Group 1 racing in 2010 is sizing up to be a sensational affair, with Australia’s first Group 1 feature, the Lightning Stakes (1000m) being held on Saturday January 30th at the famous Flemington racecourse.
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Worth a lucrative $500,000 the coveted sprint event is one of the highlights of the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival and is also the first leg of the prestigious Global Sprint Challenge. Many of Australia’s top-class sprinters have claimed victory in the Lightning Stakes, the honour role including Scenic Blast (2009), Apache Cat (2008) and Takeover Target (2006); and this year another champion field is already taking shape.
Early hopefuls looking to gain a start in the Lightning Stakes include Queensland sprint star Burdekin Blues, the Barry Baldwin-trained five-year-old aiming for his first Group 1 victory.
Other big names starting their preparations for the race include trainer Peter Moody who is likely to have multiple starters in the highlight autumn event including undefeated filly Black Caviar, BTC Cup victor Duporth, Wanted and Headway.
Another premier trainer with their sights set on Lightning Stakes glory is Gai Waterhouse, the successful Sydney trainer hoping to have Bank Robber prepared for the event.
Dual Group 1 winner All Silent is also being considered for the race, following the Grahame Begg-trained six-year-olds’ lacklustre performance in the Hong Kong Sprint.
Meanwhile an international flavour is set to spice up the Lightning Stakes, with Cannonball on the trail to become the first American-trained horse to compete in Australia when he leaves the Sandown Quarantine centre tomorrow. Cannonball is set to take residence at David Haye’s stable.
The Lightning Stakes is one of eight races on the Coolmore Lightning Stakes Day 2010, other feature events at the meeting include the Group 3 $150 000 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) and the Group 3 $150 000 The Mittys Vanity (1400m).
Nominations for the 2010 Lightning Stakes close at noon on Monday January 25.