Quality handicap running conditions covering 2,000 metres of Randwick Turf, the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes is a test for three-year-old fillies during the autumn racing season.
The New Zealand filly Arts took the top prize of $110,000 from the total of $200,000 with an effort that resulted in a lengthy win.
Adrian Knox Stakes Race Details
Race Distance: 2000m
Prize Money: $300,000
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When Is The Adrian Knox Stakes: 6/4/24
What Time Is The Adrian Knox Stakes: TBA
Where Is The Adrian Knox Stakes: Randwick Racecourse
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More Details About The Adrian Knox Stakes
Her five jumps as of August 2023 have resulted in one other win at Kembla Grange, which was followed by a disastrous stone motherless when she jumped a fortnight later in the Group 3 Kembla Grange Classic.
A respectable fifth in the Group 1 ATC Oaks revealed some promise, but that promise proved ephemeral next jump, when she was again last in the Group 1 Australasian Oaks at Morphettville.
Winners of the race are granted exemption from balloting for the Group 1 Australian Oaks, which for 2023 came a week subsequent to the Adrian Knox Stakes. It worked out somewhat for Arts, with the ballot exemption resulting in a fifth place in the Oaks.
Often when we see races granting a ballot exemption to a better race, we pay little heed to how it worked out for the exempted gallopers because the exemption offers an advantage in fees but not in the racing.
In the case of the Adrian Knox Stakes and the ATC Oaks
, there is intrigue in the Oaks following the Knox by just one week and in the fact that the trips for the races present a stern challenge for young fillies.
Yet, a remarkable number have won both races, enough to suggest that there have been jumps in other years with more time intervening between, something about which we do not care to speculate or determine.
Fourteen fillies have taken both races and the names of Leilani (1974) and Light Fingers (1965) show the sort of ability required to win both races on a quick turnaround.
The first of these was Edelweiss (1954), followed by Sabah (1955), June Hero (1964), Lowland (1968), Starzaan (1983), Our Sophia (1985), Circles Of Gold (1995), Republic Lass (2002), Wild Iris (2004), Rena’s Lady (2007), Royal Descent (2013) and Colette (2020).
The Adrian Know Stakes is one of four Group 3 races that jumps at the major autumn Randwick meeting that is headlined by four Group 1 races, each of which offers a minimum of $1 million in prize money, with the $3 million Doncaster Handicap offering the richest reward.
History of the Adrian Knox Stakes
The race first jumped in 1948 and was known as the Princess Handicap, while the ATC Oaks was at that time the AJC Adrian Knox Oaks/Stakes from 1922 through 1956.
Adrian Knox was a Second Chief Justice of Australia and as a chairman for the Australian Jockey Club. We have seen race names change and we have seen race grade promoted and demoted, but this is the first instance we can recall where a namesake was demoted by having the better race renamed and receiving a lessor one in return.
Knox was well and truly dead before any of this happened. The current race changed from the Princess Handicap to the Adrian Knox Stakes in 1987.
The race began life as a 1400-metre race before moving to 1600 metres in 1960 and 2000 metres in 1973.
Group 3 status was conferred in 1986 after jumping as Listed from 1980 – 1985 from a grade of Principal from inception through 1979.
Venue for the Adrian Knox Stakes
The Adrian Knox Stakes has called Randwick Racecourse in Sydney home since 1948.
Randwick has been racing since 1833, predating Flemington by seven years. In terms of Group grade races, Randwick is the top course with 20 Group 1, 18 Group 2 and 11 Group 3 races.
It also enjoys the bragging rights to the richest race in Australia, The Everest, where $15 million in prize money is on the line.
Two thousand metre races at Randwick jump from the turn out of the home straight. Inside barriers are an advantage, since the first 450 metres is a turn. Next is the back straight, followed by a short turn onto a short straight before the home turn brings the racers onto the straight for the kick to the finish.
Racing History of the Adrian Knox Stakes
We intend to examine all the Adrian Knox Stakes winners that have gone on to win the Oaks because that is quite the accomplishment.
Fillies to Win the Adrian Knox/Oaks Double
The earliest of these, Edelweiss, followed the next year by Sabah in 1955, won the Oaks when it was a 2000 metre race, requiring a jump of 600 metres from the Adrian Knox trip of the time.
The rest, beginning with Jane Hero in 1964, raced 2400 metres in the Oaks over a course of years that saw the Adrian Knox Stakes swell from 1400 to 2000 metres.
For a minor winner of a minor race, not much remains by way of a racing record for Edelweiss. The same is true with regard to her major win in a major race. Her stud output was seven foals, all fillies, with mostly anonymous sires, with the exception of the 1963 filly Swiss Flowers by Wilkes.
Winner of both the Knox and the Oaks in 1955, Sabah was a predominantly northern hemisphere horse, with good lines connecting to Hyperion and Gainsborough of Great Britain.
We know little about her other than the two wins.
Her stud output was seven fillies and two colts, one of which was the multiple Group 1 winning Royal Sovereign.
Nine more jumps of the Knox would transpire before Jane Hero won, and then took first in the Group 1 Oaks. Like the first to win both races, Jane Hero did not leave much history.
Jane Hero supplied five named foals, one of which won nine races from 21 jumps.
Light Fingers from 1965 was of a special class.
It would be simple to credit the lines included with having Frances’ Le Filou for sire, but the New Zealand dam Cuddlesome had ties to Hyperion and Gainsborough, so there was some of the speed.
Unplaced just five time from 33 jumps for 15 wins and 23 placings, Light Fingers raced when that sort of success equaled a bit above $100,000 in earnings, despite winning the 1965 Melbourne Cup and a raft of other major races that landed her in the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.
As a breeder, Light Fingers had little impact, but it is often the case that the progeny to top performers does not equal the racing prowess of a parent.
Three years later, in 1968, Lowland filled the double.
She had lines not dissimilar from those of other winners, but this New Zealand filly won the Sydney Cup and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes before those races were graded Group 1.
We have her form as 34 jumps for 10 wins and 9 placings, although that line did not come with a dollar figure.
How good was Lowland, a name that does not hold much familiarity for us?
She beat Roman Consul and Rain Lover in the 1969 Queen Elizabeth. It was Rain Lover and Galilee bowing to her in the 1968 Group 2 Craiglee Stakes, while the 1969 Underwood Stakes saw Rain Lover once again in arrears.
Our answer to our own question is that Lowland was not simply good, but truly and sincerely great as well.
We did not find a progeny record for Lowland.
The 1974 winner of the double was Leilani, one of the top mares in Australian racing history.
In the pattern of Light Fingers, Leilani raised the ante by finishing with just two unplaced results from 28 jumps for 14 wins and 12 placings. She won 6 major races in 1974, the Caulfield Cup amongst them.
She lined up for the 1974 Melbourne Cup looking to fill the Cups double, but Think Big was thinking other thoughts and relegated Leilani to second place.
She was the Australian Champion Racehorse of the Year in 1975 and was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2016.
Yet another example of good racers being desultory breeders, Leilani had just two named foals to her credit.
Starzaan was the next filly to earn an Oaks/Adrian Knox double in 1983.
A New Zealander by way of her dam Bellota, Starzaan was all Europe on her sire Zamazaan’s side. She was a modest racer other than the reality that she did something that the likes of Leilani and Light Fingers did.
One undistinguished filly was all we found for offspring.
It was just until 1985 when Our Sophia became the eighth filly to win the Oaks and the Knox.
Another Kiwi, Our Sophia made 42 jumps for five wins and nine placings for winnings of $730,000 NZD. She ran second to Tristarc in the 1985 Caulfield Cup, and third to Mr. Lomondy with At Talaq second, but we would be inclined to say that when she went up against the best types of her era, she did not rise to the occasion as desired.
She was limited to one foal, so her racing record will have to serve for Our Sophia.
It would not be until 1995 when the double was filled by Circles Of Gold.
She was a solid racing mare that won almost $1 million from 43 jumps for 6 wins and 13 placings. She was by Marscay, with grandsire Biscay supplying the connection to the uber-sire Star Kingdom.
Circles Of Gold raced alongside the likes of Octagonal. She beat Filante in the Group 3 Coongy Handicap in 1996 and Northwood Plume was behind her in the Group 1 Oaks. She was second to Artic Scent in the 1996 Caulfield Cup. A jump in the 1996 Melbourne Cup saw her in 14th, eight lengths behind Saintly.
She was mother to 12 foals, three fillies and nine colts. Danehill served as sire for the 2000 colt Elvstroem that won almost $6 million. Fusaichi Pegasus was the sire for the 2003 colt Haradasun that won over $2.7 million.
If we were to award some sort of prize to the filly with the best racing and breeding history, it would go to Circles Of Gold.
Republic Lass won both races in 2002.
She was by Canny Lad from a U.S. dam. Her form line of 23 jumps for six wins and seven placings supplied a prize money return of $1.5 million. Her most impressive win in our view came in 2003, when she took the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes from Northerly, although Northerly returned the favour and Republic Lass could not get on the winning side of Lonhro.
After racing, she supplied nine foals, including one by the aforementioned Lonhro, a 2011 colt named The Conglomerate that won extensively after being exported to South Africa.
Next comes Wild Iris in 2004.
Outside the Oaks/Knox double, she won just one other race, an ungraded handicap at Canterbury in 2004.
Rena’s Lady comes next in 2007.
Like Wild Iris, she won just one other race to go with the Oaks and the Knox, a Class 3 at Warwick Farm in 2006.
Rena's Lady made 29 jumps for three wins and three placings for $515,000. Served by good sires such as Street Cry and Reset, she did not produce anything noteworthy.
Royal Descent was the winner of the double in 2013.
A daughter of Redoute’s Choice, her 31 jumps supplied 5 victories and 15 placings for earnings above $2.7 million. Her dam was New Zealand’s Mulan Princess.
She has foals from 2017 and 2018, but nothing of note.
The 2020 winner, Colette, won above $7.1 million from 25 jumps for eight wins and five placings. She had an additional win at Group 1 when she took the 2021 Empire Rose Stakes from Mustic Journey and Hungry Heart. When she won the Group 2 Apollo Stakes in 2021, she beat not only Kolding, but the Melbourne Cup winning Verry Elleegant as well.
She has been exported.
Since she is one of the better gallopers to win the Adrian Knox Stakes and the Group 1 ATC Australian Oaks, and the last in the series, we decided to include a video of her 2020 win.
Duais from 2021 is a good one.
She is still racing and to date has 26 jumps for seven wins and six placings for over $3 million. Two other Group 1 wins grace her racing resume. She won the 2021 Queensland Oaks and the 2022 Australian Cup. Her attempt to win the Oaks off the ballot exemption resulted in a second to Hungry Heart.
Good horses beaten by Duais include Think It Over and The Chosen One.
Duais is currently spelling after a third place run in a Group 2 weight-for-age at Eagle Farm.
Honeycreeper was an average type that won the Adrian Knox Stakes in 2022. Now retired, she made 23 jumps for three wins, seven placings and $326,000 in prize money.
The Adrian Knox Stakes has supplied some better winners and breeders than many of the Group 3 races we examine.
We used our entire allotment of space just on the sizeable group that won the Adrian Knox and took advantage of the ballot exemption to win the Group 1 Australian Oaks.
Adrian Knox Stakes Past Winners
|2012||Full Of Spirit|
|2005||Don't Tell Clang|
|1995||Circles Of Gold|
|1984||String Of Pearls|
|1977||Of Two Cities|
|1963||Fun For All|