The Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes at Randwick is an autumn racing 1200 metre sprint for three-year-olds and above run under set weight plus penalty conditions.
Prize money for the race appears to be getting a boost to $250,000, but it was $200,000 in 2023 when the capable Vilana took the top prize of $110,000 from a field of eight, jumping as favourite for a comfortable win.
Hall Mark Stakes Race Details
Race Distance: 1200m
Prize Money: $250,000
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When Is The Hall Mark Stakes: 20/4/24
What Time Is The Hall Mark Stakes: TBA
Where Is The Hall Mark Stakes: Randwick Racecourse
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More Details About The Hall Mark Stakes
Vilana last jumped in mid-October and has not won or placed since winning the Hall Mark Stakes. His 16 jumps have supplied seven wins and one place for $1.8 million in earnings.
The race is one of four Group 3s that jump at Randwick alongside two old and prestigious Group 1 races, the Champagne Stakes and the All Aged Stakes.
The Australian Racing Board (ARB) was deploying the Group classification system for the first time when the Hall Mark Stakes first jumped in 1979, so it was never a Principal race, beginning at Listed grade, something occasionally referred to as Group 4.
After the meeting with the Hall Mark Stakes, Randwick goes quiet, at least from the perspective of topflight races, resuming in August with spring racing.
History of the Hall Mark Stakes
The inaugural running of the Hall Mark Stakes was in 1979.
The race is run in memory of Hall Mark. He was foaled in 1930 and made 52 jumps for 18 wins and 25 placings. He is certainly deserving as the winner of the 1933 Melbourne Cup. Between 1933 and 1935, he won 16 major races, such as the AJC Derby, the VRC Derby and the Sires’ Produce Stakes.
The early years of the race offered some tinkering with the trip. There was a 1600 metre trial run of the race in 1978 that was won by So Called, but the official date of the race as the Hall Mark Stakes took place in the following year.
It was 2000 metres in 1979, becoming a 1200 metre sprint race in 1980.
The race grade was Listed initially before it was lifted to Group 3 in 2014.
Venue for the Hall Mark Stakes
The Hall Mark Stakes has always been held at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, NSW.
The site was offering racing in the early 1830s but went semi-dormant for a while and was used only for training until the Australian Jockey Club made the facility its headquarters in the 1860s.
It is one of the crown jewels of Australian Thoroughbred racing venues and is currently home to 20 Group 1 races and a number of Group 2 and Group 3 races that allow for Randwick to boast of more Group races than any other metro venue, including Flemington.
A huge attraction from 2017 is The Everest, a special conditions race worth $20 million in prize money.
Twelve hundred metre races at Randwick start from a dedicated chute that allows for a straight start, a mild curve onto the straight that connects to the home straight, and then the home straight to the finish line in front of the stands.
Racing History of the Hall Mark Stakes
Some better types have won the Hall Mark Stake since it was lifted to Group 3 in 2014. Some others have names that sound enticing, as though there is a connection to something better waiting to be discovered.
Per usual, we will look for the better winners, those that won good prize money, beat better horses, won better races, or contributed notable progeny.
Despite the claim that the first Hall Mark Stakes was held in 1979, the stakes racing record for So Called shows him winning the race in 1978.
If the report is accurate, the race was a 1600 metre trip that year. It may have been called something different, or a typo could explain the discrepancy between the inaugural running and the dates supplied, but So Called will receive the credit for winning in 1978.
He won the Cox Plate in spring of 1978. He won the Underwood Stakes in 1978, the year before the race received its Group 1 badge.
We suspect that we will find nothing of So Called’s ability winning the race in the early years, but we will move through the list, omitting any that do not meet our criteria.
The winner in 1979 was Down The Aisle.
He was a modest racer, a five-time winner and the Hall Mark Stakes was his best. He was limited to 10 offspring, a mare-like number and none of them accomplished much by racing, if any did indeed get to the track.
Oswonder won in 1981 and his results seem to inform us that the Hall Mark Stakes was poorly supported in the initial years. He left proof of one good win and three forgettable progeny, the best making 37 jumps to win $20,000.
We found a handy mare for 1982 in the mare My Evita.
We are unclear how many times she raced, but we learned that she won nine times, including the 1983 Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes. Another good win by My Evita was the 1982 Christmas Handicap at Caulfield.
Of her seven foals, the best was the 1985 colt Vitalic by Nonalcoholic that won at Group 1 level.
The 1983 winner Toy Pindarri was a Kiwi horse by a U.S. sire and a New Zealand dam named Small Edition. He had a distant line to Star Kingdom, but not close enough, apparently, to make much impact on Toy Pindarri’s racing. He won the Healy Stakes at Eagle Farm.
He was far better as a sire. His top progeny Pindi won almost $750,000 and the next 11 on the list earned above $100,000 and as much as $420,000. The combined total is $3 million or more for those 12 offspring of Toy Pindarri.
The 1984 winner Vain Karioi was the son of Vain. His granddam sire was Baguette.
The pedigree availed Vain Karioi not, as his 45 jumps for 9 wins and 10 placings brought in just $120,000.
He made up for his lack of racing ability with his prodigious breeding ability. He turned out durable racers, one making 104 jumps and others in the 70s to 80s range. The best was Just A Printer that won $367,000.
All Chant from 1985 won some good races, including the Winter Handicap, the Group 3 Royal Sovereign Stakes and the Stan Fox Stakes.
We found a Group 1 winner when we looked at the 1986 winner Rich Fields Lad.
He won The Galaxy in 1986 and 1985 featured wins in the Group 3 Moomba Plate, Great Western Plate and Rupert Steele Stakes.
The 1987 winner Targlish was a good racer.
He won at Group 1 by winning The Galaxy in 1989 and he had other wins at Group 2 and Group 3 grade.
The one an only instance of a dual winner of the Hall Mark Stakes was in the years 1988 and 1989 when the gelding Tumble On won twice.
His first win in 1988 found him denying 1987 winner Targlish the brace and he won at Group 2 in the 1988 Villiers Stakes. When he won the 1988 Royal Parma Stakes, he beat two-time Group 1 winner of the Epsom Handicap and the All Aged Stakes – Sound Horizon.
The 1990 winner Dieu D'Or was not the greatest racer. Thirty-two jumps supplied just $132,000 in prize money.
Oh, but what a stud!
Dieu D'Or’s long list of profitable offspring in Australia is headed by Gold Ace, a 1992 colt out of Coup De Chance that won just under $1 million with three Group 1 wins.
Another Group 1 winner won the Hall Mark Stakes in 1991.
It was Euclase, winner of the SAJC Goodwood Handicap in 1992.
His racing consisted of 20 jumps for 10 wins and 3 placings for a respectable money total for the time of $483,000.
His siring was off the charts.
His top Australian racer was the gelding Prime Witness out of Good Looker that won almost $2 million, including some prize money from Hong Kong.
The 1992 winner Mocha deserves mention for his 93 jumps. This sturdy gelding beat Group 1 winner Final Card in the Hall Mark Stakes.
In 1993, Simonstad won the Hall Mark Stakes.
He had a good win in the 1994 Group 3 BTC Sprint by beating All Our Mob, the Group 1 winning gelding that won above $2.5 million.
His $350,000 in prize money was similar to that of Mocha, but Simonstad needed only 25 jumps to reach the figure.
Simonstad was a solid sire, with three offspring that won above $100,000.
As for the gelding All Our Mob that won the Hall Mark Stakes in 1994, his racing of 74 jumps for 13 wins and 32 placings earned $2.5 million and included four Group 1 wins.
Cohort was a steady gelding that won the race in 1995.
He beat All Our Mob in the 1996 QTC Ascot Handicap at Eagle Farm and he beat a two-time Group 1 winner, Chief De Beers in the 1995 BTC Sprint.
The gelding Little Lucifer from 1998 makes our list for his 93 jumps. His persistence rewarded him with just $222,000 in earnings.
He had a nice win in 1998 when he beat Group 1 winner Mossman in the Ken Russell Classic at Gold Coast.
We skipped quite a few average geldings to arrive at 2006, the year Falaise won. He was by the notable U.S. sire Grand Lodge, with impressive lines on the side of his dam Perle.
Falaise made 55 jumps for 10 wins and 8 placings to earn $737,000.
Wasted Emotions, a 2002 gelding by Ireland’s Desert Prince, won $479,000 from 26 jumps for 11 wins and five placings. He was euthanized after injuring his fetlock in a barrier trial while preparing for the Group 1 Railway Stakes.
The first mare to win in many years showed up in 2011 in the form of Ladys Angel. She won $404,000 from 27 jumps for 5 wins and 11 placings. All of her four other wins were prior to the Hall Mark Stakes in minor races. She supplied three named foals, none that made any lasting impression as racers.
The 2012 winner was a good gelding named Tiger Tees.
His 37 jumps for 13 wins and 6 placings brought him $1.2 million in prize money. Like a few previous winners of the Hall Mark Stakes, Tiger Tees had a Group 1 win in The Galaxy. His win in the 2014 Group 2 Warwick Stakes (now Winx Stakes and Group 1) came over good gallopers Royal Descent and Criterion.
Hot Snitzel was a gelding by Snitzel that won in 2014, the first year that the Hall Mark Stakes was graded as a Group 3 race.
He won above $1.3 million from 38 jumps for 8 wins and 9 placings. Hot Snitzel rewarded Snitzel and grandsire Redout’s Choice with a Group 1 win in the BTC Cup.
The winner in 2015, Our Boy Malachi, beat Lankan Rupee into third in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint in 2016 and his 27 jumps were good for $946,000 with 19 wins and 3 placings.
Music Magnate, a gelding by Written Tycoon was the winner in 2016.
His 31 jumps supplied 9 wins and 7 placings for $1.2 million. He won the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 that same year.
The 2017 winner Redzel won The Everest in 2017 and 2018, the first two years for the huge money race.
Another Snitzel progeny, Redzel won 15 races and place in 13 from 39 jumps. His winnings were nearly $16.5 million. Like other winners of the Hall Mark Stakes, he had a Group 1 win in Queensland when he won the Doomben 10,000 in 2017. He won the Group 1 Victoria Racing Club Stakes, also in 2017.
Later, he would beat Pierata in the 2019 Group 3 Concorde Stakes. Brave Smash and Vega Magic, Terravista, Takedown and Santa Ana Lane are other good horses he beat at times. His two wins in The Everest brought him about $11.6 million of his total earnings.
The 2019 winner was the capable gelding Trekking. His 39 jumps for 10 wins and 12 placings earned $5.8 million. He had Group 1 wins in The Goodwood in South Australia, where he beat Gytrash and Lyre. He beat The Bostonian in the 2019 Group 2 Schillaci Stakes and he won the 2019 Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap.
The 2021 winner Splintex won above a million dollars from 24 jumps for 7 wins and 3 placings. He won twice at Group 2 grade. He is standing at Darling View Thoroughbreds and has gotten one filly in 2023.
Kementari, winner in 2022, is the last for us now.
Kementari was a gelding by Lonhro with Octagonal as grandsire. On the side of his dam Yavanna, we find Redoute’s Choice as granddam sire, along with plenty of other significant ancestors.
He made 49 jumps for 8 wins, 14 placings and over $4.7 million in prize money. He only won one Group 1 race, the 2018 Randwick Guineas, but he made a fortune with high finishes in other lucrative Group 1 races.
Kementari beat Pierata, Zoutori, Pierata and Trapeze Artist, but when he lined up against Winx in the 2018 Group 1 George Ryder Stakes, he was almost two horses back when they hit the line.
The Hall Mark Stakes presented better winners than we were expecting and some of those winners were good breeders.
The field quality definitely seems to have improved when the race was promoted to Group 3.
There were also many winners, mostly geldings, that count the Hall Mark Stakes as their best win, so overall, the race offers a mixed bag of racing and breeding ability.
ATC Hall Mark Stakes Past Winners
|2015||Our Boy Malachi|
|1999||Life Of Riley|
|1994||All Our Mob|
|1986||Rich Fields Lad|
|1979||Down The Aisle|