Run on the same day as the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes and the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes the Apollo Stakes is generally considered a strong warm up race for Horses heading into their Autumn campaigns in Sydney.
Along with the Light Fingers the Apollo Stakes is the key race on the day in New South Wales.
History Of The Apollo Stakes
The inaugural running of the Apollo Stakes took place in 1977 where it was first run as a Principal Grade race at Randwick. Visit was the first ever winner of the Apollo Stakes and has gone on to have a rich history of high calibre fields since.
The Apollo Stakes has seen its home as Randwick since 2014 however previous editions of the race have been run in other areas of New South Wales previously.
From 1977 The Apollo Stakes were run at Randwick up until 1993 where it was run at Warwick Farm for 8 years. The race was then moved back to Randwick as part of scheduling before being moved to Rosehill in 2005. In 2014 the Apollo Stakes were once again moved back to Randwick where it has been run ever since.
Between 2007 and 2010 the Apollo was briefly known as the Winning Edge Presentations Classic after a brief sponsorship took place for 4 years.
The Apollo Stakes have always been seen as a high quality race and a great springboard for competitors to go on and tackle Group 1 races in March and April.
Many runners in the Apollo come via the Group 2 Expressway in the weeks prior and then once competing in The Apollo Stakes go on to tackle the Group 1 Chipping Norton stakes.
In 2015 lightly raced Godolphin runner Contributor was the first runner to complete the Chipping Norton - Apollo Stakes double and would be follow by only one other who completely dominated the race between 2016 - 19.
Winx won the Apollo Stakes - Chipping Norton double three times on the way to her great undefeated run.
Race Venue For The Group 2 Apollo Stakes
Royal Randwick hosted the inaugural running of the Apollo Stakes in 1977 before having stints away from Racing New South Wales HQ at Warwick Farm and Rosehill before returning to Randwick in 2014.
Horse racing has been taking place since 1833 at Randwick when the Governor of New South Wales allocated Crown Land to host horse racing. Up until then racing had been held in Sydney’s Hyde Park next to the city's CBD.
Along with the Apollo Stakes Royal Randwick plays host to some of the most prestigious racing in NSW with the likes of the Doncaster Mile Handicap, Epsom Handicap and AJC Oaks all being run at the Eastern Suburbs track.
In more recent years the Apollo has boosted is rating in the Randwick Racing Calendar given its position for horses to fine tune there runs before tackling the likes of the Chipping Norton, Queen Elizabeth Stakes or All Aged Stakes all held at HQ.
With the track located approximately 6 kilometres outside of the Sydney CBD and The Apollo Stakes taking place in February of each year Randwick is a great location to offer punters high quality black type racing without the hectic carnival crowds.
Racing History Of The Apollo Stakes
Comparing the near 50 year history of the Apollo to the near 200 year existence of Randwick the race seems a reasonably juvenile event on the racing calendar compared with something like the Donacster mile.
However the Apollo Stakes has seen its fair share of talent with the likes of Red Anchor, Juggler and Sunline all previously winning the 1400m weight for age contest. Lonhro was also a noticeable winner of the Apollo having won the 2003 edition of the race going on to win the Australia Cup the following year in emphatic fashion.
Without doubt the most famous name and three time winner of the Apollo Stakes has to be Winx.
The champion mare graced the championships and all the races in the build up drawing huge crowds on the way to completing three-peat after three-peat in the Apollo Stakes, Chipping Norton and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Between 2016 and 2019 Winx went on an unbeaten run of 33 consecutive races including 25 Group 1 titles. Winx won the Apollo stakes 3 times in 16,17 and 19 defeating the likes of Hartnell, Happy Clapper and Egg Tart along the way.
Winx won her final Apollo Stakes and 30th consecutive victory in 2019 before going on to win the Chipping Norton for a fourth time, the George Ryder for a fourth time and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes for a third time.
Winx retired after her third Queen Elizabeth with a total of $26.4 million in prize money and a 3 time champion of the Apollo Stakes. A race she had used as a platform to launch nearly every Autumn campaign during her imperious 4 year reign.
The Apollo Stakes might not be the biggest or most eye-catching of group races on the horse racing calendar however it is a significant one for runners hoping to launch a strong Autumn campaign.
As a tune up race the Apollo draws in high quality fields and gives punters a great indicator of how their horse is going in the lead up to the big group ones across the coming months in Sydney.
Trainers have so many options off the back of the Apollo Stakes because of the 1400m distance that they can look to the Chipping Norton, Doncaster Mile or more recently All Star Mile in Melbourne as a next step for their runners.
Not the biggest but definitely a race to pay attention to if you’re looking for form lines into the Autumn. The Apollo Stakes deserves recognition and deserves to headline on the same day as the Black Caviar Lightning is held at Flemington.
|Year||Apollo Stakes Winners|
|2008||Racing To Win|