The Group 3 Birthday Card Stakes is a 1200-metre sprint at Rosehill Racecourse during March under Quality Handicap conditions by mares and fillies aged three years and above.
Prizemoney for the race is $200,000 as of 2023, a nice boost from the 2022 prize pool of $160,000.
Birthday Card Stakes Race Details
Race Distance: 1200m
Prize Money: $200,000
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When Is The Birthday Card Stakes: 23/3/24
What Time Is The Birthday Card Stakes: TBA
Where Is The Birthday Card Stakes: Rosehill Racecourse
How To Live Stream The Birthday Card Stakes
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A good mare named Zapateo won the 2023 edition of the race. She is a Godolphin owned galloper trained by James Cummings that is spelling at present with a respectable form line of 18 jumps for seven wins and six placings and nearly $1 million in earnings.
Zapateo has a royal pedigree thanks to ancestors such as I Am Invincible, Bletchingly and Canny Lad on the side of sire Brazen Beau. Zapateo’s distaff lines back from dam Jerezana include Lonhro, Octagonal and Zabeel.
Winning the Birthday Card Stakes enriched Godolphin by $110,000 with an easy win by over a length better than Jal Lei. Zapateo jumped favourite for $4, so she enriched any punters who backed her.
More Details About The Birthday Card Stakes
The race is currently staged at Rosehill’s big autumn meeting that features four Group 1 races, three Group 3 and one Listed grade race. The marquee race on the day is the Golden Slipper Stakes. The other Group 1 races are the George Ryder Stakes, the Ranvet Stakes, The Galaxy and the Rosehill Guineas.
Anyone who for any reason could attend only one Rosehill meeting during the course of a year should make a point of attending this one.
The Birthday Card Stakes has undergone many changes over the years, changes to the trip, to the name and to the grade.
History of the Birthday Card Stakes
The race debuted in 1986, almost 10 years after the current Group classification system was put into play, so there was never any Principal race designation. The race was Listed grade through 2005 and it was lifted to Group 3 in 2006.
The race has gone by various names, all based around Birthday Card, with exceptions in 1992, when the race was the Clyde Kennedy Quality, 2006, when the race was called the Allied Express Stakes and the years 2007 and 2008, when the race was the Cleanevent Stakes.
The trip for the Birthday Card Stakes was the odd 1280 metres for the first two jumps. It was then abbreviated to 1100 metres until 1994, when the current trip of 1200 metres was established.
We assume the name Birthday Card Stakes was in honour of a 1959-foaled filly by Great Britain’s Edmundo. Edmundo’s lines include Hyperion and Gainsborough, two Pom names frequently associated with better racing types. Birthday Card’s dam was Magnificent Lady that was sired by Ajax with Heroic for grand damsire.
Birthday Card was a slightly better than handy racer of 32 jumps for nine wins and seven placings. She won the Golden Slipper Stakes and the Sandown Guineas in 1962. She finished second ahead of Wenona Girl in the Tramway Handicap, with Bogan Road the winner.
Venue for the Birthday Card Stakes
The race has had just two homes over the course of its existence. It was run at Canterbury Racecourse from the 1986 inception through 1996. It went to Rosehill for three jumps, and then returned to Canterbury for three more jumps. Since 2003, it has found a home at Rosehill.
Rosehill is Sydney’s second big metro racing venue, behind Royal Randwick.
Racing commenced at Rosehill in 1885.
These days, the track is host to about 25 meetings per year. There are nine Group 1, 13 Group 2 and 14 Group 3 races held there.
The most notable race is the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes, but a special conditions race called the Golden Eagle vies for attention with its $10 million prize pool for four year olds.
For a 1200-metre race, the barriers are placed at the end of a short chute that allows for a 400-metre back straight. They then navigate two bends on the east side of the course. From there, it is onto the 400-metre home straight to finish in front of the grandstands.
Racing History of the Birthday Card Stakes
To be objective, we have to say that a race such as the Birthday Card Stakes seems like a consolation race. This is not the sort of race that you might expect to see the name of Winx, Black Caviar or Wenona Girl on the list of winners.
For reasons about which we can only speculate, there has never been a filly or mare to win the race more than once. The owners and trainers with the better fillies and mares can find plenty of 1200-metre races that are more lucrative to the extent that a runner that finishes third in one of the prestigious races for female horses might earn more than the entire prize money pool of the Birthday Card Stakes.
The fact that the race is relatively new, though, informs that we will have good data by which to examine the winners’ list to look for fillies and mares that did well ahead of or after winning the Birthday Card Stakes. We will check the list for big earners, Group 1 winners and mares that made contributions to racing through breeding.
The first winner in 1986 was Kisim Hiat.
We discovered that it was not necessary to say anything further about her.
In 1987, a horse with the mundane name Special was the winner.
Special was better than we expected. Her 31 jumps supplied 10 wins and 11 placings – good for a bit above $1 million in prize money. Group 1 wins by Special were the Gadsden Stakes, the Lightning Stakes and the Newmarket Handicap. She beat Snippets to win the Group 1 Lightning Stakes and she was often placed when running against the better sorts, including Zeditave and Rancho Ruler.
She was productive as a broodmare, with seven colts and six fillies to her credit. None of her offspring was a great racer, but she carried on the blood of Rory’s Jester, Marscay and Flying Spur, to mention a few of the stallions that served her.
Mother Duck was the 1988 winner.
With races from this era, it surprised us not one whit to discover Star Kingdom in her lines courtesy of her sire, Luskin Star. On the side of dam Mission, we find Vain and Wilkes, so we would say that her race earnings of $260,000 were something of an underachievement. She never won above Group 3, just the Gimcrack Stakes, but some of her other wins, including the Birthday Card Stakes, were eventually raised in class.
Like Special, she also delivered 13 foals, with all the stakes winners under $100,000 in earnings.
Simple Tastes was winner in 1989.
She was a daughter of Bletchingly out of Gambola, so we have another Star Kingdom connection. As best we could determine, the Birthday Card Stakes was her sole major win, although we do point out that it would be many years before the race achieved Group 3 status. Despite her impressive pedigree, we found no progeny record for her.
A New Zealand mare by Ireland’s great sire Sir Tristam was the winner in 1990.
She was Deira and her other good win was the Group 3 Tranquil Star Stakes.
Of Deira’s five offspring, the best was Venom, by Marju. Venom raced in the Isles of Britain, where she won over one million pounds in the course of 77 jumps for 20 wins and 37 placings. All that racing limited her to two foals, with nothing notable.
The 1991 winner was one Settlers Cove by Luskin Star.
She made just 13 jumps for five wins and two placings, so she had excellent credentials when she got to the breeding sheds. Her best was a 1992 colt by Marscay that earned above $725,000 from his 51 jumps.
We have examined the early history of the race and now intend to begin skipping some of the winners that offer nothing worth noting.
The 1994 winner, Baldeen, was typical of the average quality winners of the Birthday Card Stakes. She had a successful breeding career, as all five of her offspring earned some money racing.
The 1995 winner was Light Up The World. She was an average racer, but she was served by the best stallions, including Danehill, Redoute’s Choice and Flying Spur. Two of her offspring earned above $200,000, so it could be said that she supplied a good return on the investment.
The 1997 winner was Unison.
She had her moment of glory when she beat Dane Ripper in the Sheraco Stakes in 1997. She earned $268,000 from 13 jumps for six wins and three placings. She was served by better stallions, but there were no big winners from her.
The 1999 winner, Toorak, made 18 jumps for five wins and three placings to earn $128,000. We can say with assurance that she is not the namesake of the Group 1 Toorak Handicap and she did not jump in the Toorak Handicap or any other Group 1 races.
Her foals, by sires such as Encosta De Lago, Rubiton, Redoute’s Choice and others, six in all, earned a little money racing and won a few races.
We finally found a good one in the 2001 winner, Spinning Hill.
She made 40 jumps for 14 wins and 14 placings and won almost $2.3 million. She won the Manikato Stakes twice and the Lightning Stakes once. She beat Falvelon to win the Schillaci Stakes in 2002 and Bomber Bill that same year to win the Schweppes Stakes, both Group 2 races.
Spinning Hill was a failure at stud, supplying just one filly in 2011.
She could easily be our “What was she doing in this race?”
The 2004 winner was Paraca.
We suppose she was what we could call handy, but what stood out was that she beat Super Elegant to win the 2004 Group 3 Honda Stakes.
The 2009 winner was Gamble Me.
She earned $469,000, not an impressive sum, but she did do it from just 22 jumps for six wins and five placings. As a breeder, she was graced by the likes of Medaglia D’ Oro, More Than Ready, U.S. Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, Street Cry and Lonhro, but Gamble Me did not give birth to anything significant.
The 2010 winner, Patronyme, beat better horses Beaded and Melito to win the Birthday Card Stakes.
The 2013 winner was Arinosa.
She made 36 jumps for nine wins and six placings to earn over $579,000 in prize money. She crossed ahead of Famous Seamus in the 2012 Group 2 Premier Stakes.
She supplied five named foals, but despite being served by All Too Hard, American Pharoah, Snitzel and Zoustar, none of Arinosa’s offspring accounted for much.
The 2014 winner, Avoid Lightning, made 29 jumps for 11 wins and 9 placings for earnings just under $1 million. She won the Lightning Stakes in 2012, but it was the SAJC version. She placed in two Group 1 races and she supplied five foals that left little impression on racing.
In 2015, Shamalia beat Mossfun to win the Birthday Card Stakes. Her 2019 filly by Sebring, Nanagui, won over $226,000 from five jumps.
Advantage by Fastnet Rock won in 2019.
We got a bit excited when we learned that she had won nine Group 1 races until we discovered that those Group 1 wins were in New Zealand. Not to cast aspersions on New Zealand racing, but a Group 1 race there, in our view, is roughly equivalent to a Listed grade race in Australia.
Emanate by Lonhro was the horse tips for the 2022 winner.
With an impressive pedigree including the likes of Octagonal and Zabeel, perhaps more would have been expected, but she has been exported than six wins and six placings from 20 jumps for $325,000 in prize money.
Most of the winners of the Birthday Card Stakes were good horses that produced average results. There were a few that had extensive racing resumes, but in most instances, the Birthday Card Stakes was their best win.
We found a couple Group 1 winners and some that placed in Group 1 races, but there were none of the quality presented by other mares and fillies of their respective eras.
Birthday Card Stakes Past Winners
|2003||Toast Of The Coast|
|1998||All The Rave|
|1995||Light Up The World|