Black Caviar: Fast as Lightning

15 February 2023 Written by Racing & Sports

Wonder mare Black Caviar started her career at Flemington over 1000m, sent around as the 2-1 favourite in a two-year-old open event, winning by 5 lengths and announcing herself as a star of the future.

Never defeated from 25 starts, she would win eight of those down the Flemington straight and four over the 1000m including three Lightning Stakes, which is now aptly named the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes.

There isn’t a better race to be named after her, for we have never seen a faster horse over the Flemington 1000m. Her track record time of 55.42 in the 2013 Lightning Stakes is some 4.5 lengths faster than the third fastest time (the mare occupying first and second), held by six-time Group 1 winner Testa Rossa.

With over a third of her perfect quarter century of wins coming at Flemington, it’s no surprise to see that her best win, according to Racing And Sports, also came in the race named after her.

Interestingly it wasn’t her fastest win that would be her highest rated. In both Lightning Stakes wins she would defeat her sparring partner Hay List, but her 2012 victory over he and other world-class sprinters Buffering and Foxwedge was Black Caviar at her absolute best.

Dropping back from her only attempt at 1400m one week before, her rating of 136 would comfortably topple superstar Nature Strip, who is aiming to win his second Lightning Stakes on Saturday.

One of the factors that allowed her to be so fast was her stride length, which has been measured at a massive 8.42 metres. Theoretically at her top speed, she’d be covering a furlong in under 24 strides.

Being able to cover more ground per stride while still maintaining a well above average stride frequency, she could travel on the bridle at speeds that other horses would need to be under immense pressure to achieve.

We’ve seen in recent years as technology has developed that horses have been able to hit well over 70 km/h in races, but only for very short periods of time.

Black Caviar could be at her top for much longer, which allowed her to be the first horse in Australian history to break 10 seconds for a 200m split. That 9.98 sectional, between the 600-400m did occur in her 2012 Lightning Stakes win.

Fittingly, the world’s best ever sprinter, and the fastest at Flemington’s top speed came in her peak performance, at her favourite track, in the race now named after her- the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes.

Don't miss out on your chance to witness history as the world's best sprinter takes on all challengers in the world's best sprint race at Flemington on Saturday 18 February. Find out more and book your tickets to Black Caviar Lightning Race Day.