Thoroughbred Racing Action in late December and January
Major thoroughbred racing is at an ebb at this time of year. There are a few Group level races between now and the end of the year, but the marquee horses are taking some time away to freshen their legs and get ready for the autumn racing to come in February and beyond in the coming year.
December is not so scant as January, however; one of the final attractions of the year, so far as New South Wales racing is concerned, is the Group 3 Summer Cup (2000 m) at Royal Randwick. It is run under open handicap rules and the distance is the intriguing prospect that is a stretch for the milers and a question of whether the stayers can get fully wound by the time the finish line looms.
The Summer Cup was won by Red Excitement last year and Super Impose won some years back, but it is mainly the locals running in the race. For the truly racing obsessed, or even the more casual racing fan, the Summer Cup might be a pleasurable Boxing Day excursion.
The other December race worth of look is the Group 2 C B Cox Stakes (2100 m) at Ascot on December 23. It is the last weight-for-age race of the year. Punters may see it listed as the Ted Van Heemst Stakes, as it has become known since 2016.
The C B Cox Stakes is considered the lead-up for the Perth Cup. A C B Cox Stakes/Perth Cup double is not uncommon. The double has been filled six times since 1988 and there have been place getters, so punters looking for an edge in form will be paying attention.
We mentioned earlier that January is a slow month, but that is only partially true and mainly applicable to the states of Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia.
A quick glance at the bookmakers’ websites reveals that January will feature one of the most anticipated racing events of the year, when Gold Coast holds its magic Millions meeting.