Australian Turf Club plays host to the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes during the autumn racing carnival. The race is for three year old horses and run over 1400 metres under set weight conditions on the Rosehill Racecourse in Sydney.
The event is held towards the end of February and early March with a number of potential milers entering the fray with a keen eye on achieving further success in group races during the year.
Several of the classiest milers have begun their year with a victory in the Hobartville Stakes, a group that includes the likes of Shaftesbury Avenue, Lonhro, Danewin, and Racing To Win. These horses went on to win major group races and achieve international success as well. Lonhro is among the most notable winners to conquer the Australian racetracks along with jockey Darren Beadman, who together formed one of the most formidable partnerships.
Horses compete in the Hobartville Stakes for prize money worth $400,000.
Other races on the day include the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes and Group 3 Millie Fox Stakes. The Hobartville Stakes has seen plenty of horses head for the Randwick Guineas over the years. Ilovethiscity continued his fine form to win the Hobartville Stakes/Royal Randwick Guineas double.
Among the other races that horses may compete in after a good run in the Hobartville Stakes are the Group 3 Phar Lap Stakes over 1500 metres and the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas at Rosehill.
The race was first held in 1925 as a principal race won by Amounis. It was granted Group 2 status by the Australian Turf Club in 1979. Winners and place getters in the Hobartville Stakes ought to be followed closely over the season since several top class milers and middle distance runners have achieved greater success over their career.
History of the Hobartville Stakes
The Hobartville Stakes began in 1925, just as did many significant races.
It was held in the spring racing season for the first 55 years until it was switched to the autumn racing season in 1978.
The race derives its name from an historic stud farm located in New South Wales. The stud began in 1828 and has a connection to Cox Plate namesake W. S. Cox, a man named William Cox, Junior. Hobartville, an area ripe with rich pasture land, was at one time described as “The most successful Hereford cattle stud in Australia by a contributor to the Racing NSW Heritage Inventory.
A few of the stallions associated with the stud are Maribyrnong, Melbourne Cup winner Grand Flaneur, Trenton. Successful gallopers include such as Star Watch, Toulouse Lautrec and Dane Shadow.
The trip has remained a consistent 1400 metres except for the minor variance from 1925 – 1978 when races were still listed in furlongs.
The race has shifted tracks several times. It was run at Randwick during the Second World War. It used Warwick Farm from 1983 – 2001 before becoming another of the races that could be described as previously held at Warwick Farm.
It went to Randwick for four years from 2002 to 2005, and then landed at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse in 2006, where it has since remained.
It was a Principal race at first and went straight to Group 2 in 1979 when the Group classification system went into effect. It offers prizemoney sufficient to deserve Group 1 classification, but Group 2 it remains.
The race was skipped in 1980 as part of the move from its original spring date to late summer.
Rosehill Gardens Racecourse opened in 1885 in the Western Sydney suburb of Rosehill. It features an irregular oval shape with a tight third turn.
The track was operated by the Sydney Turf Club until 2011, when the STC merged with the Australian Jockey Club to become the Australian Turf Club.
Each year, the track holds nine Group 1, 13 Group 2 and 14 Group 3 races, as of 2021.
The Golden Slipper Stakes, the Golden Eagle and the George Ryder Stakes are three of the more notable races.
Racing History of the Hobartville Stakes
It did not take long for a champion Thoroughbred to emerge and grab a victory in the Hobartville Stakes.
The first winner in 1925 was Amounis. It might be said that horses were more versatile in those days, but at the same time, it must be acknowledged that there were fewer races, so connections with a good horse would run that horse.
After winning the Hobartville Stakes, Amounis won everything except the Melbourne Cup. He managed to race 79 times and after winning the Hobartville, he would win the Epsom Handicap twice, the Linlithgow Stakes three times, the Cox Plate in 1927 and the Caulfield Cup in 1930. A further indication of his ability was that he won major races in Victoria as well as New South Wales.
The 1926 winner was Rampion. This horse did not occupy the same realm as Amounis, but nearly so. The year prior, he won the AJC Breeders’ Plate. His wins for 1925 included top races such as VRC Maribyrnong Plate, Champagne Stakes, AJC Derby, Caulfield Guineas, VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes and the VRC Derby. His earnings as a two and three-year-old took him past Heroic for stakes winnings.
The next major champion and Hobartville Stakes winner we encountered was Ammon Ra in 1931, which rather raises the question of where Phar Lap was at this time.
Ammon Ra was a major winner that won 12 major races. Some of the horses he beat were Chatham and Nightmarch, but he was sent off early with bleeding issues that started when he was four.
Ammon Ra was often ridden by legendary jockey Maurice McCarten. McCarten supplies a segue to our next notable, as he was also a frequent rider of the 1936 winner, Gold Rod. Gold Rod raced during the era of champions such as Ajax, High Caste and Beau Vite, yet still managed to win at a prodigious rate. A few of his wins were the VRC Sires’ Produce, the Futurity Stakes, Epson and Doncaster Handicaps. Gold Rod was the horse that beat 40-1 on Ajax in the 1939 Rawson Stakes, when Ajax was poised to equal a then record of 19 consecutive wins.
The 1939 Hobartville Stakes went to High Caste. His victories are too numerous to mention, but we will note that he won the C B Fisher Plate and the Linlithgow Stakes three times each. He won the Caulfield Stakes, the Challenge Stakes and the St. George Stakes two times each.
It was not a long wait for the next crop of champions to win the Hobartville Stakes.
Flight was the winner in 1943. Flight was a working horse, jumping 65 times. He won the Craven Plate, the Essendon Stakes and the Cox Plate twice and was elected to the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2007. Randwick holds the Flight Stakes in his honour and it would seem the bar for having a race named is much higher in NSW than in Victoria.
Following Flight, Shannon, another Hall of Fame inductee, was the 1944 winner. He had many major wins in Australia and was good enough to get a gig in the U.S., back when racing was relevant. Running in California, he won major races, including the Hollywood Gold Cup in 1948.
The next major champion we found was 1948’s San Domenico. San Domenico had Heroic for a grandsire. His big wins were the Warwick and Canterbury Stakes (2x each), the Futurity Stakes and the All Aged Stakes. Like many of the others on our list, the Hobartville Stakes was a first major win and a harbinger of future greatness.
Skipping ahead, we encounter the 1951 winner, Hydrogen.
Like Flight, he won two Cox Plates and multiple other major races, compiling a record of 26 wins, 8 seconds and 9 thirds from 60 starts. He nearly won three Cox Plates, but he was nipped by a 25 – 1 boilover in 1951 by Bronton.
One of the all-time greats, Todman, was the 1957 winner. He won the first Golden Slipper Stakes by eight lengths in 1957, a year that included wins in the Champagne Stakes, Canterbury Guineas. Big wins in 1960 were the Lightning Stakes and the Futurity Stakes. When he won the Champagne Stakes in 1957 by eight lengths, the horse with the best view was none other than Tulloch. Todman might have won more, but he broke down as a four-year-old when running in the Hill Stakes, which caused him to miss more than two years’ worth of racing.
Todman passed his racing DNA to the likes of Eskimo Prince, Sweet Embrace, Blazing Saddles and New Gleam, Ricochet and Imposing.
He has a life-size statue at Rosehill.
Wenona Girl continues the pattern of great horses that won the Hobartville Stakes early on and built from there. The best way to describe her as a racer is by saying that she won everything important run in Sydney. She won the Lightning Stakes and the Rawson Stakes twice each. She made 16 starts as a three-year-old in Melbourne and Sydney races. Wenona Girl combined with Todman and Star Kingdom, along with others, and she produced stakes winners, some of which produced stakes winners of their own. See our best bets every week here.
Baguette was the winner for 1970. Like some of those above, he won the Golden Slipper Stakes, along with the AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes and the Champagne Stakes in 1970. Baguette won seven races in 1971 and the capper for that year was the Newmarket Handicap.
The Hobartville Stakes entered a dry patch of sorts from Baguette in 1970 until Marscay in 1983. That is not to say the horses that won were not good, the winners’ list is too strong to say this, only that there were none of the stature that were mentioned above.
Marscay was another Golden Slipper Stakes that won the Hobartville Stakes in 1983. He was retired that year from racing for a new career serving mares. He sired 62 stakes winners, turning out the likes of Bint Marscay, Triscay, Circles Of Gold, Jetball and March Hare. Marscay only raced 15 times, but he won or placed in 11 of those races.
The 1990 Hobartville Stakes went to Shaftesbury Avenue. This horse went head-to-head with Super Impose eight times, with the results being evenly split between them. His major wins for Bart Cummings were the George Main, Honda, Lightning, All-Aged and Caulfield Stakes. He was also the winner of the 1991 Newmarket Handicap.
Nothin’ Leica Dane made the list in 1996. In 1995, he won the Victoria Derby and jumped in the Melbourne Cup three days later, second to the mighty Caulfield/Melbourne Cups Double winner Doriemus.
If you were expecting to encounter the name of Lonhro here, go to the head of the class. Lonhro won in 2002 and continued to win big races in 2003 and 2004. He was from Octagonal’s first crop and he did his daddy proud. He won 11 Group 1 races and he was one of the best weight-for-age horses for his or any time. He was given every possible award for a sire and if he had done more racing in Victoria, they would have had to name two or three races after him. Lonhro sired 12 Group 1 winning progeny that accounted for 18 Group 1 wins. Two of those are names we will encounter on our report on the Hobartville Stakes winners shortly.
Lonrho’s best was Pierro, a six-time Group 1 winner and like many of the others mentioned here, won the Golden Slipper Stakes. Pierro won the Hobartville Stakes in 2013.
The second Lonhro progeny to win the Hobartville Stakes was Kementari in 2018. He, like several others, backed his Hobartville win with the Group 1 Randwick Guineas, supplying his third consecutive race win after leading with the Group 3 Eskimo Prince Stakes at Warwick Farm.
The 2019 winner, The Autumn Sun, completes our list.
He represents the modern era of racing where promising stallions are taken off early to stand. All The Autumn Sun did was race nine times for five Group 1 wins around his Group Hobartville win, and then set up a nice little business where he charges $77,000 to do what any of us gladly do for free or hope to obtain for a price not too dear.
The Group 2 Hobartville Stakes is perfectly positioned on the racing calendar to attract the elite gallopers haunting Sydney during the autumn racing carnival, those looking to achieve Group 1 glory in Sydney and Melbourne. View our racing tips for the next Hobartville Stakes here.
It is worth the trip to Rosehill Gardens for any purpose. Visitors who go on race day will get to see two other prime Group 2 races. Those are the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes for two-year-olds and the Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes for fillies and mares.
|Year||Hobartville Stakes Winners|
|2019||The Autumn Sun|
|2017||Man From Uncle|
|2012||Wild And Proud|
|2006||Racing To Win|
|1996||Nothin' Leica Dane|
|1992||Take Th Road|
|1977||Lord Silver Man|
|1962||Peace Of Mind|
|1954||Pride Of Egypt|