One of NSW’s legacy races, the Group 1 Queen of the Turf Stakes, is run at Randwick Racecourse under weight-for-age conditions by fillies and mares aged three and above over 1600 metres on one of the biggest race days during the Sydney autumn racing carnival.
The total prize money of $1 million is strong lure for the better fillies and mares, with the winner claiming $580,000.
Queen Of The Turf Stakes Race Details
Race Distance: 1600m
Prize Money: $1,000,000
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When Is The Queen Of The Turf Stakes: 13/4/24
What Time Is The Queen Of The Turf Stakes: TBA
Where Is The Queen Of The Turf Stakes: Randwick Racecourse
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More Details About The Queen Of The Turf Stakes
The top prize for 2023 was captured by Atishu, a New Zealand filly/mare from the Zabeel line.
She took a comfortable 2.5 length win for Chris Waller and Nash Rawiller, beating a handful priced shorter. The handy mare has turned 38 jumps into eight wins and 11 placings as of her last jump in late September 2023, where she placed second in the Group 2 Golden Pendant, her only place since winning the Queen of the Turf Stakes.
Everybody likes a fillies-only race. Throw in mares and you have all the makings of a major event. The Queen of the Turf Stakes is run on one of the biggest race meetings in New South Wales, autumn or spring.
Race schedules can change, but this Saturday meeting, in recent years, offers the Group 1 Sydney Cup, the Australian Oaks and the Sires’ Produce Stakes. Just the one meeting is all that it takes for Randwick to hold one more Group race than Ascot in Perth offers for the entire year.
There has been just one multiple winner of the Queen of the Turf Stakes. It was More Joyous in 2011 and 2012 and no one disputes that not only was she the Queen of the turf, but she was also better known as the Ruler of the turf because she beat many a would-be King of the turf, such as Manighar (2012 Group 1 Australian Cup), Rangirangdoo (2010 Group 1 Doncaster Handicap) and Whobegotyou (2008 Group 1 Caulfield Guineas). History of the Queen of the Turf Stakes
The Queen of the Turf Stakes is rather young by Australian Thoroughbred racing standards. The first jump was in 1972.
This was originally a Rosehill Racecourse race from inception through 2007. It was moved to Canterbury Park for the 2008 edition of the race before returning to Rosehill in 2009 through 2013.
The first name for the race was Queen of the Turf Stakes. There are some who offer that the race is now the Coolmore Legacy Stakes, but no one seems to be having it.
The race moved to Randwick in 2014 to become part of the ATC Championships.
The race has always been 1600 metres, more or less, allowing for the slight difference between 1600 metres and one mile. It was shortened to 1500 metres in 1972, expanded to 1550 metres for the 2008 jump at Canterbury, returned to 1500 metres in 2009 and finally, 1600 metres in 2014.
The race grade was initially Principal but was reclassified as Listed when the current grading system came about in the late 70s. It was lifted to Group 3 in 1985, Group 2 in 1991 and Group 1 in 2005.
Venue for the Queen of the Turf Stakes
Randwick is one of the crown jewels of Australian turf racing.
It first offered racing in 1833, but the track was used for training purposes only in the 1840s. It really swings into top gear in the 1860s and as of 2023, offers more Group grade races than any other track in Oz, although Caulfield in Victoria comes close.
Many of Australia’s legendary races jump at Randwick, such as the Australian Oaks, Doncaster Handicap and the ATC All Aged Stakes.
For jaw dropping money figures though, The Everest offers $15 million in prizemoney, making it for now the undisputed richest turf race in the world.
Racing History of the Queen of the Turf Stakes
As a gender-restricted race, the Queen of the Turf Stakes offers some truly notable names as winners throughout the history of the race. We will be seeking out Group 1 winners, top prize money earners and anything exceptional produced at stud.
The first winner of the race in 1972 was Refulgence.
Refulgence is an actual word that is defined as shining, radiant, glowing. We suspect that since we needed a dictionary to learn this, it probably escapes the ken of most racing fans. Still, we do appreciate the creativity and our vocabulary is expanded.
Hard to believe, but the name Refulgence has been used for a racehorse at least three times.
Our Refulgence was a 1967 mare by King’s Realm, which makes Refulgence’s grand sire Star Kingdom. Others in the line make the tie to celestial imagery. The dam was Lady Brilliant and there were some good racers in the line.
Unfortunately, Refulgence was not one of those racers, as the only win we could verify was the very race that serves as the topic for this article.
As a foaler, she did supply six foals, all fillies. None of those fillies made any significant impact as racers.
Millefleurs was the winner in 1973.
She had major wins in Western Australia, including the West Australian Guineas, Railway Stakes and Lee Steere Stakes. Her wins in the big city were the Queen of the Turf Stakes and the Invitation Stakes.
Despite being served by the likes of Biscay, Bletchingly, Gypsy Kingdom and Vain, none of her offspring, five fillies and one colt, performed well on the track.
Next came Favoured in 1974.
She left a form line of 23 jumps for 13 wins and 3 placings, so this was no plodder that got lucky and won a big race. She beat Leilani to win the race. Other top wins were the 1974 Canterbury Stakes and the Premier Stakes.
She fizzled as a breeder, though, with just three foals, including one by Vain and one by Todman, but none of the three amounted to anything.
The quality of the early winners of the Queen of the Turf Stakes reveals that the race is favoured by the better types, so we accept that skipping ahead will overlook some good racers and breeders, but the name of the 1983 winner, More Rain, was impossible to resist.
We were hoping for some familial connections between More Rain and the two-time Queen of the Turf Stakes winner More Joyous, along with some ties to More Than Ready. More Joyous was indeed sired by More Than Ready, but More Rain did not provide any clear connection to More Than Ready. We had hoped for More Rain as the dam of More Than Ready, but it was not in the pedigree tables. Neither did we see any common ancestors.
As for the racing of More Rain, we could not find a win better than the Queen of the Turf Stakes.
Yet, she had her pick of the stallions, receiving service from Vain, Luskin Star, Encosta De Lago and other such. She supplied her best money earner to Luskin Star. It was a gelding named More Luskin that won just $46,000 and required 71 jumps to reach that figure.
Memphis Blues from 1990 was the last winner with the race at Group 3 grade. We had a glance at her pedigree and thought, “Who were these guys? Never heard of them.” When we looked further into her lines, we found Noholme and Star Kingdom in the line of the side of her sire Semipalatinsk. Semipalatinsk was of U.S. origins, but his racing was done in Italy, if we can get you to believe in horseracing in Italy. Semipalatinsk was responsible for horses that won above $19 million, including a gelding out of Snow Chariot foaled in 2002 named Ice Chariot that won over $1.2 million in Oz money, including a Group 1 win in the 2006 Queensland Derby.
One of her offspring, a gelding named Picablu, won $392,000, but he was jumped 92 times, which averages out to $4600 per race.
A handy New Zealand mare was the 1992 Queen of the Turf Stakes winner Romanee Conti. She raced just 27 times for seven wins, nine placings and $729,000 NZD in prize money.
She supplied nine named foals at stud, six of which earned some money. The top of these was Ethereal, winner of the 2001 Melbourne Cup.
We are jumping from 1992 to 2005, when Ike’s Dream won the Queen of the Turf Stakes the first year it was graded at Group 1.
She made 34 jumps for six wins and eight placings on her way to collecting just above $1 million in earnings. Her other Group 1 jumps proved that she was not quite good enough to beat the likes of Desert War, Ermein, Dance Hero and those sorts, but she did cross for second ahead of Shameka in the 2004 Group 2 Surround Stakes.
Two colts represent her entire stud output and Flying Spur and Redout’s Choice for sires did not get anything out of her.
Divine Madonna was the winner in 2007 and from 2005 forward, after the race was elevated to Group 1 grade, some better types started showing up for the run.
Divine Madonna won three other Group 1 races and she put together a form line of 26 jumps for eight wins and seven placings – good for just above $2 million in prize money. Of all her jumps, there were only two occasions where she finished worse than fifth.
Divine Madonna beat the better galloper Niconero on two occasions.
She was the supplier of six fillies and three colts, served by the best of the best, including Exceed And Excel, Lonhro, Street Cry and the list goes on. Two of the fillies were handy, but that’s about it.
The remarkable Typhoon Tracy was the winner in 2010.
She won nearly $2 million from just 16 jumps for 10 wins and two placings. Other good wins were the Coolmore Classic, C F Orr Stakes in 2010 and 2011 and the Futurity Stakes in 2010.
She was declared Australian Racehorse of the year and Australian Champion Middle Distance Racehorse in 2010. Those two in the same year make us suspect that there are too many awards.
Tragically, Typhoon Tracy died soon after dropping her first foal by Street Cry, so she was limited to one progeny.
Next came the sole multiple winner, More Joyous.
She won the Queen of the Turf Stakes in 2011 and 2012.
More Joyous brought in above $4.5 million by making 33 jumps for a stunning 21 wins and three placings. This equates to an approximately 64% winning strike rate, with her place rate at nearly 73%.
Eight of her 21 wins were Group 1 races. Like Typhoon Tracy, she was Australian Champion Middle Distance Racehorse, but in 2012.
Other top wins were the 2012 Doncaster Handicap and the 2012 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Better stallions including Snitzel and Fastnet Rock, to mention two, failed to get much out of her, other than a filly named Joyous Legend by Snitzel that earned respectable money for just 10 jumps.
The good mare Azkadellia was the inner in 2016.
She was a Kiwi by an Irish sire that made 17 jumps for three wins and five placings. She parlayed that into above $1.5 million. We don’t know if she was a rorter, but she was disqualified from seven races and the Queen of the Turf Stakes was her only significant win, although she did place twice following her win while racing in the Queensland Group races.
Alizee was a better winner from 2018.
She won above $3.1 million from 209 jumps for 10 wins and six placings. She took the Group 1 Futurity Stakes in 2019, beating two top boys in Malaguerra and Hartnell. She was ahead of Le Romain on one occasion, but Scales Of Justice and Mystic Journey were too much for her.
She has one listed foal, and 2021 filly by I Am Invincible that has not and may never race.
Nettoyer from 2021 turned 45 jumps into seven wins and eight placings for $2.5 million.
Her win in the Queen of the Turf Stakes was at Probabeel’s expense and she had a big Group 1 win in the 2020 Doncaster Handicap. The Queen of the Turf Stakes was her last win, followed by four jumps without placing.
We conclude for now with the 2022 winner Nimalee.
She was a 2016 filly by So You Think that turned 27 jumps into $1.7 million by winning eight times and placing eight times.
It was interesting to follow the Queen of the Turf Stakes through its inception through the other grades until Group 1 status was achieved in 2005.
The quality of the racers improved as a result of the increase in prestige and prize money in a way that was clearly discernible.
Queen Of The Turf Stakes Past Winners
|2020||Con Te Partiro|
|2004||In A Bound|
|1995||Light Up The World|
|1994||The Perfume Garden|
|1982||C'Est Si Bon|