and extra fitness given he was 2nd up that run. but not much between them. chance to dance and master of arts clashed at flem over 2000m prior, both were 3rd up, so it’s a reasonable comparison, both had every chance in the run, both are suited by the step up from the 2000m. there was 0.2 length between them. the weight swing in favour of master of arts is significant though being 4.5kgs. in race where there is not much between 1, 2 and on this exposed form, so you are looking for reasons, I think that is enough for me to elevate master of arts the pick of no’s 1, 2 and 3. I accept there are arguments big memory will be fitter and also chance to dance is progressive. But I think the improvement any of these trio might show is similar. Master of arts needs this longer trip. 4 runs for 3 wins and 2nd, beyond 2000m. he also takes a few runs each prep to find form (like many weir runners), this is his 5th run back, and his grounding of fitness is very good (as it is with chance to dance), but we know master of arts can sustain strong prep, as last prep, he didn’t win 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th runs in from a spell. His wins were 5th, 6th, 8th, and 9th (he ran 2nd at his 7th run) of the prep. im prepared to risk gais 3yo who is very poorly weighted for mine, and also prepared to risk sweet melody who is also very poorly weighted (add in the 2kgs for a mare). Im on master of arts, managed to get ew odds, think that is a safe play, in a race im looking forward to, as I think 1, 2 and 3 are all ‘group 2’ standard stayers.

      7- reckon there are just going or out of sorts type horses here, not winning, been up a long time, no improvement, etc…, so happy to have a split on two horses are fresh up. mr individual is a better class of horse than these and had a strong prep last winter into early spring. Has some weight, but rightly so in this field, draws for a cosy run and with right split may be just be too good. no issue with 1200m, will be strong late, his 3 x goes at 1200m are a win over fatinaah, and misses on soft tracks in G3 and G2 races. This is a BM78 or limited horses. The other fresh one is carpresse, who is more limited and in his right grade, but does go well fresh and secures a good run and has good valley form.

      8- with turbo miss whose 1st up run against the boys in a decent sat race was excellent, race was controlled from the front, she got shunted wide, and powered to the line really well. won 2nd up last prep (which was her first prep for weir) and then rolled through the grades up to her current rating. Still has scope to improve but she get a few kgs off some key rivals here and draws for ideal run this time (drew wide at caul and was 1st up). her valley runs last autumn behind labdien and thames court are well and truly enough to suggest a BM84 is within her grasp. Not sure she gets much more than 1200m either, so don’t think she will a weir horse you want to back 4th or 5th up when out to a mile.

      1 – id be risking pure pride. Get back horse, drawn gate 1, in a big field, with 60kgs and first up. they will need to ride for luck, or basically concede and just try and loop from last. she might do it, but not the scenario id jump in at $3. Ma jones put writing on wall last start after a poor 2nd up run, and gets down to 52kgs here and meets most of the same horses (bar pure pride). As stated prior, don’t mind the wide draws over the 1400m at flem, bar better to be in clear air and moving and building momentum when you want than bailed up and being reactionary.

      2 – complicated situation here. duke is short, very short, too short really, many rivals gain some fitness and 2kgs on him and he draws trickier after sweet run last time. the new boy wins 1 race each prep, and usually when he is left alone in front, this could well be that race. has been awfully unlucky with barriers, but pings straight to the front and can run them along on his own. But……..this likely good tempo, means duke prob finds a gap to slot in 4th or 5th. Sadaqa is the one who tags the new boy and his 1st up run was super and he has 2nd up form. im a bit torn here. but these are the 3 id take in the early quad, and with two of these being $9 and $15, it represents a scenario whereby a 3 box quinella is good option. as for my actual ‘win’ bet, this will be price dependant, but based on current odds, I wouldn’t back duke ($2), id take a punt the new boy ($9) can lead all.

      3 a policy decision I said I was going to introduce after I had a good win meleguarra on final carnival day was to not be in straight races. I didn’t do this. a truckload of roughies have won down the straight over summer. I’ll still have a token bet in some G1’s, but no more restricted grade punting for me down the straight.

      5 – extra olives is going well this summer scoring against older mares and running 2nd to them 3 runs back. Form from all her recent runs is good (braemar, private lounge, anatola – all recent winners). This is a rise in grade, but its her chance to strike, whilst several of the first up horses target bigger fish. She did of course beat nurse kitchen in the spring and meet its better for doing so, if anything, that proves the rate of improvement can be rapid, and we saw Egypt just miss in this race last coming off almost identical form (Williams also rode it), so don’t be too duped into thinking the spring form is panels above – we can only resolve that in retrospect.

      7 – if this race was over 2400m, id happily take $1.50 croc rock. Will get a lead via sweet melody tonight – not determinative though. I rekcon he will win, but think he will ease from current quote. Having a saver post d france, who has come back from a long spell and understandably took a while to find form. clearly not much between him and husrley. I thought hursely was a bit plain last start – its slowness led it to be unlucky. Id rather back post france at $13 than hursely at $6, put it that way.

      8 – Im a big supido fan and been itching for him to resume for a while. convinced he is a G1 horse in the making, just a matter of what race. efforts last autumn weights/times were super. Form from illustruious lad and black heart bart has held up very well. bart is a good barometer, and supido was a huge run in goodwood, when poorly weight against bart, and bart got an inside split saving ground. I’ll back supido, but keep following up regardless of result in subsequent runs, esp in a hcp (ie Newmarket), as WFA ideal, but we have seen several older horses emerge from hcp sprints to wfa sprints in recent times such as maelgurra and speith, so it indicates the void is there to do it, and im convinced supido has as much talent as that duo. But I concede, it’s a tough, and wide open race, and supido is far from a good thing, rather worth an ew ticket at $8

      9 – no firm view. Our century, adironiack and Gervais the key runners. Big gulf in the weights here with many around 60kgs, and then a few on 54kgs. tough race.

      1 – nasdex was poor first up, but won well 2nd up easily beating older horses including one who has since run well in BM78. Concedes some weight, but has speed to cross inside barrier and thus can lead or hand up and control the race.
      4 – optimize was outclassed last time, but drops in grade big time here. and this race has an awful long tail and not much good/recent form to speak of. His prior lead up form in shorter races was good, and the 2000m suits.
      9 – counter pulse was scr last week, he flies fresh, and likes to swoop, so big field and track (not the parks) suit. Forgive him failures last prep, which were all on wet ground . has this lot covered class wise if back to his old form (2l of fatinaah, 4th to wild rain, win over big effort). Very good value given this is a BM64.

      • Roar Rookie

        February 18th 2017 @ 9:38am
        JOHNY BULLDOG said | February 18th 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

        Give em strength Andrew-good luck mate.

      • February 18th 2017 @ 12:35pm
        Johnybulldog said | February 18th 2017 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

        Ma Jones was slaughtered!

    • Editor

      February 18th 2017 @ 6:19am
      Tristan Rayner said | February 18th 2017 @ 6:19am | ! Report

      The Lightning should be a cracker and hats off if you can select a winner. The 3YOs are classy but it’s hard to know how they return and I quite like Razzar’s use of Dr Turf notes.

      I saw Peter noted The Quarterback as fan of the straight – at $31 it’s tempting for a small play but certainly only small this early on.

    • Roar Rookie

      February 20th 2017 @ 9:11am
      JOHNY BULLDOG said | February 20th 2017 @ 9:11am | ! Report

      Can anyone give Spieth a decent ride?

      • February 20th 2017 @ 11:41am
        E-Meter said | February 20th 2017 @ 11:41am | ! Report

        Was asking myself the same question. Bryce Heys was fuming after the race.

        • Roar Rookie

          February 20th 2017 @ 3:09pm
          JOHNY BULLDOG said | February 20th 2017 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

          Yep-can’t blame him mate!

      • February 20th 2017 @ 9:12pm
        Razzar said | February 20th 2017 @ 9:12pm | ! Report

        Johny, Speith is a backmarker sprinter, issues arise when racing from that position. Unless they’re super special they’ll lose more often than they win.

        • Roar Rookie

          February 21st 2017 @ 9:16am
          JOHNY BULLDOG said | February 21st 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

          Yeah I know mate,it’s always a risk but there’s plenty of room down the Flemington straight & the last two rides have been shockers! ps:I am talking through my kick! 🙂

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