World's fastest sprinters searching for Group 1 Flemington glory

15 February 2023 Written by VRC

Group 1 racing returns to Flemington for the first time this year with Black Caviar Lightning Race Day on Saturday 18 February.

The $1 million Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) is set to be a scintillating contest, with the world’s highest-rated Group 1 sprint race attracting a quality field including two-time Australian Horse of the Year, Nature Strip and star sprinters Roch ‘N’ Horse and Coolangatta.

The Racing

Champion jockey James McDonald is set to ride Nature Strip in the race that acts as a nod to champion mare Black Caviar, a three-time winner of the race in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Black Caviar Lightning Race Day presents an historic day for Australia as Flemington will host the first World Pool on any Australian race meeting. The World Pool will likely become the largest pool the country has seen and will increase international attention on the race day.

Other highlights on the card include the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) for colts and geldings and the Group 3 TAB Vanity Stakes (1400m) for the fillies. Boom colt Elliptical will take part in the CS Hayes Stakes as a warmup for the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on the opening day of the Flemington Racing Spectacular, Australian Guineas Day on Saturday 4 March.

The VRC will pay tribute to the late journalist and Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour ambassador Tony Bourke, with Race 5 being renamed the Tony Bourke Memorial in honour of his enormous contribution to racing. The influential media figure had a distinguished career for more than 40 years at The Age and covered numerous Melbourne Cup Carnival’s before retiring in 2008.

The Entertainment

3AW’s Ross Stevenson’s popular Love Letter to Racing event returns to The Peak featuring five special guests reading aloud their ‘Love Letter to Racing’. Speakers include three-time Olympic gold medallist Emily Seebohm, commentator Michael Felgate, racing expert John “Dr Turf” Rothfield, journalist and presenter Kate Watts and racing analyst Michael Sharkie.

Racegoers can spend the day enjoying the summer fun on the Flemington Front Lawn, which will feature live entertainment, food trucks and a pop up Pimm’s and croquet bar.

There will also be plenty of fun for kids, with a host of family friendly games lining the Front Lawn including face painting and lawn games.

For those looking for an elevated view of Flemington, the Furphy Deck is the place to be with expansive views overlooking the Winning Post. An all-inclusive package is available for racegoers which includes food, drink, private bar, seating and umbrellas. Tickets start at just $175.

Victoria Racing Club CEO Steve Rosich said the club was looking forward to the return of Group 1 racing to Flemington.

“The Black Caviar Lightning has cemented itself as the best Group 1 sprint race in the world and the support program is a strong pointer to the three Group 1 races at Flemington in March,” Mr Rosich said.

“The feature race on Saturday is a tribute to Black Caviar and how lucky we are that another champion in Nature Strip will be competing at Flemington, so I’d encourage racing fans to get to the track and see him in action.

“There’s also plenty of fun to be had off the track so whether you are a racing fanatic, a family looking to enjoy a day out or a group of friends wanting to catch up at the track, Black Caviar Lighting Race Day has something for everyone and the weather is set to be spectacular.”

Gates open at 10.35am with Race 1 at 12.35pm and the last race at 5.40pm.

The Living Legends

Living Legends Silent Witness and Good Ba Ba will be on-track for Black Caviar Lightning Race Day with racegoers able to visit the legends in the race day stalls or see them parade in the Mounting Yard between races 2 and 4.

The Tickets

General Admission tickets are $25 per person and more information on ticketing for Black Caviar Lightning can be found at Ticketmaster.

Black Caviar Lightning Day sets the scene for a bumper month of racing at Flemington in March with the new-look Flemington Racing Spectacular featuring Australian Guineas Day on Saturday 4 March, Super Saturday on Saturday 11 March and the TAB Australian Cup Day on Saturday 25 March.