The Group 1 AT Queen Elizabeth Stakes is a 2000-metre race run under weight-for-age conditions by any gender aged three years and above each autumn during The Championships at Randwick Racecourse.
The race was the recipient of a big boost in prize money in 2023, jumping from the already impressive $4 million to $5 million.
Queen Elizabeth Stakes Race Details
Race Distance: 2000m
Prize Money: $400,000
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When Is The Queen Elizabeth Stakes: 13/4/24
What Time Is The Queen Elizabeth Stakes: TBA
Where Is The Queen Elizabeth Stakes: Randwick Racecourse
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More Details About The Queen Elizabeth Stakes
Dubai Honour was the grateful first collector of the enhanced stakes with a prize of $2.95 million.
The Irish gelding is listed as pending after 18 jumps for six wins and six placings for a whopping $5.8 million in prize money. His last jump was end of April 2023 at Sha Tin, where third was worth $540,000 in a race ironically enough named the Queen Elizabeth II Cup.
We will no longer specify the Australian Turf Club (ATC) each time we reference the race. Our readers know that there are Queen Elizabeth races all over the place.
This one here is the big kahuna, although we do recognise the claims of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at England’s Ascot Racecourse.
The race jumps as part of The Championships and attracts the best international horses. The meeting includes prestigious Group 1 races, the Sydney Cup, ATC Oaks, Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Queen of the Turf Stakes.
The race attracts the crème de le crème of Thoroughbred racers, both domestic and international. Any connections with good middle distance horses want a slot in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Autumn racing campaigns are built for lead ups by the best weight-for-age horses in all the land.
History of the ATC Queen Elizabeth Stakes
The race traces it origins to 1851 and had jumped 10 times before the first Melbourne Cup was run.
It was known as the Queen’s Plate from the inaugural edition until 1874, when it became the AJC Plate. The Australian Jockey Club (AJC) ran the race until 1954 as the AJC Plate, changing the name to the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 1954.
There were occasions in 1928 and 1934 when the race went off as the AJC King’s Cup.
Following the merger of the AJC and the Sydney Turf Club in 2011 to form the ATC, the race is often called the ATC Queen Elizabeth Stakes to set it apart from other races with similar names.
The trip for the race was 4800 metres until 1913, but it was chopped in half in 1914. It reverted to 4800 metres from 1915 through 1922 and has gradually shrunken along the way to the current trip of 2000 metres that was established in 1986.
What would we do today with a 4800-metre Queen Elizabeth Stakes?
A two-horse relay perhaps?
The race grade was Principal, with Group 1 status conferred immediately when the Group grading system was rolled out in 1979.
Venue for the ATC Queen Elizabeth Stakes
Something resembling racing has been going on at the site of Randwick Racecourse since 1833, although in 1840 racing paused and Randwick was used for training purposes only.
When the AJC moved its headquarters to Randwick in 1860, racing started up again.
The rich history of the course includes major world events beyond horse racing, including a Royal designation from the then current Queen of the Realm, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in 1992.
As of the latter half of 2023, Randwick hosts 20 Group 1, 18 Group 2 and 11 Group 3 races.
The $15 million The Everest is the prize money champion of Randwick. Other top races, both in terms of money and prestige, include the Doncaster Handicap, the Australian Derby, the All-Aged Stakes and the Sydney Cup.
The 2000-metre trip of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes requires almost one full circuit of the course. It is laid out like a triangular oval, with the first turn a long and continuous turn to the right that leads onto the back straight. This end of the course offers a turn, a short straight, and then another turn leading onto the final 410 metres to the finish lines in front of the stands.
Racing History of the ATC Queen Elizabeth Stakes
The racing history of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes is a chronological list of some of the best gallopers in the history of Australian racing.
Many won the race more than once, further burnishing legendary reputations.
We will select a few from each era of the race – as the Queen’s Plate, the AJC Plate and the current era Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Many of the winners are legitimate Australian Racing Hall of Fame inductees and many have been written about ad infinitum, so we will acknowledge those types while looking more closely at some of the winners that do not quite belong in the conversation about the highest echelons of the sport.
The race itself and many of the winners of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes deserve far more space than we can here supply, so we make no claim that the history here supplied is as thorough a Thoroughbred history as could be desired.
The first two jumps of the race were won by Cossack in 1851 and 1852.
He would have had to cover 9600 kilometres to win those two races, as the trip in those days was 4800 km. His sire was Australia’s Sir Hercules. We know he won our featured race twice and he had won the 1850 AJC Homebush St. Leger Stakes, but we are accustomed to skimpy records from that era. He produced some foals, but not an exceptional number by stallion standards.
The next two jumps, 1853/54 were won by Sportsman.
His two wins were all of the racing information we located, and his pedigree contains blanks where we would otherwise expect horse names.
Two-time Melbourne Cup winner, winner of the first two jumps, Archer won the in 1862.
He was followed by 1863 and 1864 winner Tarragon.
Tarragon was kind enough to leave some data. He won the Sydney Cup in 1864, along with the Metropolitan Cup. A good win in 1865 was the Sydney Handicap.
Cossack was the winner in 1866.
The winner of the first two jumps would have been around 20 years old in 1866 and this was indeed a different Cossack, but he was of the same sire – Sir Hercules. That was one strong stallion, as he was in his mid-20s before he got the second Cossack.
More Melbourne Cup winners followed.
Tim Whiffler won the Queen’s Plate in 1868 as a gift from The Barb that was disqualified for not carrying the assigned weight. The Barb got to keep the win in 1869 but was unable to prevent Tim Whiffler from winning in 1870 and 1871.
Moving to the second incarnation of the race, the era when it was known as the AJC Derby, we find a Who’s Who of racing royalty. We will mention the multiple winners.
In 1878 and 1879, Chester was the winner.
His form line deserves mention. He made 29 jumps for 19 wins and 7 placings, with wins in the 1877 Melbourne Cup and the Sires’ Produce Stakes. Chester was a leading sire in Australia in four different years as the sire of 26 stakes winners for 104 stakes wins.
The three time winner from 1889 – 1891 was Carbine. We see no need to chronicle Carbine, as his larger-than-life legend is familiar to nearly everyone.
Rather, we will mention that his daughter out of Oratava was the two-time AJC Plate winner La Carabine.
She made 48 jumps for 15 wins and 7 placings, but then had nothing left when it came time to supply foals; we found only two for her.
Next, we have the three-time winner Trafalgar with victories in 1909, 1911 and 1912. His first win came following the 1908 win by Poseidon and his reign was stopped by Prince Foote in 1910 before Trafalgar won twice more.
With Wallace for sire and Carbine for grandsire, Trafalgar is credited with 59 jumps for 24 wins and 17 placings. A few of his other better wins include the Melbourne Stakes, the Randwick Plate, Sydney Cup and a second to Comedy King in the 1910 Melbourne Cup. His stud output was 17 named foals, with just one being a colt.
We are skipping the two-time AJC Plate and 1920 Melbourne Cup winner Poitrel.
We jumped over Poitrel to look more closely at David, the winner of three AJC Plates from 1921 – 1923.
We often mention, tongue in cheek, that many geldings have made so many jumps that they are eligible for induction into the imaginary Pro Group Racing Hall of Fame, where membership is usually reserved for the hardest working racers.
Daivd was that, except he was an entire that made 125 jumps. From those, he won 20 and placed in 29. He won the Randwick Plate three times as well, two Spring Stakes and the 1923 Sydney Cup.
His stud output consisted of 23 foals, although none seemed to enjoy racing success.
In the midst of Windbag (1925 and 1926), followed by Limerick (1927 and 1928 and concluding with 1930 winner Phar Lap, we find the 1929 winner Strephon.
In between such legendary names, we thought Strephon might offer some interest. He won major races, such as the 1929 St. Leger Stakes – the VRC and the AJC versions, and he won the Chipping Norton Stakes in his prime racing year of 1929. His big win was the 1928 Victoria Derby and he was second to Statesman in the 1928 Melbourne Cup.
He had enough ability that he was compared to Phar Lap and Peter Pan, but his story includes an attempt to send him by ship to England. The ship broke down in the Red Sea and by the time Strephon made it to England after a fortnight of extreme heat, he was ruined.
The race was abandoned for two World War II years – 1942 and 1943, by which time we accepted skipping 1933 winner Peter Pan, 1934 winner Rogilla and 1941 winner Beau Vite.
In between Flight (1946) and Carbon Copy, we find the two-time AJC Plate winner Russia (1947 and 1948).
Russia was the winner of the 1946 Melbourne Cup as a six-year-old. He continued to race and win up until the age of nine. In order to win the 1947 Craven Plate, he beat a top runner of the era, Shannon.
Russia was not a great foal-getter, although we counted nine that made some money by racing. He was shipped to America, sold to the same Yank that bought Phar Lap. Russia’s top progeny, three of them, won about $140,000 racing in the U.S.
Leaving the AJC Plate era and moving into the modern era of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes that began in 1954, we find the names of the three-time winner Tulloch. We also overlook some better winners, including Ming Dynasty (1977 and 1980 Caulfield Cup) and numerous others.
Following wins by some of the better types, such as Sydeston (1990), Rough Habit (1992), Might And Power (1998) and Lonhro (2003), we have a two-time winner by the name of Grand Armee (2004 and 2005).
Grand Armee won when the race had been abbreviated to its current 2000 metre trip. A gelding by a U.S. sire, Grand Armee worked for Gai Waterhouse to make 31 jumps for 13 wins and 13 placings for above $5.3 million.
His 2004 win in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes saw him beating Lonhro into second by six lengths in a race that had the Winx-like quality of just six runners, with other potential racers warned off by the name Lonhro. He raced with success while jumping alongside the likes of Makybe Diva, Mummify and others of that type.
Once again, we are compelled to jump forward, ignoring Eremein (2006), Desert War (2007), More Joyous (2012), Reliable Man (2013), It’s A Dundeel (2014) and Winx (2017, 2018, 2019).
This brings us to the most contemporary two-time winner, Addeybb, from 2020 and 2021.
Addeybb beat Veery Elleegant in his 2020 and 2021 Queen Elizabeth Stakes win.
He is currently listed as having a pending status, although he is 10 years old and has not raced in Australia following his 2021 QE Stakes win.
His racing was well managed, as he earned above $6.2 million from just 22 jumps for 12 wins and 6 placings, not many for a gelding. He first appeared in Australia in March of 2020, where he beat Veery Ellegant and Avilius to win the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes. Six jumps followed, with all six resulting in wins or seconds.
The 2022 winner was Think It Over.
A son of the great Kiwi galloper So You Think, the gelding Think It Over is still active, aged eight years, and he collected a nice pay envelope when he won the 7 Stakes, a million dollar race where he beat shorter priced Zaaki and Fangirl.
Whether as the Queen’s Plate, the AJC Plate or the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the race has presented, first, the better stayers and in the modern era, the better middle distance types.
The historical prestige of the race, along with the massive prize money pool ensures this and we will see the best line up possible.
ATC Queen Elizabeth Stakes Past Winners
|2022||Think It Over|
|2014||It's A Dundeel|
|2011||My Kingdom Of Fife|
|2010||Road To Rock|
|1998||Might And Power|
|1989||Our Poetic Prince|
|1981||My Blue Denim|