The Gimcrack Stakes is a Group 3 sprint of 1000 metres for two-year-old fillies held at Randwick Racecourse.
It is run on the same day as the Breeders’ Plate, which is the equivalent event for colts and geldings. Running conditions for the race are set weights and the race is hosted by the Australian Turf Club in late September or early October at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney.
Gimcrack Stakes Race Details
Race Distance: 1000m
Prize Money: $200,000
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When Is The Gimcrack Stakes: 5/10/2024
What Time Is The Gimcrack Stakes: TBC
Where Is The Gimcrack Stakes: Randwick Racecourse
How To Live Stream The Gimcrack Stakes
To live stream the Gimcrack Stakes, TAB Account Holders can watch the race live.
More Details About The Angst Stakes
Some of the gallopers in the race may be making their first start, so part of the acceptance process for the event requires the fillies to participate in barrier trials to ensure that they can line up and race without hurting anything.
Prizemoney as from 2022 is $200,000.
The 2020 winner, Collangatta, received $84,000 for the win in which she carried jockey James McDonald to an easy 3.4 length victory. She has raced just four times as of mid-July 2022, but has won almost $1.8 million. Most of it came from winning the Magic Millions 2YO Classic. She also won a Group 3 when she took the B. J. McLachlan Stakes at Doomben by over two lengths and her bank was enhanced when she ran a respectable third in the 2022 Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill.
History of the Gimcrack Stakes
The Gimcrack Stakes made its debut in 1906, the same year as the equivalent race for male horses, the Breeders’ Plate.
The name is an honorific to a Pom horse of the 1700s. Records indicate that Gimcrack was actually a stallion that won 26 times with 8 placings from 36 jumps. There is also a Gimcrack Stakes run at York in England.
We saw some early winners of the Breeders’ Plate that were mares, so we might expect to find some colts or geldings winning in the early years of the Gimcrack Stakes. Neither race gets much attention, though, because they jump on the same day as the Group 1s Epsom Handicap, Flight Stakes and The Metropolitan.
Until metrication, the Gimcrack Stakes was measured at five furlongs, which was rounded to 1000 metres in 1973. It was run at 1100 metres in 2008 and has since settled at the traditional trip of 1000 metres.
It was a Principal race until the Group rating system made it a Group 3 race from 1979 – 1991. Like the Thoroughbred Racing. The Gimcrack was reduced from Group 3 to Listed level in 1992 and remained there through the 2018 edition of the race.
It was restored to Group 3 for 2019.
Another similarity to the Breeders’ Plate is that when the equine influenza outbreak of 2007 forced many races to be abandoned, the Gimcrack Stakes was postponed from the scheduled spring date to the autumn of 2008. Since Australian Thoroughbreds celebrate their birthdays on 1 August, we were left with a nagging question, one for which we are consulting higher authority. We need someone to tell us how the reality that three-year-old horses were competing in a race restricted to two-year-olds came to be, and how it was dealt with by the racing authorities.
The winners list for the Gimcrack Stakes, other than Collangatta, appears devoid of major gallopers, the one exception being the 1959 win by Wenona Girl. We suppose even great sprinters such as her had to start somewhere.
The only times the race has ever shifted away from Randwick were in 1983 and 2001, when Warwick Farm hosted the Gimcrack Stakes.
Venue for the Gimcrack Stakes
With only two exceptions, this legacy race has always been held at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney.
Randwick was being used for racing in the early 1830s, but the site turned into a training-only facility, with actual stakes racing starting up again after the Australian Jockey Club made Randwick their headquarters.
Major races include The Everest, the Australian Derby, Doncaster Handicap and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
The two big Randwick meetings of the year are known as The Championships that take place in the autumn. The first meeting offers four Group 1 races – The Doncaster Mile, T. J. Smith Stakes, Australian Derby and Sires’ Produce Stakes. The following week supplies the Group 1s Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Sydney Cup, the Oaks and the Queen of the Turf Stakes. Right there, in just two meetings, are nine of Randwick’s 20 Group 1 races.
Racing History of the Gimcrack Stakes
The race has been run well over 100 times, so there is history to be found. The value of that history remains to be seen. As we go through the list, we will be looking for fillies that developed into Group 1 winners. Many promising two-year-olds have failed to fulfill that promise as older horses, though, so we will be looking for outstanding progeny as well.
The first winner from 1906 was Maltine.
Armlet was the 1907 winner of the Gimcrack Stakes. She won seven times in premier races from her origins in New Zealand.
We found a stallion in the mix as the winner of the race in 1909. We are not sure if Gigandra was a ring in, but while people were less sophisticated back then, they did know the difference between male and female horses. The distaff gender had its day to laugh, though, when Gigandra went to stud and had nothing but fillies.
Another male horse, this one Beragoon, won the race in 1912. He was good enough to win a couple of major races – The AJC Derby and the Victoria Derby in 1913. Perhaps that higher authority that can answer our horse age question can tell us when the gender restriction for this race was enacted.
The winner of the race in 1913 was another stallion. His name was Woorak. It is rare for us to find a stat line for gallopers from this far in the past, but Woorak actually returned a record of 11 wins and 9 placings from 37 jumps. He was a productive sire that served Polacca in 1918 that foaled Whittier (Caulfield Cup winner 1922, 1925), in 1919.
The 1920 winner was the good mare Furious. She amassed 13 wins and 12 placings from 41 jumps. Her big win was the Rosehill Guineas.
Lady Aura from 1921 won the Stradbroke Handicap in addition to the Gimcrack Stakes.
A name that pinged our radar was that of the 1955 winner – Sajax.
The mighty Ajax was damsire to Sajax.
The most notable horse to win the Gimcrack Stakes came along in 1959 in the form of Wenona Girl.
As best we can tell from looking at the mainly anonymous names of the winners’ list of the Gimcrack Stakes, she was the best to win the race by a margin even greater than that by which she won some of her races.
She was by Wilkes, so the expectations were probably high. Wenona Girl met or exceeded every one of those expectations. She won 17 major races, 19 if you include her second wins in the Rawson Stakes and the Lightning Stakes. Some of her other major wins were the VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes, AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes and the All Aged Stakes.
Wenona Girl was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2008 and Randwick Racecourse stages the Group 3 Wenona Girl Handicap in her honour.
One measure of her ability is that she beat Sky High on multiple occasions.
She was not a great breeder, but she was still racing at six years of age and it is possible that the 68 jumps she made for 27 wins and 26 placings depleted her. She dropped seven named foals, three by Todman and one by Star Kingdom. It would appear that all Wenona Girl’s talent skipped a generation, because Pilmuir by Super Gray was dam to $2.2 million winner Kinjite. Another progeny, Star Studded by Star Kingdom, was dam of Star Bolt, a winner of 10 races.
An interesting element of the Gimcrack Stakes is that, similar to the Breeders’ Plate, there was a three-race period form 1975 – 1977 where the race was run in divisions.
The winners from 1975 were Fleet Princess and Schemer.
It would appear from the records available to us that Fleet Princess had only the Gimcrack Stakes for a major win. She produced seven named foals, but none that had much impact on racing.
As for Schemer, there is even less to say for her than there is for Fleet Princess.
In 1976, the winners were Rainy Day and Princess Talaria.
Rainy Day was neither racer nor breeder. Princess Talaria, on the other hand, won such races as the 1000 Guineas, Edward Manifold Stakes and the Marlboro Classic. Princess Talaria supplied the racing industry with nine named foals and at least four of those won stakes races.
The 1977 winners were Spanish Yacht and Trimaran. We do not know exactly what is implied by Spanish Yacht, but we do know that Trimaran is a water contrivance with three hulls.
Spanish Yacht was not fast on land. It would appear that she won the Gimcrack and one other race. We found no foals from her.
Trimaran was sent to New Zealand in 1993 and the Kiwis sent her back in 1988 after they were done with her. She foaled Swelegant by Biscay, plus three other named foals, but nothing exceptional, in fact, nothing average.
Heading into the modern era, we still are not seeing much notable or impressive, but we will begin with 1992 winner Fitting.
Fitting’s impressive pedigree includes her sire Marscay, grandsire Biscay and great grandsire Star Kingdom. She made 21 jumps for four wins and five placings, with good finishes in top races. A mare this lightly raced had time to deliver 14 named foals. She gave us Catbird (1996) by Danehill that won over $1.7 million. Another good racer was again by Danehill. It was Bearcat, winner of over $500,000.
The 2004 winner was Media.
She won over $820,000 from 25 jumps for three wins and nine placings. Her other win was the 2005 Group 2 Magic Night Stakes. She next ran third in the Golden Slipper and her moment in the sun came in the 2005 Group 2 San Domenico Stakes, where she beat none other than Written Tycoon by 1.3 lengths, with none other than Snitzel into third.
Her four progeny had limited success despite being by Exceed And Excel, Redoute’s Choice and Fastnet Rock.
The race that had been postponed in 2007 and staged in 2008 was won by Portillo in March of that year. She was the winner of three races with five placings from 17 jumps for $670,000 in earnings. Like Media from 2004, Portillo won the Group 2 Magic Night Stakes. Her other win was the Group 2 Surround Stakes in 2009.
Portillo would have been three when the race was made up in 2008, but if Racing NSW is okay with it, we are as well.
Her best foal was Ghisoni a mare by Lonrho that won over $370,000.
Brilliant Bisc won the race in 2012 as her first race. Her other two wins were minor benchmark grade races despite her pedigree that included her sire Elvestroem, with ties to Danehill, Danzig, Bletchingly and Northern Dancer. Her name seems to derive from her ancestors Marscay and Biscay. Foals by I Am Invincible and Written Tycoon produced nothing of note.
Alpha Miss from 2013 was slightly above average. Her best win was the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes. She was in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes when First Seal beat Winx, which we believe was the last time the Sydney super mare lost a race. She was second to Winx in the Group 2 Furious Stakes in 2014, but she was barely in the same postal code.
The rest of the winners are Calaverite (2014), Calliope (2015), Jorda (2016), Satin Slipper (2017), Catch Me (2018) and Every Rose (2019).
The 2020 winner was Enthaar.
She has been retired after seven jumps for three wins and one placing for a little over $335,000 in earnings. Her wins other than the Gimcrack Stakes were a Listed race at Caulfield in 2021 and the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes in January of 2021. Her best and only finish in a Group 1 races was a sixth in the 2021 Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes.
A replay of Enthaar winning the 2020 Gimcrack Stakes may be viewed at the following link.
The Gimcrack Stakes is a proving ground for two-year-old fillies, but with few exceptions, none of those fillies amounted to much as racers and breeders.
The race is overshadowed by major Group 1 races at Randwick on the first day of The Championships.
Still, juvenile filly races are very popular, so it is possibly only a matter of time until another Wenona Girl or something similar comes along.
ATC Gimcrack Stakes Past Winners
|2008||Our Joan Of Arc|
|1952||Love To All|