The Group 3 Canonbury Stakes is a sprint race, currently 1100 metres, for two-year-old colts and geldings that is currently run in late January or early February under the auspices of the Australian Turf Club.
It was run at Randwick in 2020 and is supposedly going to go to Rosehill in 2021 and beyond.
It offers $160,000 in prize money and is run under set weight plus penalty conditions.
It is run alongside the Widden Stakes, which is the same race except restricted to fillies.
That same Rosehill meeting also offers the Group 2 Expressway Stakes.
History of the Canonbury Stakes
The race was first run in 1930. The name is derived from a house built in 1911 in nearby Darling Point. The Australian Jockey Club bought the property in 1919 and put it to use as a convalescent facility for Australian servicemen returning from the First World War
From its first running in 1930 until 2007, the race was open to horses of either gender, but it was not held in 2007 due to the equine influenza outbreak that sorely influenced Sydney Thoroughbred racing.
The Canonbury Stakes also skipped the year 1942 due to World War II.
It was run in divisions in 1958 and1974.
The Canonbury Stakes has shifted trips several times over the course of its history, but only by 100 metres, or as they would have said back before metrification, half a furlong.
It was 1000 metres from 1973 through 2003, went to 1100 metres for three editions from 2004 – 2006, went back to 1000 m for 2008 and has been 1100 metres from 2009.
The race was originally classified as a Principal race, moved to Listed status in 1979 and was lifted to Group 3 in 2015.
Race Venue for the Canonbury Stakes
It would appear that the event has found a permanent home at Rosehill, which is located about 20 kilometres northwest of Sydney CBD, in an area often referred to as Greater Western Sydney.
One nifty feature of Rosehill is the non-symmetrically shaped oval that features both broad, sweeping turns, and tighter turns.
Racing History of the Canonbury Stakes
The Canonbury Stakes serves as a lead up for the more prestigious juvenile events that come later in the season.
Few of the winners, however, accomplished much beyond winning the race.
The 2020 winner was Prague. Prague won his first race at Canterbury Racecourse in January of 2020 and immediately backed with the Canonbury win. After finishing sixth in the Group 2 Skyline, he won the Group 3 Pago Pago, and then made a strong case for his future with a second to Farnan in the Group 1 Sires Produce at Randwick. He has not won since.
Vancouver won the race in 2015, and then went on to win the Golden Slipper Stakes.
The first significant horse we see in the winners’ circle was Sebring in 2008. Sebring won the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes and the Group 1 AJC Sires Produce Stakes and came within a nose of winning the Group 1 Champagne Stakes that went to Samantha Miss. His true potential was never known, as he died sometime after a Randwick trial in 2009.
Not A Single Doubt was the 2003 winner. He was retired in 2005 after winning the Group 3 Zeditave Stakes. He stood at Arrowfield Stud up until 2020, when he was retired due to pulmonary disease. His biggest contribution was as a stallion that sired 70 stakes winners, including 14 Group 1 race victories. Some of his notable progeny include Farnan, Shout The Bar, Extreme Choice, Single Gaze and Scales Of Justice.
Shogun Lodge won in 1998 in his very first race. He would win 12 more times. His first Group 1 win was the 1999 George Main Stakes, and then the Group 1 Epson Handicap in 2000. His biggest win might have been the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
From Shogun Lodge, we travel back all the way to find Fine And Dandy winning in 1958. He filled the Canonbury/Golden Slipper double and won 13 other races and he placed 14 times from 45 starts.
Far and away the most notable winner was 1956’s Tulloch. Among a slew of major races, he won the Cox Plate in 1960 and the Caulfield Cup in 1957, during a year when, judging by the number of big races he won, he must have been two, possibly three horses.
Tulloch’s 1960 Cox Plate win came after missing almost two years of racing due to a near-fatal stomach virus. He ran second in that year’s Sydney Cup and managed a seventh in the Melbourne Cup.
Juvenile races are always a challenge for everyone, from horse, to jockey, to strapper, to trainer and especially to bookies and punters.
The Canonbury Stakes is important in that it give everyone a good glance at the new crop of colts, some of which enjoy great racing careers and some of which show enough promise to be taken from the track and put to work in the sheds.
|Year||Canonbury Stakes Winners|
|2013||Never Can Tell|
|2011||Diamond To Pegasus|
|2004||Bradbury's Luck (AUS) 2002|
|2003||Not A Single Doubt|
|1977||Just A Steal|
|1963||Son Of Tod|
|1962||Time And Tide|
|1958||Fine And Dandy|