LAST CALLWednesday 28, 2021 2:00 PM By Best Bets
Two-year-olds get a final chance at black type this Saturday in the Lightning Stakes at Morphettville, which pits the juveniles against the three-year-olds at weight-for-age.
Despite a five-kilo weight pull, the SA Lightning is no gimme for the youngsters, as recent results attest. The Price/Kent-trained filly Parlophone last year became only the second two-year-old to win it in the past 13 years.
And this Saturday’s field sees just two two-year-olds taking on 11 three-year-olds.
It wasn’t always this way. Two-year-olds won 13 of the first 16 runnings of the Lightning (1970-85), and two of the three three-year-olds who won it in that period had won it as juveniles the year before (Eastern Court in 1970-71 and Oenjay Star in 1979-80).
Three-year-olds have since caught up and hold a 28-23 advantage over the race’s 51-year history.
Parlophone hasn’t done much for the Lightning’s status as a form reference, finishing unplaced in five starts as a three-year-old this season, but the race does throw up the odd handy type.
2016 winner Viddora and 2018 winner Nature Strip have gone on to win eight Group 1s between them. Both won the Lightning as three-year-olds.
All told this season, there have been 72 Australian black-type races for two-year-olds (including those restricted to Magic Millions or Inglis graduates) and they’ve been well spread around.
There have been 58 individual winners, with Anamoe and Shaquero winning three apiece and 10 other juveniles winning two.
James Cummings/Godolphin has been the dominant stable with 12 wins. Chris Waller, not usually noted as a trainer of two-year-olds, is second with six wins, from Maher/Eustace (5) and Waterhouse/Bott (4).
The top jockey is James McDonald (9) from Damien Oliver (7), Tim Clark (4) and Jamie Kah (4).
Snitzel has sired eight individual juvenile stakes winners in 2020/21, Fastnet Rock four.