Sensations & Champions - History of the Caulfield Stakes a WFA classic
The Caulfield Stakes is one of the major weight for age races of the spring and was first run in 1886. That year the versatile champion Malua though seven years of age was expected to add his name to the winners. In the run to the post Malua was on the inside where the ground was chopped up as Isonomy drew alongside. The challenger crowded Malua against the rail and put his jockey at a disadvantage not being able to use the whip. By the line Isonomy was ¾ of a length in front with The Nun close up in third. Malua failed under the huge weight of 68kg in the Melbourne Cup then stood at stud for a short season. Amongst his few foals the following spring was the Melbourne Cup winner Malvolio.
Only three years later a legend of the turf lined up with fans expecting the 4yo Carbine to continue on his winning way of the previous autumn. Carbine had suffered a split heel which was to trouble him throughout his career and in the race was easily run down by Dreadought who went on to win the Derby and prove a worthy adversary for the great stallion but could only fill the placings behind him in future clashes.
One of the greatest mares to race in Australia Wakeful has her name featured twice in the winners list of this event. Wakeful was bred at St Albans stud and purchased at a dispersal sale in 1900 as an unraced 4yo by Leslie MacDonald. She was trained by Hugh Munro (father of Darby Munro) and debuted with a second at Caulfield after overcoming lameness that had kept her from racing as a younger horse. She was spelled after an unplaced run then returned in the Oakleigh Plate in the autumn. Carrying 42kg she raced away from the huge field to win by four lengths. Penalised for the Newmarket she carried 47kg in the straight race but again was a clear winner. She was then sent to Sydney for the Doncaster and with 46kg she again won with ease and in record time. Two days later she was favourite for the Sydney Cup but couldn’t hold out the more seasoned San Fran and Australian Colours.
As a 5yo she was aimed at the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups. First up in the Caulfield Stakes she annihilated the opposition winning by six lengths from Hymettus with five lengths to Australian Colours third. A week later she was sent out favourite for the Caulfield cup but in a hard fought finish Hymettus got the bob in on the line to win from the game mare with two lengths to Flagship third. Wakeful then won the Melbourne Stakes from San Fran before running fifth in the Melbourne Cup. After a second in the Flying Stakes two days later she was spelled for the autumn. First up she won the St George Stakes with 56kg before running second in the Futurity with 63kg. She then won the Essendon Stakes was second to Carbine’s outstanding daughter in La Carabine in the Champion Stakes over 3 miles then won the All Aged Stakes before finishing the Melbourne carnival with a third in the Loch Plate. Heading to Sydney she won all four of her races on the four days of carnival week being the Autumn Stakes, Sydney Cup, All Aged Stakes and AJC Plate.
Returning in the spring Wakeful started with three unbeaten runs in Sydney winning the Spring Stakes, Craven Plate and Randwick Plate the main weight for age races of the carnival before heading to Melbourne. In the October Stakes where she suffered a shock defeat but atoned next start in winning the Caulfield Stakes from Abundance then continued taking the Eclipse Stakes and Melbourne Stakes. In the Melbourne Cup she had been given 65.5kg but was scratched from the race running second in the Flying Stakes then winning the CB Fisher Plate. A spell followed before Wakeful returned with a second in the St George Stakes then a win in the St Heiler Stakes. She was third in the Futurity again carrying 63kg then won Essendon Stakes and Champion Stakes. Wakeful then pulled up in a distressed condition after running second in the All Aged Stakes and her Sydney campaign was scrapped with the mare going for a spell.
She returned for one more Melbourne Cup campaign. After placings in the Spring Stakes, Craven Plate and Randwick Plate the 7yo mare then won the October Stakes. Wakeful was then unplaced in the Caulfield Stakes but then won the Eclipse Stakes and Melbourne Stakes before lining up in the Melbourne Cup with 63.5kg. A huge crowd was in attendance for what was her final start. She hit the front by the 200m but Lord Cardigan carrying 41.5kg was starting to finish hard. He challenged and Wakeful fought back but the huge difference in weight took its toll as Lord Cardigan drew ahead to win by ¾ of a length from Wakeful with Seaport third.
At stud Wakeful was a success producing the Melbourne Cup winner Night Watch plus Oakleigh Plate winner Blairgour, and Baverstock who went on to be a handy sire.
The next dual winner was Artillerie in 1909 and 1910 but it was Eurythmic who captured the imagination of the racing public during his career which included three Caulfield Stakes victories in 1920, 21 and 1922.
Eurythmic is the best horse to emerge from the racing in Western Australia but he was bred in NSW and offered at the 1918 yearling sales. He was purchased by Ernest Lee Steere and trained in his early years by J Kelly. At 2 Eurythmic won 3 of his 6 starts and then improved as a 3yo to win 7 of 8 including the Perth Cup dead heating with Rivose in race record time before winning the weight for age CB Cox Stakes and Osborne Stakes the latter in course record time.
As a spring 4yo he was sent to the east and the stables of Jack Holt. First up he raced away with the Memsie Stakes then the October Stakes followed by the Caulfield Stakes which put him the hot favourite for the Caulfield Cup. He did not disappoint fans or punters as he became the first horse to win the Caulfield Stakes-Cup double winning the Cup by 1 ½ lengths. Eurythmic then won the Melbourne Stakes but was fourth in the Melbourne Cup before returning to his best form in the CB Fisher Plate. In the autumn he raced three times in a week to record three wins in the Essendon Stakes, Governor’s Plate and King’ Plate before heading to Sydney. In three starts he impressive all winning the Autumn Stakes by three lengths before taking out the Sydney Cup with 61kg and Cumberland Stakes.
The following season he returned with a second straight win in the Memsie Stakes then was beaten a nose in the October Stakes by Tangalooma before winning the Caulfield Stakes, Herbert Power Hcp and Melbourne Stakes. In the Melbourne Cup he was assigned 65.5kg the same weight Carbine had carried to victory 30 years before. Problems arose at the start as a barrier strand broke off in his mouth and trailed behind him for some distance as Eurythmic dropped back through the field. Once free he started to weave through the field but Eurythmic had an odd action with one front leg swinging outwards as he ran. Travelling at full speed he clipped another runner and nearly fell before being pulled out of the race trailing the field past the post after suffering a strained fetlock joint. In the autumn he resumed with a win in the St George Stakes before defeating Wish Wynne with 66.5kg in the Futurity Stakes. He won the CM Lloyd Stakes from his remaining four starts for the autumn.
In the spring the 6yo Eurythmic came back with a third successive win in the Memsie Stakes and then won the Caulfield Stakes in race record time. He was placed in the Herbert Power Stakes and Melbourne Stakes before spelling for the autumn. He ran four close seconds including under 66.5kg in the Futurity Stakes before retiring to stud. He stood in Victoria for his first season then moved to Western Australia but died before the end of the spring. He was found to have an enlarged heart which was put down to heart strain from trying so hard on the track. Eurythmic’s skeleton was mounted and was placed on display in the WA museum where it was still a exhibit in the 1980s.
The wonderful mare Tranquil Star started in five straight Caulfield Stakes in the 1940’s. In 1941 she ran second to Lucrative as High Caste ran third before running second in the Cox Plate to champion Beau Vite. In 1942 she defeated True Flight in a hard fought victory before then going on to win the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate plus the Mackinnon Stakes in four successive runs. As a 6yo in 1943 she was beaten narrowly by Amana while Lawrence was too good in 1944. Tranquil Star gained revenge on Lawrence in the Cox Plate but the following spring he was too good again at Caulfield for the 8yo mare taking his second successive win in the race.
In 1950 there was a sensation when Playboy won the race narrowly but victory was awarded to the champion Comic Court after interference in the final stages. Comic Court then went on that spring to win the Melbourne Stakes and Melbourne Cup returning in the autumn to win the William Reid Stakes in course record time first up.
The King of Caulfield Lord was the next horse to dominate the race. Lord was owned by W Kemball and trained by K Hilton and was a member of the same crop that produced Tulloch and Todman. Lord won 3 of his 5 2yo starts before showing indifferent form as a spring 3yo before winning 3 of his last 4 starts for the season. As a 4yo Lord came into his own winning the St Aubin Hcp, Liston Stakes, Memsie Stakes, Underwood Stakes and Caulfield Stakes where he defeated Prince Darius all at Caulfield before running second in the Mackinnon Stakes to Monte Carlo. In the Autumn Lord defeated Wiggle and Prince Darius in the Orr Stakes before winning the St George Stakes and Futurity Stakes with 66kg where he defeated Skyline. At his first Sydney start Caesar had his measure in the Chipping Norton Stakes but he returned to form to race away with the All Aged Stakes before a spell.
In the spring he ran second to Gay Saba in the Liston Stakes before turning the tables to win the Memsie Stakes. Trellios inflicted a narrow defeat in the Underwood Stakes before Lord defeated Sir Blink to win his second straight Caulfield Stakes. After a 5th to Noholme in the Linlithgow he went for a spell. Lord returned to win the Orr Stakes then the St George Stakes before heading to the Futurity where his rivals included Todman. Lord carried 66.5kg to Todman’s 64.5kg and the difference was too great as the champion sprinter outsped the opposition winning by a length from Gay Port with Lord third. Lord then stepped out in the Queens Plate at Flemington. This was the race that Tulloch was to return in after nearly two years away from the racetracks. Well into the straight and it was a two horse war as Tulloch and Lord went stride for stride as both horses stretched to their limit. On the post the camera showed Tulloch the victor by a nose from Lord with a gap back to Mac in third place. Yet another hard fought finish was ahead for Lord as Dhaulagiri, Nilarco and Lord fought out the Queen Elizabeth Stakes with Nilarco judged the winner by a nose from Dhaulagiri with a further nose to Lord in third.
The following season Lord won the Memsie and Underwood Stakes before attempting to join Eurythmic as the only winners of the Caulfield Stakes three times. Lord was sent out odds on favourite but on the line the judge couldn’t separate Lord and Dhaulagiri declaring a dead heat. Lord was then a close second to Tulloch in the Mackinnon Stakes before having a break for autumn. In a vintage season Lord was second to Dhaulagiri with Tulloch third in the St George Stakes before running second to Sky High in the Futurity carrying 66.5kg to the winner’s 60.5kg. Lord finally took out a big race winning the Queen’s Plate from Dhaulagiri and Tulloch while Dhaulagiri again took the honours from Lord and Tulloch in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Lord returned as a 7yo in the spring of 1961 where he won the Memsie Stakes and Craiglee Stakes, the latter from the new star Aquanita, before being unplaced as favourite in the Underwod Stakes. In the autumn he won both the Queen’s Plate and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Age started to catch up with Lord at 8 as he ran a string of placings in the big events but couldn’t break through until the end of the season in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. It was his final win he was retired after a handful of starts in the spring as a 9yo. Lord lived until the mid 80s.
In 1961 and 1962 Sky High added his name to the dual winners of the race. Sky High won the Breeders Stakes as a spring 2yo and added the Golden Slipper to his record in the autumn. At three he won the VRC Derby then went to Melbourne in the autumn to win the Lightning Stakes Futurity and CM Lloyd Stakes before returning to Sydney and taking out the All Aged Stakes. As a 4yo he won the Epsom Hcp Caulfield Stakes and Mackinnon Stakes before being unplaced in the Melbourne Cup. Resuming he won his second Lightning Hcp second CM Lloyd Stakes then went to Sydney and added the Chipping Norton and Rawson Stakes to his imposing record. In 1962 Sky High won the Canterbury Stakes, Warwick Stakes, Hill Stakes and Daily & Sunday Telegraph Stakes before a fifth in the Epsom with 64.5kg. Sent to Melbourne he won a second Caulfield Stakes (where Lord was third) before running second to Aquanita in the Mackinnon then winning the Linlithgow Stakes. In the autumn he won the Rawson Stakes and Autumn Stakes taking his number of wins to 29. He as retired to stud and later sold to stand at Clairborne Stud in America siring the champion Autobiography before dying relatively young at 16.
Winfreux won three successive Caulfield Stakes from 1965 to 1967. After winning the Stradbroke and Doomben 10,000 plus a second in the Doomben Cup as a 3yo Winfreux won the first of his Caulfield Stakes defeating Future and Light Fingers before running second in the Cox Plate behind Star Affair. The following winter he returned to Queensland to win the Doomben Cup then stayed in training to win the Barnes Stakes before defeating Light Fingers to win his second Caulfield Stakes and again run second in the Cox Plate this time to Tobin Bronze. As a 6yo Winfreux won the Hill Stakes, and Craven Plate on his way back to Melbourne after another successful Queensland campaign. He continued his winning streak defeating Craftsman in the Caulfield Stakes and then won the Mackinnon. In the autumn he won the William Reid Stakes before adding the CF Orr Stakes, St George Stakes and Queen’s Plate to his victories. As a 7yo he won the Liston Stakes and Freeway Stakes before being unplaced in the Craiglee and Caulfield Stakes. He missed the rest of the season and after a handful of starts at 8 and 9 years was retired.
In 1970 the Caulfield Stakes produced another dead heat as Arctic Symbol and Gay Poss split the line with Sundale third. Only 5 years later it happened again when Zambari and Guest Star went to the line together. Zambari protested against Guest Star and the third dead heat in 15 years stood.
There was further sensation in 1980 when Kingston Town was expected to take out the Caulfield Stakes with ease but old stager Hyperno upstaged the black champion. Kingston Town showed his true form two weeks later taking out the Cox Plate. Despite injury keeping him out until the following spring Kingston town returned in form defeating Sovereign Red and Hyperno in the Caulfield Stakes then winning the Cox Plate for the second year. In 1982 he repeated the feat despite his leg problems he defeated Deb’s Mate and Allez Bijou before winning a historic third Cox Plate then running a magnificent second in the Melbourne Cup. Taken to Perth he won what is now known as the Fruit n Veg stakes before injury ended his career.
After Bonecrusher dominated the spring of 1986 winning the Underwood Stakes and Caulfield Stakes on his way to victory in the Cox Plate it was thought Rubiton would follow suit. After amazing wins in the Manikato, Memsie, Feehan and Underwood it was thought the Caulfield Stakes was a mere formality but the day before a light workout turned into a hard gallop and in the Caulfield Stakes racegoers were amazed to see the brown stallion wilt as Drought and Fair Sir passed the post in front of him. Rubiton returned to form to win the Cox Plate despite slipping on the turn and Mackinnon before a career ending tendon injury the following January.
In 1990 Super Impose was coming off a stunning Epsom victory and was expected to show he was the best horse n the country by going on in the big weight for age races. Fate however intervened as Sydeston held out his hard finish. Super Impose was then found to have blood in his nostrils after he race. He was deemed a bleeder and banned for 3 months despite his connections requesting further investigation thinking that he may have hit his head during the race. The ban stood and Super Impose was spelled til the autumn where he came back to win a third big mile race despite controversy over his lack lustre run the week before. The following spring Super Impose showed his greatness in winning a fourth big Randwick mile in the Epsom a feat never achieved before and again was expected to continue in this form in Melbourne. However in the Caulfield Stakes despite racing past Sydeston Shaftesbury Avenue raced past them both to win the 1991 edition of the race. Shaftesbury Avenue was then well fancied for the Cox Plate but struggled to handle the tight course at Moonee Valley almost falling at one point with Surfer’s Paradise winning from Super Impose with Sydeston third and Shaftesbury Avenue found to have injured himself in running.
In 1993 Naturalism burst between the brothers The Phantom and The Phantom Chance to win in wet conditions while a year later Rough Habit was too good for Jeune and Paris Lane who went on to win the Melbourne Cup and Caulfield Cup respectively. In 1996 Octagonal was expected to win again after powering home in the Underwood Stakes but Juggler was too good and soon became favourite for the Cox Plate. In the Cox Plate though Saintly was too good while Juggler was 4th and Octagonal 5th.
In 1997 Filante was too good for Alfa and then went on to run second for the second year running in the Cox Plate while in 1998 Might and power was too good for a small field winning as he liked before repeating the dose a fortnight later in the Cox Plate. Northern Drake defeated Tie The Knot in 1999 while in 2000 Sky Heights won impressively from Tie The Knot and Shogun Lodge but the minor placings were later reversed due to a protest being upheld. 2001 saw Northerly defeat Shogun Lodge and Ethereal before Northerly went on to take the Cox Plate in a controversial finish and Ethereal storm home to win the Melbourne Cup.
Last year was a standout as Lonhro joined an elite group of Caulfield Guineas winners to return and take out the Caulfield Stakes at four. The race itself looked a match race on paper between the 7yo Champion Sunline and 4yo ‘heir apparent’ Lonhro. Sunline took the lead from the start as Lonhro settled in third place. Turning for home Sunline kicked clear and was going strongly as Lonhro balanced to start his charge down the outside. With 50m to go the mare was fighting back but Lonhro overhauled just before the line. The atmosphere was electric as everyone on course appreciated the outstanding effort by both horses. Lonhro’s connections commented that it should have been a dead heat. Sunline had a last run in the Cox Plate before retirement finishing fourth while Lonhro was 6th both running below their best it was argued that maybe the courageous Caulfield Stakes run flattened them. Lonhro backed up for a grinding win in the Mackinnon before blitzing a string of weight for age fields in Sydney ending with victory in the AJC Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
This year Lonhro is back trying to emulate Lawrence in the 1940s as the second horse to win the Guineas then two Caulfield Stakes as a 4 and 5yo while a small but select field of weight for age stayers try to score an upset result.
|The photos included in this report and others from the raceday are available for sale. Please contact Jenny Barnes for further details.|
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