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2023 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes Runner By Runner Preview, Odds & Tips

There will be plenty of speed to burn at Flemington on Saturday, when some of the country’s best sprinters step out in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes.

Held over 1000m down the straight, the weight-for-age contest will see the return of the worlds highest rated sprinter and winner of this race in 2021, Nature Strip, and VRC Classic winner Roch ’n’ Horse.

The Maher/ Eustace stable has a strong hand in the race and will saddle up speed machines, Bella Nipotina, Marabi and Coolangatta, in what should be a mouthwatering contest.

As he so often does, Nature Strip heads the betting and is currently $2.05 with Dabble. There’s a big jump to Coolangatta, who is on the next line at $6.50 and the rest are headed by Marabi at $8.50.

However, we know anything can happen in horse racing and the Flemington straight can throw up an odd result from time to time. So, we have dissected each of the horses’ chances for you and provided our horse racing tips! Read on below to find our runner by runner preview of the 2023 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes along with The Shark’s best tips. 

1. Nature Strip (1) – $2.05F
Jockey – James McDonald 58.5kg
Trainer – Chris Waller

Rising nine-year-old who won this race in 2021 and is still racing at the peak of his powers. Missed the start and had plenty go against him in this race last year, when finishing a narrow second to stablemate Home Affairs. Has looked good in a couple of recent hit outs, including a jump out down the straight and McDonald comes south for the ride. Will run his own race from the inside draw and is clearly the one to beat.

2. I Wish I Win (4) – $12
Jockey – Luke Nolen 58.5kg
Trainer – Peter G Moody

Former Kiwi who burst onto the Australian racing scene with a dominant victory at Caulfield in August last year. He then went on to win at Listed level and take out the $10m Golden Eagle. He resumes here at a trip short of his best, but looked sharp in a recent trial behind Coolangatta and Giga Kick. Quality galloper who deserves respect.

3. Baller (8) – $17
Jockey – Mark Zahra 58.5kg
Trainer – Tony Gollan

First up last prep beat Roch ‘N’ Horse in the G2 Bobbie Lewis before minor placings in the Gilgai and VRC Classic. Clearly has a liking for the Flemington straight and recent form ties in well for this. His Doomben trial win on Tuesday suggests he is ready to fire fresh and he simply cannot be overlooked.

4. Fire (3) – $71
Jockey – Damien Oliver 58.5kg
Trainer – Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes

Overdid it first up with 59kg and subsequently found one better. Finished a solid second to Chain Of Fire his only go down the straight and has shown enough promise to have a crack at a race like this. Will need a career best to finish in the money but is a capable type and Oli sticks.

5. Bella Nipotina (7) – $12
Jockey – Ben Melham 56.5kg
Trainer – Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

Joined the G1 club last prep when she demolished a smart field in the Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley. Yet to win here at Flemington from five goes but is G1 placed. Looked very good in a recent Cranbourne trial and expect a bold showing first up here.

6. Roch ‘N’ Horse (2) – $12
Jockey – Jamie Mott 56.5kg
Trainer – Michael Moroney

Resumes here after causing a boilover in the G1 VRC Classic in the Spring. That was her second G1 victory down the Flemington straight and her only other two runs here resulted in two seconds at G2 level. The 1000m first up may be a tad short for her liking but was impressed with the way she attacked the line in a recent jump out behind Nature Strip. Mott will no doubt stalk the favourite from the low draw and give this mare the last crack. Don’t discount.

7. September Run (6) – $26
Jockey – Blake Shinn 56.5kg
Trainer – Chris Waller

Runner up in this race in 2021 behind Nature Strip. Failed to fire in two runs in the Spring, albeit both on wet ground, and her trials leading into this have been just sound. Positive is she’s a three time winner down the straight and Blake Shinn is riding well, but others look to have her measure in this.

8. Marabi (5) – $8.50
Jockey – Ben Allen 56.5kg
Trainer – Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

Speedy filly who resumes here off a long break. Tasted her first defeat at start number eight last prep in the G1 William Reid. Form prior was faultless. Two recent jump outs have been pleasing but willing to risk her here off such a long layoff, in what will be a high pressure affair.

9. Buenos Noches (11) – $14
Jockey – Craig Newitt 55.5kg
Trainer – Matthew Smith

Lightly raced three-year-old who was G1 placed last start in the Coolmore Stud Stakes behind In Secret. Won the Poseidon Stakes here down the straight before running Giga Kick to a whisker. Another who has been given a couple of solid hit outs at the trials and looks ready to fire first up. One of the main players.

10. Millane (10) – $51
Jockey – Daniel Stackhouse 55.5kg
Trainer – Peter G Moody

Won his first start here at Flemington over this trip in good style but hasn’t been sighted in the winners stall since. Should be fit and ready to go after three jump outs, given a good pipe opener in the latest, but may lack the class and turn of foot needed to topple some of these.

11. Coolangatta (9) – $6.50
Jockey – Jamie Kah 53.5kg
Trainer – Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

Won the G1 Moir Stakes last prep over the five furlongs, beating Bella Nipotina, before having her only go up the straight in the Coolmore Stud Stakes, where she wasn’t disgraced. Has plenty of tactical speed and has trialled up super for this. This is her pet trip and with no weight on her back under the weight-for-age conditions, looks one of the main dangers to Nature Strip.

Final Word

Despite the short quote on offer about Nature Strip, this year’s Black Caviar Lightning Stakes looks a relatively even contest on paper. A number of horses have similar form lines and have beaten one and other on different occasions, suggesting whoever gets the best run in the race could come out on top.

Yes it’s only 1000m and a solid tempo is pretty standard, but there looks an abundance of early pressure and the three-year-old Buenos Noches looks a good each-way bet. He has great form down the straight, his best effort running Giga Kick to a nostril.

He’s drawn the widest of the eleven runners which looks ideal as jockey Craig Williams can stalk the speed and have the last crack. His trials have been good and he looks to have come back a bigger and stronger galloper.

Nature Strip has to be considered the main danger. The rising nine-year-old has looked sharp in his trials leading up to this and McDonald takes the ride. He will jump and run from the inside gate and take plenty of catching. Much of the same can be said about Coolangatta. She’s a G1 winner over 1000m and will be in the race for a long way with 53.5kg on her back.

Former Kiwi, Roch ‘N’ Horse, is a dual G1 winner down the straight and should be right in the mix, as should the Queenslander, Baller. Both might just find the five furlongs a bit sharp. It may also pay to keep an eye on Golden Eagle winner, I Wish I Win. This is definitely short of his best trip, but could well be going in the Blackbook off the back of this run.

As stated above, willing to risk Marabi who resumes here off a long spell. Despite some good recent trials, there’s nothing like race fitness and this high pressure affair may well bring her unstuck first up.

Best Black Caviar Lightning Stakes TipLogo

9. Buenos Noches – Each-way ($14/$3.50)

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*Odds correct at time of writing, courtesy of Dabble.

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2022 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes Runner By Runner Preview, Odds & Tips

The $1m Black Caviar Lightning Stakes, is the second Group 1 of the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival. It is also the first leg of the Autumn Sprint Series Triple Crown, which also features the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield, and the G1 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington. 

The 1000m scamper, formerly known simply as the Lightning Stakes, is now named in honour of champion mare Black Caviar, who won the race three years on the hop from 2011-2013. 

Since it’s first running in 1955, some absolute stars of the turf have been crowned victor of the sprint feature, a list far too great to name names. This year’s race has brought together a small but strong 9 horse field, most of which are resuming from a spell and looking to kickstart their preparation on the right foot.

Looking at the market, Sportsbet has the world’s highest rated sprinter on turf Nature Strip favourite at $2.70, ahead of Joe Pride’s war horse Eduardo at $4.20. Exciting 3YOs Home Affairs and Profiteer are both well respected, as is the Hawkes trained Masked Crusader, who rounds out those under double figures.

However, we know with horse racing that anything can happen and the Flemington straight can be a tricky punting assignment at the best of times. So, we have dissected each of the horses’ chances for you! Read on below to find our runner by runner preview of the 2022 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes along with The Shark’s best tips.

1. Nature Strip (6) – $2.70F
Jockey – Jamie Kah 58.5kg
Trainer – Chris Waller

Star sprinter who won this race first up last year and resumes here off a 15 weeks spell. Last prep he led them up before winning by a space in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes at Randwick. He was then rolled by Eduardo in The Shorts before making amends and winning the $14m Everest and the Group 1 VRC Classic here at Flemington. He’s a horse who possesses a high cruising speed and makes his own luck. His trials suggest he is in for another successful campaign and will be looking to add to his $16m in prize money here. Will look the winner for a long way.

2. Eduardo (5) – $4.20
Jockey – Nash Rawiller 58.5kg
Trainer – Joseph Pride

Iron horse who resumes here off a 16 weeks spell. Kicked off his prep in fine style last time in, defeating Nature Strip fair and square in the Group 2 Shorts at Randwick. He then finished a gallant 3rd in The Everest before proving far too strong for his rivals in the $1m Classique Legend Stakes at Rosehill. Although he is an 8YO, he seems to be improving each prep and trainer Joe Pride has worked wonders with him. His trials in preparation for this have been faultless and Nash maintains the ride here. His Flemington record is the only query when looking at his form, but he raced there under his previous trainer and in my opinion is a different horse heading into this assignment. He will be in it for a long way and I’m sure will be out to spoil Nature Strip’s party once again.

3. Masked Crusader (3) – $9.00
Jockey – Jye McNeil 58.5kg
Trainer – Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes

Immensely talented galloper resuming here from a 16 week spell. Not only does he wear the same colours as Chautauqua, he also has the electric turn of foot he had. His first up win last prep in The Heath at Caulfield had to be seen to be believed, as did his fast finishing 2nd in The Everest, where he reeled off some stunning late sectionals. He’s a horse who needs a strong tempo up front and there is no doubt he will get that here, but whether or not he can run down the likes of Nature Strip and Eduardo over 5 furlongs is another thing. His jump outs leading into this have been very good and if he can settle close enough to the leaders, he will be the one closing hard the last 100m. Each way claims.

4. Gytrash (2) – $12
Jockey – Mark Zahra 58.5kg
Trainer – Gordon Richards & Damien Moyle

Winner of this race in 2020 defeating Nature Strip, who resumes here off a 16 week spell. Ran a big race first up last prep where he arguably should’ve beaten Eduardo and Nature Strip in The Shorts. His two runs to follow were below par, where he finished down the track in The Everest and the Classique Legend Stakes. His record at Flemington, and over 1000m speaks for itself and there is no doubt he is a horse with tremendous ability, but the worrying factor for me is he hasn’t won a race since a knee chip was removed in November 2020. His trial leading into this was fair at best for a Group 1 sprinter and I’m happy to go around him here.

5. The Inferno (4) – $23
Jockey – Damian Lane 58.5kg
Trainer – Cliff Brown

Ex-Singapore superstar who resumes here off an 18 week spell. Wasn’t disgraced in last year’s Everest where he got back from the outside gate and held his ground. Prior to that was victorious in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes before sprouting wings late and just missing in the Group 1 Moir Stakes, both over 1000m at Moonee Valley. He’s a horse with good all-round stats, but in saying that has never seen the Flemington straight. I don’t think it will be an issue for him, but he is a get back run on horse like Masked Crusader and will need to keep in touch early. He got a long way back in his recent trial before hitting the line hard and will be looking to finish off the race in the same fashion here.

6. The Astrologist (1) – $41
Jockey – John Allen 58.5kg
Trainer – Leon & Troy Corstens

Honest sprinter who resumed in the Group 3 Standish Hcp at Flemington over 1200m, where he finished 3rd to Halvorsen. Has had a freshen up and drops back to the 1000m here. Most of his best form is over the 12/1400m and it’s fair to say he might lack a bit of class in this grade of race. He is the lone horse of the field who has some race fitness on his side and is capable of giving some cheek, but couldn’t fill out a ticket with his name on it. 

7. Swats That (9) – $46
Jockey – Damien Oliver 56.5kg
Trainer – Leon & Troy Corstens

Talented mare resuming here from a 15 week spell. Ran well in this race last year when finishing 3rd to Nature Strip. Her form last prep was a bit up and down, with the highlight being a distant 2nd in the Group 1 VRC Classic behind that same horse – Nature Strip. She does race well here at Flemington and has jumped out well. Would be a surprise to see her cross the line in front, but she is capable of running into a place if she brings her A game. 

8. Home Affairs (8) – $6.00
Jockey – James McDonald 55.5kg
Trainer – Chris Waller

Group 1 winning colt resuming here from a 16 week spell. Relished the Flemington straight last prep when he blew his rivals away in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes. Prior to that he did finish down the track behind the likes of Nature Strip, Masked Crusader and Eduardo in The Everest. Interestingly, James McDonald has chosen to stick with him over favourite Nature Strip. One could only think this is because he is a lightly raced 3YO and a lucrative stud deal could be looming in the shadows making him a more attractive option. With that said, I don’t believe he has a better chance in this race than Nature Strip. Yes, he will be bigger and stronger than he was in last year’s Everest, and is proven down the straight, but the simple fact is he’s racing the big boys now and is untried over the 1000m. His trials leading into this have been good and he should get a nice run just behind the leaders. Can he run them down and elevate his worth at stud? Time will only tell. 

9. Profiteer (7) – $8.00
Jockey – Brett Prebble 55.5kg
Trainer – Mick Price & Michael Kent Jr

Another 3YO colt resuming here off a 16 week spell. Has had two goes down the straight at Flemington and won with a leg in the air, running good time on both occasions. In saying that he’s in the same boat as Home Affairs, in the fact that he is racing the elites of the sprinting ranks now. His jump outs and trial have looked ultra-impressive, and he looks primed to put in a career best first up here. Whether or not he can match it with the old boys is yet to be seen but over the 1000m here, I feel he has a better chance of doing so than Home Affairs.

Final Word

This year’s Lightning Stakes is a race filled with mystery and intrigue. Can the new kids on the block dethrone the title holders of the Australian sprinting ranks? Or will the old timers show them how it’s done. It’s hard to knock the form Nature Strip and Eduardo bring to the races here. With over $21m in prizemoney between them, they deserve to be at the top of the market in this field. 

With only 9 starters, one would think the field will race in one cluster, but as seen time and time again with straight racing, the jockeys may have other ideas. The race looks to be filled with early speed, as you’d expect, so tactics will play a key role. 

Both Nature Strip and Eduardo are speed machines but are also capable of taking a sit, whilst both 3YOs also have plenty of early toe and could easily find themselves in front settling down. If the likes of Masked Crusader and The Inferno can stay in touch early, it’d be no shock to see either of them in the winners stall. 

With all that said and done, I’m sticking with the favourite Nature Strip. The winner of 19 from 34, he is a horse who certainly knows where the winning post is. His recent trials/jump outs have been as good as ever and he is looking to become a back-to-back winner of this race, after taking out last year’s edition. 

There has been much talk about the jockey change, with James McDonald riding Home Affairs. I believe there is nothing lost with the engagement of Jamie Kah. She is a well balanced rider with soft hands, and has a 100% strike rate on the horse after winning this race on him 12 months ago. She will let him travel in his comfort zone and I have no doubt he will look the winner for a very long way, hopefully all the way!

Best Black Caviar Lightning Stakes Tip: 1. Nature Strip – Win ($2.70)

If you need more news, information and tips, head over to our 2022 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes page for all your punting needs!

*Odds correct at time of writing, courtesy of Sportsbet.