All the Black Caviar Lightning contenders

16 February 2024 Written by Michael Manley

The $1 million Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) down the famous Flemington straight is where equine stars battle for the coveted sprint crown. We take a look at the contenders for this year's edition.

Speed Map

The speed map plays in IMPERATRIZ’s favour as she takes on a field of horses that prefer to take a sit then sprint home. As a result Opie Bosson can dictate the pace from the front on Imperatriz. BELLA NIPOTINA should stalk her throughout. I AM UNSTOPPABLE fresh and THE ASTROLOGIST will also push forward. If the pressure went on early it could play into the hands of PRIVATE EYE who has the right barrier draw to finish over the top of his rivals.


History says...

Three-year-olds have a great record in this race having won it 23 times including the past two runnings. The past two winners contested the Coolmore Stud Stakes and that’s the race both I AM UNSTOPPABLE and CYLINDER had their last starts in. Chris Waller trained the winner in 2021 (Nature Strip) and 2022 (Home Affairs). In the ten editions since Black Caviar won in 2013, only one favourite has won – Chautauqua in 2016.


4:15pm - Race 8 - BLACK CAVIAR LIGHTNING (1000m)

Prizemoney: $1,000,000 - Group 1 - Weight-For-Age

  # Form Horse (Barrier) Trainer Jockey (Weight)

1 x 1 3 2 x PRIVATE EYE (8) Joe Pride Blake Shinn (58.5kg)

2 2 5 x 9 5 THE ASTROLOGIST (7) Leon & Troy Corstens Luke Currie (58.5kg)

3 3 3 1 5 x BELLA NIPOTINA (6) Ciaron Maher Craig Williams (56.5kg)

4 1 1 1 1 x IMPERATRIZ (2) Mark Walker Opie Bosson (56.5kg)

5 1 7 1 4 x ESPIONA (4) Chris Waller Michael Dee (56.5kg)

6 x 3 5 3 4 RICH FORTUNE (1) Jerome Hunter Mark Zahra (56.5kg)

7 1 3 5 0 x CYLINDER (5) James Cummings Damian Lane (55.5kg)

8 3 2 2 2 x I AM UNSTOPPABLE (3) Lloyd Kennewell & Lucy Yeomans Jamie Kah (55.5kg)
Trainer: Joe Pride
Private Eye

Private Eye

Six-year-old Gelding 

Career: 30:11-2-3

Prizemoney: $10,236,190

Flemington form highlights: 1st 2022 Gilgai Stakes, 4th 2023 Newmarket Handicap.

Joe Pride said a month ago that he was keen to challenge Imperatriz first-up in the Black Caviar Lightning with Private Eye. It’s no surprise, as Private Eye loves the Flemington straight and has won four of eight, first-up. Last campaign Pride kept him sprinting and he had three starts for a win, a second and a third in Sydney. Pride knows what it takes to win Australia’s feature 1000m sprint, winning it previously in 2017 with Terravista.

Trainer: Mark Walker


Five-year-old Mare

Career: 23: 17-2-1

Prizemoney: $5,362,299

Flemington highlights: 1st 2023 VRC Sprint Classic

This superstar sprinter dominated the Melbourne spring, triumphing in all four of her starts. Her winning streak included three Group 1s made up of The Valley’s sprints, including the Moir and Manikato Stakes. Her stellar campaign culminated in a victorious run at the VRC Sprint Classic, where she faced a challenge from Buenos Noches. To date she has won her last five starts and eight of her last nine, with her only loss a second in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes. While she didn’t shine in a recent Cranbourne trial, her connections are not concerned, stating that she typically saves her best for race day.

Trainer: Ciaron Maher
Bella Nipotina

Bella Nipotina

Six-year-old Mare

Career: 43: 7-9-11

Prizemoney: $7,999,125

Flemington highlights: 3rd 2023 VRC Black Caviar Lightning; 3rd 2021 VRC Sprint Classic

Under-rated sprinting mare who has been a mainstay in the top-level sprints for the past three years. She’s had numerous placings at Group 1 level with one win. In this race last year she finished third to her stablemate Coolangatta and I Wish I Win. She trialled well recently at Cranbourne and is ready for another great campaign.

Trainer: Lloyd Kennewell and Lucy Yeomans
I Am Unstoppable

I Am Unstoppable

Three-year-old Colt

Career: 6: 2-3-1

Prizemoney: $598,600

Flemington highlights: 2nd 2023 Coolmore Stud Stakes, 2nd 2023 Danehill Stakes

He's an exciting colt aiming to maintain the streak of three-year-olds winning this race after winning the Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) before tackling the Black Caviar Lightning first-up. Two years ago Home Affairs completed the double and last year Coolangatta followed her fifth in the Coolmore with a win in this race. I Am Unstoppable may also have won the Coolmore as he was held-up at the 300m-mark before he finished powerfully for second to Ozzmosis. He looked sharp in a recent Cranbourne jump-out.

Trainer: James Cummings


Three-year-old Colt

Career: 11:4-3-1

Prizemoney: $2,771,740

Flemington highlights:  One start for 13th in the Coolmore Stud Stakes.

Another top-class three-year-old colt. Forget about his effort in the Coolmore Stud Stakes, as it was the end of a long and successful spring campaign that had netted Group 2 and Group 3 wins as well as a fifth in The Everest behind Think About It. James Cummings was pleased with his last jump-out at Flemington, and will be keen to get his name on the honour board in a race where his legendary grandfather Bart boasted seven wins.

Trainer: Chris Waller


Five-year-old Mare 

Career: 18:7-2-1

Prizemoney: $2.293,215

Flemington highlights: 1st 2021 Desirable Stakes, 4th 2023 VRC Sprint Classic

Chris Waller is looking for his third win in the Black Caviar Lightning following victories with Nature Strip in 2021 and Home Affairs in 2022. This gifted enigmatic mare has a liking for the Melbourne direction and she demonstrated this with her last start, running fifth in the VRC Sprint Classic. She wasn’t extended in her jump-out at Flemington where she trailed Cylinder and The Astrologist.

Trainers: Leon & Troy Corstens

The Astrologist

Seven-year-old Gelding 

Career: 41: 8-6-8

Prizemoney: $2,690,464

Flemington highlights: 1st 2021 Aurie’s Star Handicap; 2nd 2022 Newmarket Handicap; 3rd 2021 Bobbie Lewis Stakes; 2022 Standish Handicap.

Globe-trotting sprinter who should be ready to fire after his two runs back from a spell. Last year he finished second in the Group 1 Al Quoz Stakes at Meydan before embarking on an English campaign where he had three starts and didn’t disgrace himself which included a fifth in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. If he can find his best form he won’t be far away.


Trainer: Jerome Hunter
Rich Fortune

Rich Fortune

Five-year-old Mare 

Career: 9:2-3-1

Prizemoney: $275,740

Flemington form: 3rd 2023 Kensington Stakes

Group 3-winning mare trained by Jerome Hunter who has a great winning strike rate as a trainer. Her two straight runs have been sound, but this is obviously a big step up for her. Good run last start at Geelong in a Benchmark 84 when she finished fourth with a big weight but this is a significant test for her.