Flemington

12 LIGHTNING LEGACY It wasn’t the first success the Hayes dynasty had in the famed race, however. In the mid-1970s when races such as the Golden Slipper were only slowly gathering momentum, trainers, owners and breeders would dream of having a two-year old capable of competing against the older and stronger sprinters. In 1976 Colin Hayes went where so many had failed by starting a rich black filly by Without Fear. Appropriately named Desirable, she became the pin-up filly of Australian racing. She didn’t let her fans down, becoming only the second youngster in the history of the race to win the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes. Under the weight-for-age conditions of the race, Desirable carried 43 kilograms to victory, under the ride of up-and-coming apprentice, Malcolm Johnston, narrowly edging out ‘The Professor’, Roy Higgins, on Leica Show. In 2010, the Hayes family struck again, this time with a sharp, well-bred colt, Nicconi. Out of blue-hen mare, Nicola Lass, he displayed a lightning turn of foot to come from the back of the field and get home over the top. Another superb Damien Oliver ride, claiming his fifth win in the race. Nicconi, with the win of star sprinter Nature Strip in 2021, joined past winners of the famous sprint in Zeditave (Sports-2001) and General Nediym (Regimental Gal-2004), to also sire a winner. “I don’t think anyone has done that in the last century or so,” said Hayes. “Nicconi could have gone on and won more Lightnings, but he had stud duties to attend to. We never doubted that he would produce a world class sprinter like Nature Strip.” Nature Strip would get the international achievement honours over his sire however, emphatically winning the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (1000m) at Royal Ascot in 2022, whereas Nicconi could only manage a fourth placing back in 2010, with champion jockey Frankie Dettori aboard. There was more to come from the Lindsay Park team, after taking on exEnglish and Hong Kong galloper, Redkirk Warrior. Bred to be a stayer, the giant striding import surprisingly won his first two race starts in the UK at 2000 metres before being sold to Hong Kong interests with an eye on the Hong Kong Derby. FOLLOWING IN HIS SIRES HOOF PRINTS: 2010 Lightning Stakes winner Nicconi (RIGHT) became the third winner of the race to also sire a winner of the Lightning Stakes, that being Nature Strip (LEFT) in 2021. (George Salpigtidis/Racing Photos)

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