Sprinters set to light up the Flemington straight in Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning

15 February 2024 Written by VRC

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) is preparing for the first Group 1 of the year at Flemington with Black Caviar Lightning Race Day kicking off the Flemington Racing Spectacular this Saturday 17 February.

The $1 million Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) is a new inclusion to the Flemington Racing Spectacular, with an elite group of sprinters set to light up the Flemington straight in the 70th running of the iconic race. The pride of New Zealand, Imperatriz is aiming to keep her unbeaten spring record intact and win her fourth straight Group 1 race. She will face a classy field featuring six other Group 1 winners or placegetters including Bella Nipotina and Private Eye.

Other feature races on the day include the Group 3 $200,000 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) and the $200,000 Group 3 The TAB Vanity (1400m) for three-year-olds which will provide a strong preview to the Group 1 Howden Australian Guineas (1600m) on Saturday 2 March with the winners receiving ballot exemption.

The day also plays host to the popular Love Letter to Racing event hosted by 3AW’s Ross Stevenson with guest speakers to read their letter describing what they love most about racing. This year’s speakers include UFC athlete Jack Jenkins, crime reporter John “Sly” Sylvester, Victorian Chamber of Commerce CEO Paul Guerra and Te Akau racing’s Karyn Fenton-Ellis.

The Flemington Fareground will make an exciting return to the leafy Elms area, at the west-end of the racecourse, with a resort-style vibe for all ages to enjoy. There will be free family-friendly entertainment all day including carnival-themed rides, face painting, pony rides, lawn games and live music.

Taking prime position will also be a specially designed roller rink by Rolla Bae which will see racegoers skate around to the sounds of disco tunes. Tailored exclusively for our youngest members in the Phar Lap Club Retreat, a retro beading station, arts and crafts, ball pit, a sensory station and free popcorn are all on offer.

The Fareground will also be a haven for food lovers with endless options including complimentary sparkling-tasting experiences plus the opportunity to purchase a cheese and charcuterie box as the perfect accompaniment. Entry into The Faregound is free and is included in your race day entry ticket.

The Furphy Beer Garden will be a space for eventgoers to sit-back and enjoy the racing action with seating in front of the Winning Post and for those wanting to secure their spot on the famous Flemington Front Lawn early, Mates Rates tables or a Picnic Pod include a reserved spot and a bucket of drinks on arrival.

The race day will also be the first event helping to raise funds for this year’s Pin & Win charity partner Ronald McDonald House Charities Victoria & Tasmania (RMHC VIC & TAS). All proceeds from ticket sales to the Love Letter to Racing event will be donated to the charity with racegoers also able to show their support via Ticketmaster and on-course donation boxes. The funds will go towards supporting families to stay at Ronald McDonald Houses, allowing them to stay close to their sick child during times of need.

VRC Chief Executive Steve Rosich said the club was looking forward to the start of the Flemington Racing Spectacular.

“The Black Caviar Lightning has cemented itself in the top Group 1 sprint races in the world and is a fitting way to kick off six-weeks of first class racing across the Flemington Racing Spectacular,” Mr Rosich said.

“There’s also plenty of fun to be had off the track in the Flemington Faregound.”

“Whether you are a family looking to enjoy a day out, a racing fanatic or a group of friends wanting to catch up at the track, Black Caviar Lightning Race Day has something for everyone.”

General Admission tickets are $30 with children under 12 are admitted free to Flemington.

The 2024 Flemington Racing Spectacular commences this weekend with Black Caviar Lightning Race Day and continues in March on Howden Australian Guineas Day on Saturday 2 March, Super Saturday on Saturday 9 March and concludes with TAB Australian Cup Day on Saturday 30 March.

Gates open at 11:00am with Race 1 at 12:15pm and the last race at 5:35pm.