Biggest Lightning crowd in ten years enjoy world class race day

22 February 2023 Written by VRC

Over 12,000 racegoers were at Flemington to watch the world’s highest rated Group 1 sprint on Black Caviar Lightning Race Day.

It was the highest Black Caviar Lightning Race Day attendance since 2013, the year that Black Caviar saluted the crowd for the last time at Flemington.

The Racing

Coolangatta took out the feature Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning against a cracking field of sprinters including the world’s top-rated sprinter in Nature Strip. The filly is now being touted as a possible Royal Ascot contender later this year, continuing the tradition of top-tier sprinters representing Australia on the world stage.

Interviewed on, VRC Executive General Manager of Racing Leigh Jordon said that after speaking with owner Ozzie Kheir and trainer Dave Eustace, he was confident that Coolangatta would go to Royal Ascot. “I think it’s great that our horses travel abroad, and it helps our industry. They can prove themselves on international soil in Group 1 races. It’s great.”

In the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes, Elliptical staked his claim on the upcoming Group 1 Australian Guineas with a close victory. This race has been a traditional pathway for next month’s $1 million classic and Elliptical, part-owned by AFL Premiership player Lachie Hunter (video below), is looking to follow in the hoofprints of some of the greats of the turf to collect the double, including Zabeel (1990), Mahogany (1994), and Alligator Blood (2020).

This year’s Australian Guineas looks set to be a compelling contest, with Elliptical expected to take on dual Group 1 winner Jacquinot amongst others.

Black Caviar Lightning Race Day saw 114 horses compete in nine races, representing an average field size of 12.67 runners. Nine individual trainers and five different riders tasted victory; Damian Lane led the way with a winning treble, while Blake Shinn and VRC Ambassador Jamie Kah each rode two winners on the day.

The World Pool

Black Caviar Race Day was an historic day with the first World Pool (video below) on any Australian meeting. Turnover exceeded expectations at more than AU$46 million, with AU$6.1million bet into the World Pool for the Group One Black Caviar Lightning. A highly successful first World Pool at Flemington.

The Community

3AW’s Ross Stevenson’s popular Love Letter to Racing event (video below) featured a host of special guests, including media identity Michael Felgate, racing expert John ‘Dr Turf’ Rothfield, journalist and presenter Kate Watts, and racing analyst Michael Sharkie sharing their passion for racing in front of a sold-out crowd, raising more than $14,000 for the VRC's 2023 Pin & Win partner Australian Childhood Foundation

Fundraising will continue on Australian Guineas Day with new charity partner Child and Racehorse Movement (CARM). CARM will come to life with a special activation in the Flemington Fareground which will provide a calm place for children to come and connect with miniature ponies throughout the day. CARM Ambassador Michelle Payne OAM – who has a special connection to Flemington as the first female jockey to win the Lexus Melbourne Cup – will also be on-course to participate in a Q&A session on the Flemington Fareground stage and available for a meet and greet session in The CARM Place, while CARM volunteers will be selling branded merchandise to raise vital funds. 

The flower arrangements from dining venues across the course on Black Caviar Lightning Day were sent to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, extending the benefits from the day to those in the community who are doing it tough and hopefully spreading a little joy. This will continue on Australian Guineas Day and throughout the Flemington Racing Spectacular.

The Flemington Racing Spectacular

The VRC looks forward to building on the success of Black Caviar Lightning Day with the 2023 Flemington Racing Spectacular. Racegoers will return to Flemington on Saturday 4 March for Australian Guineas Day with world-class racing, fashion, dining and entertainment across three sensational autumn days.

The headline race is the $1 million Group 1 Australian Guineas over 1600m. The three-year-old classic has earned its reputation as a breed-shaping race, with a number of prominent colts and leading fillies stamping their credentials in this race over its history. The undercard includes the $750,000 Inglis Sprint for three-year-old speedsters over 1200m, as well as the $300,000 Group 2 TAB Blamey Stakes over 1600m which offers ballot-exemption into the $5 million All-Star Mile.

With plenty of action both on and off the track, we look forward to welcoming you to Flemington!

Don't miss out on your chance to witness Australia's best three-year-olds at Flemington on Saturday 4 March for the time-honoured Group 1 Australian Guineas. Find out more and book your tickets to Australian Guineas Day. This is one race day on the calendar that you won’t want to miss.