The Japan Racing Association Plate (JRA Plate) is a Group 3 quality handicap of 2000 metres for horses aged three years and above run at Randwick Racecourse in April.
The 2023 winner Diamil received the top prize of $109,000 from the total pool of $200,000. Reliable sources indicate that the prize money for the race will be boosted to $250,000.
JRA Plate Race Details
Race Distance: 2000m
Prize Money: $200,000
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When Is The JRA Plate: 20/4/24
What Time Is The JRA Plate: TBA
Where Is The JRA Plate: Randwick Racecourse
How To Live Stream The JRA Plate
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More Details about the Japan Racing Association Plate
Diamil is a gelding trained by John O’Shea. As of his last jump in the Group 3 Coongy Cup at Caulfield in late October, good for second, he has put together a nice line of 26 jumps for 6 wins and 6 placings – good for $625,000 in earnings. His last win was the JRA Plate.
The race is an opportunity for those middle distance horses that are not up to the sterner test of similar trips, such as the Cox Plate and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
The JRA Plate is held at an important autumn meeting at Randwick that is the last major meeting for the season. The feature races are the Group 1 Champagne Stakes and the Group 1 All Aged Stakes.
There are three other Group 3 races at the meeting and only one, the James H. B. Carr Stakes, is restricted to fillies.
History of the Japan Racing Association Plate
There is an actual Japan Racing Association. Based in Tokyo, it was established in 1954. It oversees 10 courses in Japan and eight training facilities and offers 24 Grade 1 races, the equivalent of Group 1. One of the top races is the Grade 1 Victoria Mile, so the connection to imperial Great Britain is present to some degree.
The race at Randwick started in 1997 and has had the same name for all years save 2008, when it was the Japan Trophy.
The trip has never varied; neither has the race ever jumped anywhere other than Randwick.
It was graded as Listed until 2014, when it was lifted to Group 3 the year it was made a part of Randwick’s big autumn meetings.
Venue for the Japan Racing Association Plate
Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, New South Wales traces it origins back to 1833. In the 1840s, racing ceased and the facility, such as it would have been at the time, was devoted to training purposes.
The Australian Jockey Club decided to make Randwick its headquarters in the 1860s and the racing has been continuous ever since.
Randwick is home to 20 Group 1 races as of late October 2023.
The Everest is an ungraded special conditions race that offers $20 million in prize money to the fastest of 12 slot holders than sprint for 1200 metres at weight-for-age conditions.
Racing History of the Japan Racing Association Plate
When we examine the old elite races, we seldom can mention all the good winners, but with the JRA Plate, we can look at each one a bit more closely, as through 2023, the race has jumped just 26 times. We see a few better types in the list, so we will go looking for Group 1 winners, racers that collected significant prize money and/or went on to profitable stud careers.
The first Japan Racing Association Plate in 1997 was won by Sharscay.
Sharscay was a New Zealand gelding by Marscay out of New Zealand’s Shannon Belle. He was the kind you would hope for, we suppose, as he was durable enough to make 57 jumps for 8 wins and 21 placings. That sort of racing earned him $1.1 million.
His best racing was in 1995, when he won the Group 1 Underwood Stakes and the Group 1 Canterbury Guineas, where he beat Allegro and Danewin.
The second JRA Plate in 1998 was won by Back In The Saddle.
The fact that we can go from a million dollar winner to one that earned just $85,000 from 24 jumps for 3 wins and 9 placings is probably a good indicator of what will be found in the JRA Plate.
Back In The Saddle made only four jumps in the east, spending most of his time in Queensland. The JRA Plate was his best win, as the other two wins were in races that just barely cracked the $10,000 barrier for prize money.
A good one to win in 1999 was Tie The Knot.
This 1994 gelding by U.S. sire Nassipour out Australia’s Whisked won the Sydney Cup twice and the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes four times consecutively. He also won the BMW Stakes twice.
Tie The Knot was Australian Champion Stayer for 2000 and his 62 jumps for 21 wins and 17 placings brought him more than $6.2 million in earnings. He was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2021. His 13 Group 1 wins ties him with Sunline and there are just a few, such as Winx, John Henry and Forgo, with more Group 1 wins.
The winner in 2000 was Vitrinite.
He was a Kiwi courtesy of his dam Centrepiece that had distant lines to Vain and Todman, while his sire Lord Ballina offered Bletchingly for grandsire, with Biscay and Star Kingdom supplying some of the most successful DNA in Australian racing history.
Vitrinite was merely average. Sixty jumps brought him $484,000 and the JRA Plate was far and away his best win. His limited stud output produced three minor wins by three different offspring.
Bowood Forest that won in 2001 was a gelding of ability that translated to $256,000 in winnings. Seven of his 10 wins were on country tracks and the JRA Plate was his best win.
The winner from 2002, Restless, was a typical gelding that turned 56 jumps into 10 wins, 14 placings and $578,000 in prize money. He did win some better races. The JRA Cup was Listed grade when Restless won. The Sky High Stakes was another NSW race that was promoted to Group 3 in 2014. The Group 3 Carnival Cup in 2003 would tick off the box for Restless’s best win.
Another gelding but a better one, Pentastic, was the winner of the JRA Plate in 2003.
He had a platinum pedigree from his British sire Pentire that offered some great northern hemisphere racers, such as Northern Dancer and Nearctic. On the side of Australian dam Mis Minden, Mr. Prospector, Mighty Kingdom, Planet Kingdom and Star Kingdom supplied racing ability to Pentastic.
Pentastic won just under $2 million from 48 jumps for 7 wins and 13 placings. His best win was the Group 2 Craiglee Stakes in 2003, where he beat the 2003 Caulfield Cup winner Mummify. He was often seen in arrears, but not distant arrears, to the likes of Lonhro, Grand Armee and Danestorm, so he won a lot of money by coming close in lucrative races.
The 2004 winner of the JRA Plate was the gelding On A High that managed to turn just 23 jumps into 8 wins and 9 placings for $371,000.
This one had lines to Star Kingdom on both sides, although it did not supply the sorts of results that pedigree might suggest. He did have a good win in the 2003 Group 2 Villiers Stakes.
Other than a couple, all the winners we have seen of the JRA Plate have been older geldings, so we will not mention gender again unless we find a mare or a stallion that supplied progeny.
Jeremiad was the winner in 2005.
He was by Octagonal out of Lament and his 29 jumps produced 8 wins and 5 placings for $407,000. Jeremiad won the Neville Sellwood Stakes that same year in the jump just prior to the JRA Plate and he was third to 2004 JRA Plate winner On A High when the latter won the Group 2 Villiers Stakes.
The winner from 2006 was Above Deck that turned 33 jumps into 10 wins and 6 placings for $934,000. His first six wins were in minor races but were at least held on major tracks. His final and best win was the Group 1 Doomben Cup in 2006.
Saints be praised, we found a mare in the 2007 winner Safwa.
She was related to all the right ancestors and it does not seem as though Safwa was destined to race. She made just 14 jumps for 5 wins and 2 placings in a career that produced $264,000 in earnings.
She had a win in the Listed Epona Stakes in 2007. She beat a Group 1 winner in Honor In War, although the asterisk would say that it was a Grade 1 race and that the win was in the U.S. at Churchill Downs in Kentucky.
She did not last long at stud, supplying just three foals. One, a 2010 colt by More Than Ready named Gharbee that race in South Africa and Mauritius.
We have a true notable when we look at the 2008 winner Viewed.
He hauled in more than $6 million by winning the Melbourne Cup in the spring racing following his JRA Plate win and in 2009, he won the Caulfield Cup as he added the Brisbane Cup in 2008, he was awarded the title of Australian Champion Stayer for 2008/09.
Viewed beat the Group 1 winning Roman Emperor in the Caulfield Cup.
Viewed was euthanised in early 2010 and so left no progeny. His last race was the Group 2 St. George Stakes in February of 2010. He was put down less than two months later.
Prima Nova was a better mare that won in 2009.
Her 37 jumps supplied 5 wins and 5 placings for $436,000.
She jumped 15 more times after winning the JRA Plate, but her only place result was second in the Group 1 Winter Stakes at Eagle Farm.
She supplied three foals, but nothing notable.
The winner in 2010, Herculian Prince, won the Group 1 Metropolitan Handicap in the same year. He beat some good types in Booming in the JRA Plate and his Group 1 win in the Metropolitan Handicap found him beating 2013 Sydney Cup winner Mourayan with another Sydney Cup winner from 2008, No Wine No Song.
Herculean Prince won 9 races from 34 jumps for $603,000.
The 2011 winner was an Irish horse name Hawk Island.
Hawk Island was a rare entire to win the JRA Plate.
He made 48 jumps for 10 wins, 10 placings and $837,000. He never won anything major and he never beat anything all that good, but he placed in lucrative races for most of his prize money.
We did not locate a progeny record for Hawk Island.
Western Symbol, winner is 2012, was by High Chaparral. He won 6 times from 22 starts with 9 additional placings. He earned $311,000.
Western Symbol beat the 2010 JRA Plate winner Herculian Prince for his JRA Plate win. He also won the Group 3 Neville Sellwood Stakes.
Kelinni won in 2013.
He was an Irish import that won a couple Group 3 races and ran second to Glencadam Gold in the Group 1 Metropolitan Handicap in 2012.
Spillway was a British horse that won in 2014, the first year the JRA Plate carried a Group 3 badge.
Spillway earned above a million dollars from 23 jumps for 5 wins and 5 placings. He was aged four when he won and when he was aged five, he won the Group 1 Australian Cup by beating good gallopers Extra Zero and three time Group 1 winner Happy Trails.
The winner from 2015, Gypsy Diamond, was a mare by Not A Single Doubt from Gypsy Trucker.
She made 27 jumps for 4 wins, seven placings and $753,000. She has supplied three named foals, by good sires Brazen Beau, Lonhro and I Am Invincible, but none of the three were notable racers.
Guardini won in 2016.
He raced in France in 2014 and 2015, and then came over to begin with a win in the Group 3 Easter Cup.
The mare Top Of My List was the 2017 winner.
She made just 10 jumps for 4 wins and 3 placings for $275,000.
She has supplied one foal and no truly major wins, so she would be called Bottom Of Our List by us.
Tally by Street Cry, winner from 2018, won $1.6 million from 48 jumps, 10 wins and 9 placings. Tally bet the good racing mare Nettoyer to win the JRA Plate and a Group 2 win in the 2016 Caulfield Autumn Classic was over two-time Group 1 winner Palentino.
A good Irish racer named Grey Lion won in 2019 as a seven-year-old.
He earned over $840,000 without winning above Group 3 grade.
The winner from 2020, Life Less Ordinary, made 55 jumps for 9 wins and 18 placings in a career that earned $1.3 million.
Like Grey Lion, Life Less Ordinary was an Irish horse. His best win in Australia was the Group 2 A. D. Hollindale Stakes in 2019. Other than those two wins, he is notable for having been beaten by Verry Elleegant, Kenedna, Happy Clapper, Best Of Days and Libran.
Paths Of Glory, winner for 2021, was a Brit import that won $500,000 from 24 jumps for 7 wins and 7 placings. Hard to believe, but this bloke beat Zaaki to win the JRA Plate.
Polly Grey, winner from 2022, is a mare from New Zealand with an Irish sire. She raced almost a gelding’s worth of races, making 47 jumps for 11 wins and 14 placings. Her racing earned $943,000.
Polly Grey, unlike many other JRA Plate winners, had some better wins, including the Group 3 Epona Stakes. Her status is given as exported, which we believe accounts for no progeny record.
Mostly geldings, older ones at that, have won the JRA Plate.
There were a few good mares, even fewer stallions. Some had won better races as younger gallopers, but outside of Viewed and Tie The Knot, the JRA Plate did supply the sort of winners that won big races and big money from big tips.
As for breeders, there might have been one, possibly two, but that is about it.
Japan Racing Association Plate Past Winners
|2021||Paths Of Glory|
|2020||Less Than Ordinary|
|2017||Top Of My List|
|2004||On A High|
|1999||Tie The Knot|
|1998||Back In The Saddle|