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A look at the Lightning Stakes

BLACK CAVIAR LIGHTNING STAKES

Group One. 1000m. Weight-for-age. Flemington. Saturday February 15

HISTORY

* First run in 1955. Group One since 1987

* Re-named the Black Caviar Lightning after the champion, and unbeaten, mare who won the race in 2011, 2012, 2013

* Other notable Winners: Todman (1960); Sky High (1961/62); Dual Choice (1971); Maybe Mahal (1977/78); River Rough (1984/85); Placid Ark (1987); Shaftesbury Avenue (1991); Schillaci (1992/93); Mahogany (1995/97); General Nediym (1998); Testa Rossa (2000); Choisir (2003); Fastnet Rock (2005); Takeover Target (2006); Apache Cat (2008); Nicconi (2010); Lankee Rupee (2015); Chautauqua (2016), Redkirk Warrior (2018)

* Leading Trainer: The late Bart Cummings holds the record with seven wins. Lee Freedman won six

* Leading Jockey: Damien Oliver holds the record with five wins. Does not have a ride for the second consecutive year

TALKING POINTS

* Black Caviar makes a special return to Flemington and will be paraded in the mounting yard before the race

* This year’s race has attracted a field of seven. Lankan Rupee (2015) and Chautauqua (2016) raced in fields of six

* Short-priced favourite Nature Strip will be attempting to extend his unblemished Flemington straight track record to five

* Nature Strip, Redzel, Despatch and Loving Gaby are the Group One winners in this year’s field

* Redzel finished second to Redkirk Warrior in 2018

* Of the seven jockeys riding in the race, Dwayne Dunn is only one to have won the race previously on Chautauqua in 2016, while a new winning trainer will be added to the honour roll

WHAT THE CONNECTIONS ARE SAYING:

“His asset is his speed and so is the favourite’s (Nature Strip). We’ll just try to stay in touch with him and hopefully the old bull comes out on top and can out-tough the young gun” – Redzel’s co-trainer Peter Snowden

“She’s a big, strong girl, athletic, and I loved her mannerisms. She was very relaxed. She was solid in her work. She didn’t win her gallop but I was happy with the way she worked” – Loving Gaby’s jockey Craig Williams

“It’s a small field, with quite a bit of quality, but he is a Group One winner and has earned a go at a race like this” – co-trainer Calvin McEvoy on Despatch

“I just want to see her working home and giving a good indication of what might come in the Newmarket” – Tofane’s trainer Mike Moroney

“Hopefully he doesn’t bomb the start and can stay in touch with them” – trainer Gordon Richards on Gytrash

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