The Maurice McCarten Stakes (MM Stakes) is a Group 3 sprint quality handicap for horses aged three and above held at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse during March.
As of 2023, prizemoney for the race is $200,000.
Maurice McCarten Stakes Race Details
Race Distance: 1200m
Prize Money: $200,000
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When Is The Maurice McCarten Stakes: 9/3/24
What Time Is The Maurice McCarten Stakes: TBA
Where Is The Maurice McCarten Stakes: Rosehill Racecourse
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More Details About The Maurice McCarten Stakes
Cannonball was the winner in 2023.
He earned $110,000 for his effort, a 1.3 length win over Athelric, where he jumped $11 in a small field of eight where only two of the other racers were longer priced.
The son of Capitalist, he has line to the Tycoon blood line on his sire’s side, with a distant connection to the great sire Danehill or both sire and dam’s side, with the dam side also represented by the likes of Snitzel, Redoute’s Choice and Snippets.
Such regal blood has seen Cannonball posting a line of 10 jumps for 3 wins and 2 placings for just above $447,000 in earnings. After winning the MM Stakes, he produced a third in The Galaxy, so we may get to see him win a Group 1 race for the Snowdens.
The race is currently run at a Saturday Rosehill meeting in March that features the Group 1 Coolmore Classic. Other important races on the day are the Ajax Stakes and the Phar Lap Stakes, both Group 2 grade, and the Magic Night Stakes and the Pago Pago Stakes, Group 3 grade races with the added incentive of a ballot exemption to the winner for the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes.
History of the Maurice McCarten Stakes
The race is run in honour of Maurice McCarten, a great jockey and later, a great trainer of gallopers. He was the trainer that prepared Delta for wins in the 1949 Cox Plate and the 1951 Melbourne Cup, along with other major races too numerous to mention here.
McCarten was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in the trainers category in 2002.
The race first featured McCarten’s name in 2003. It has had multiple name changes, mainly due to sponsorship reasons - horse tips.
When the race debuted in 1993 and continuing through 2002, the race went by some variation of the sponsors Moet & Chandon, the French champagne outfit.
The race returned to being the Maurice McCarten Stakes for 2010 and 2011 after spending 2005 – 2009 as the Schweppervesence. From 2012, the rum runners Bacardi attached their name to the race for three jumps before the race once again became the Maurice McCarten Stakes from 2015 until the present time.
The race was originally 1200 metres until the decision was made to lop 100 metres from the trip in 2010.
The race grade began as Listed, elevating to Group 3 grade in 2014.
Venue for the Maurice McCarten Stakes
Without exception, the race has always been held at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse in Sydney.
Rosehill has been in business since 1885 and holds many of its Group grade races in the month of March.
There are many good races for two-year-olds, but none garners more attention than the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes.
Rosehill got its very own high stakes race in 2019 with the advent of the Golden Eagle.
Rosehill has typical dimensions – a circumference of just over 2000 metres, with a home straight of 408 metres.
It can be described as a pear-shaped triangular oval, if we are not revealing by too great a degree our lack of geometry terminology. We often say it resembles Flemington in Melbourne with softer turns.
For an 1100-metre race, the barriers are placed about 1/3 of the way down the back straight. The horses then navigate the tightest of Rosehill’s three turns at the south side of the track and run north to the finish line in front of the grandstands at the northwest corner of the course.
Racing History of the Maurice McCarten Stakes
As a Listed race for much of its existence, the Maurice McCarten Stakes was never going to attract the better class to Rosehill, as the good sprinters were always going to target the Group 3 races, while the better would try Group 2 and the best would be saved for Group 1 races.
Still, races such as the Maurice McCarten Stakes could be used as a lead-up to better races later in the autumn racing season or even as preparation for the next season in some cases, whether in the following spring or the next autumn.
One of the better winners was Dothraki in 2108, but he was awarded the win after finishing second a nose behind Sprightly Lass after she moved out and interfered with Dothraki at the 50 metre mark.
There was a dead heat between Stanzaic and Knickerbocker Kid in 2001 and the only galloper to win twice was Appoint in 1998 and 1999.
We will examine the list with appropriate expectations to see if there is a diamond or two that won big stakes, better grade races, or went on to supply better than average progeny.
The first winner in 1993 was Friend's Venture.
He won above $500,000, but this 1987 gelding needed 66 jumps for 12 wins and 21 places in which to do it.
He beat some good horses, such as the Group 1 winner Sublimate, in the 1993 Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes.
You knew we would find some way to work Star Kingdom into the story.
Friend's Venture had won the Star Kingdom Stakes in 1992 as well, where he beat a Group 1 winner named Final Card. He jumped in The Galaxy at Group 1 grade in 1992, running second two lengths behind Schillaci and ahead of Euclase, so while he would not be considered great, he was at least that good.
The 1994 winner was another gelding – Brawny Spirit, that won over $1 million. He managed that figure from just 27 jumps and his win in the MM Stakes came from All Our Mob, a four-time Group 1 winner.
A Group 1 winner of The Galaxy, an entire named Magic Of Money won in 1995. Sublimate was his victim.
Magic Of Money was a good-not-great sire, but he supplied 11 gallopers that won above $100,000 – with one winning above $400,000 and two winning more than $300,000.
The 1997 winner was the gelding Quick Flick.
He won above $1.2 million from 55 jumps for 16 wins and 13 placings.
As for his ability, he beat THE Might And Power in the 1997 Group 3 Shannon Quality Handicap. In the 1998 Group 1 George Ryder Stakes, he beat a six-time Group 1 winner named Encounter, with a win over Golden Slipper Stakes winner Guineas in the 1998 Group 2 Canterbury Stakes.
The first and only dual winner of the MM Stakes was Appoint in 1998 and 1999.
This gelding by the northern hemisphere sire Alquoz beat Bomber Bill into third in the 2001 Group 3 Rubiton Stakes.
The winner in 200 was Antiquity.
His win was over the top colt in the Australasian 2YO classification Paint, that won the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes and ran second in the Golden Slipper Stakes.
To this stage of the racing history of the Maurice McCarten Stakes, we have found naught but geldings, save for 1995 winner Magic Of Money and zero fillies or mares.
Still, we admit to some surprise that the race supplied some quality winners, even if those winners were not the best, top-echelon types.
The 2001 race was a dead heat between Stanzaic and Knickerbocker Kid.
Both were geldings of just average ability, although Knickerbocker Kid receives mention for being a working racer with 80 jumps to his ledger.
He deserves further mention for having lines connecting him to Bletchingly, Biscay and Star Kingdom.
For a brief moment, we though we had ourselves won the race in 2003, because the winner was Sex Machine.
Turns out that Sex Machine was a gelding, and we are not, at least not in the literal sense, and judging by his form line, we might have beaten him in a match race.
Mustard was the winner in 2004.
He was able to cut it, barely, winning above $800,000 with an incredible 131 jumps for 17 wins and 30 placings. He beat the Group 1 winner Regal Cheer in the 2006 Group 3 Concorde Stakes, and he came within less than a length from beating Takeover Target in the Listed Grade Pacesetter Quality Stakes in 2004.
A 2001 entire by Snippets, the 2006 winner of the MM Stakes was the aptly named Snippetson. He was a length and a half behind Dance Hero in the 2005 Group 3 Missile Stakes and his win in 2006 was over 2004 winner Mustard.
Snippetson was a good sire, as would be expected with 26 offspring that won above $100,000 and a couple that came within a win or good placing of cracking the million dollar benchmark.
Moving through the list, we found naught but geldings following Snippetson until we arrived at the 2011 winner, Atomic Force.
A gelding as well, he won over $911,000 from 45 jumps for 11 wins and 13 placings. With lines to the formidable sire Danehill, he notched a Group 1 win in The Galaxy. He was often in the late conversation when lined up against Buffering, except all the was said at the end is that Buffering beat him.
We suppose that getting beat by a four time Group 1 and $7 million stakes winner is not great disgrace and Atomic Force came close to beating Buffering in the Group 2 Victory Stakes in Queensland – just not real close.
In 2014, the first year the MM Stakes jumped as a Group 3 grade race, the winner was Kencella, the son of Exceed And Excel. We will only say that he did not make daddy proud.
We now come to 2015, when the race was won by Target In Sight.
This gelding won above $1.1 million and needed just 30 jumps for 9 wins and 9 placings. None of his wins were above Group 3, but he made his money by beating Viddora and Dothraki in the Magic Millions Sprint in 2017.
We have at last a mare in the 2017 winner Artistry. Hallelujah! We thought we had missed something in the gender qualifications for the race, but indeed, the race is open to lady gallopers.
She won over $562,000, but unlike many of the geldings that matched that figure for prizemoney, she had just 24 jumps for 8 wins and 5 placings. It was Dothraki she beat half a length in the MM Stakes, where Dothraki was heavy odds-on favourite.
Both Artistry and Dothraki raced for the Snowdens, so Peter and Paul would have enjoyed the Moet and Chandon on the day, even though the winery was no longer involved in the race.
We found just one named foal for Artistry; a filly named Peindre by Snitzel that won just one race from five jumps.
The name of the 2018 winner, Dothraki, has come up often in our look at the Maurice McCarten Stakes.
He was awarded the win on a protest which we mentioned earlier, but that is not to say that he was not deserving, as he might have won if he had not been bumped in the last 50 metres of the race.
He earned over $1.6 million in prizemoney from 61 jumps for 8 wins and 24 placings. His best win was the 2018 Group 2 Bobby Lewis Quality.
The 2020 winner of the MM Stakes and $1.4 million dollar stakes winner was Star Of The Seas.
He was lightly raced as geldings go, with 35 jumps for 8 wins and 12 placings. His best win was the 2021 Blamey Stakes, but he placed second in three Group 1 races, and third in the 2019 Group 1 Epsom Handicap.
He raced some of the better racers, including Zaaki, Nettoyer, Kolding and Verry Elleegant.
The second mare to win the MM Stakes came along in I Am Invincible’s 2016 daughter California Zimbol. She beat the 2019 winner Easy Eddie.
The gelding Shelby Sixtysix was the winner in 2022.
He is listed as active as of April 2023, running for trainer Danny Williams. He is closing in on $1 million in earnings, currently at $858,000 from 38 jumps for 5 wins and 12 placings.
Shelby Sixtysix was stone motherless in his last jump, the Group 1 T. J Smith Stakes at Randwick, so he might be done. He did cruel the unbeaten streak of Rule Of Law for the win and next up, he won at Group 1 when he took The Galaxy at Rosehill in 2022.k.
There it is, small fields - good older geldings, two entires and two mares have won the Maurice McCarten Stakes.
There were a couple of winners that won above $1 million and a few good breeders.
|2020||Star Of The Seas|
|2015||Target In Sight|
|2013||See The World|
|2008||Hoystar (AUS) 2003|
|1995||Magic Of Money|