The Shannon Stakes is a Group 2 race of 1500 metres that jumps in late September at Sydney’s Rosehill Racecourse.
Running conditions for the race are open handicap for horses three years and above.
Shannon Stakes Race Details
Race Distance: 1500m
Prize Money: $200,000
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When Is The Shannon Stakes: 24/9/22
What Time Is The Shannon Stakes: TBA
Where Is The Shannon Stakes: Rosehill Racecourse
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More Details About The Shannon Stakes
Prizemoney for the race as of 2021 is $200,000.
The winner’s share of the purse for 2021 was $109,350 and it went to Yonkers, a U.S. horse by Medaglia D’ Oro out of Ireland’s Anne Of Kiev that is trained by Chris Waller.
Yonkers can be seen winning the race by a whisker from the Gai Waterhouse and Bott trained Discharged, with another Waller horse, Reloaded, about a neck further back at the following link.
History of the Shannon Stakes
The Shannon Stakes is a newer race, having first been run in 1978.
It was initially called the Shannon Quality Stakes from 1978 through 1997, and was then shortened to the Shannon Stakes from 1998 forward. The race has had various sponsor names added. For example, the sponsor for the 2021 was Ned Whisky, so Ned Whisky Shannon Stakes was the appealing name.
As long as Shannon Stakes is the key aspect of the name, we will report that the race is named for a 1941-foaled stallion by that name that came out of Kia-Ora Stud in NSW. Shannon was good enough to be inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2006.
He was winning major races during World War II and beyond. A couple of his big wins were the 1944 AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes and the 1945 Epsom Handicap. He was a major bargain for owner/trainer Peter Riddle, who bought Shannon at the Kia-Ora yearling sale for a mere £367.
Shannon was setting course records in Australia when he was sold to an American buyer and exported to the U.S. in 1948, where he won five major races in that year. He later served in the U.S. as a good sire.
The Shannon Stakes winner receives a ballot exemption for the Epsom Handicap.
The race was rated as Principal form inception through 1984, receiving Group 3 status in 1985 and reaching the current Group 2 level in 2001.
The trip for the Shannon Stakes has been mostly constant at 1500 metres, with the exception of 1991, when it covered an extra 50 metres, and 2001, when it was shortened to 1400 metres.
That year of 1991 and a trip of 1550 metres, the race was temporarily shifted to Canterbury Park Racecourse for one race.
Race Venue for the Shannon Stakes
Sydney’s number two metro course Rosehill is the venue for the Shannon Stakes.
The Australian Turf Club are the current owners. The marquee race at the track is the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes for two-year-olds. The not-yet classified Golden Eagle mega-money-race ($7.5 million) is run at Rosehill on the first Saturday in November.
Nine Group 1, 13 Group 2 and 14 Group 3 races are staged there annually, as of 2021.
For 1500-metre races at Rosehill, the horses start in a chute on the east side of the course, which gives them a 450-metre gallop to the first turn. They navigate the tight turn at the south extremity of the course, and then head past the grandstands to the post.
Racing History of the Shannon Stakes
As a quality handicap without any sex or age restrictions, you might expect the list of winners to include multiple horses that won the Shannon Stakes on more than one occasion.
That expectation would not be met, however, as only Never Quit from 1987 and 1988 has one more than one Shannon Stakes victory.
Whether winners tried and failed, or simply did not show up to try the race again is what we hope to determine. Then too, Group 2 races seem to be overlooked a bit. Many of the Group 2 races have Group 1 money without the Group 1 label, but it is also true that there are Group 3 races with Group 2 prizemoney that fail by other measures to achieve a better level.
We saw nary a familiar name of the list of horses that have won the Shannon Stakes. Well, we saw a couple, but they were minor gallopers in the sense that there were no Hall of Fame winners, no Kingston Towns, no Winxes, not even a Hartnell or a Black Heart Bart.
As of 2021, the race has jumped 43 times, allowing for the year of 2007 when many NSW races were abandoned to stop the spread of equine influenza.
The firs winner was 1978’s For All Seasons.
We learned only that For All Seasons was by Todman, with the inescapable name of Ireland’s Star Kingdom for a grandsire. Those lines trace back to Great Britain’s Hyperion and Gainsborough, familiar names we often encounter when looking into race winners.
Maybe they should have called For All Seasons For Some Seasons, but the racing record he left behind leads us to think he would have been more aptly named For No Reason.
The race went to a mare named Stylee in 1979.
Like For All Seasons, she had Star Kingdom for her grandsire, with all that implies about her pedigree. Stylee won a few races in 1979, one in Brisbane, the Shannon Quality and the NJC Newmarket Handicap, but we must be careful to point out that the Newcastle Jockey Club Newmarket Handicap is a far cry from the Group 1 race staged at Flemington.
The name of the 1980 winner, Star Dancer, struck a chord with us and we soon found another example of a great pedigree wasted on an average horse. The lines on Star Dancer’s sire’s side include the famous Canadian Northern Dancer and the U.S.’s Native Dancer, but Star Dancer was nothing like them, or any of the others in the line, such as Nearctic, Nearco, Natalma and Hyperion.
The winner from 1981 was Prince Pherozshah, a completely forgettable galloper with a forgotten race record that indicates just two jumps.
Dalmacia from 1982 is the first truly decent winner we have seen.
He was a New Zealander that made 24 jumps for nine wins and for placings. He won two Group 1 races, the AJC Epsom Handicap (suggestion: Epsom printers should sponsor the race so we could call it the Epsom Epsom Handicap), and the STC Rawson Stakes. He also won the Frank Packer Plate that same year before it was relegated from Group 2 to Group 3. Dalmacia’s other good win was the then-Group-2-now-Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes, so Dalmacia is in good company that includes great champions such as Windbag, Amounis, Phar Lap, Tulloch and Winx.
The 1983 winner, Gelsomino, was another New Zealander, but she was a mare, the first to win the Shannon Stakes. She won the AJC Flight Stakes in 1982 when it was classified as Group 2, three years before the race jumped to Group 1.
Another mare won the Shannon Stakes in 1984.
She was Eastern Bay and like Gelsomino, was deemed a New Zealand product.
Double Dandy from 1985 was another New Zealand horse. He had Star Kingdom on his dam’s side four generations back. His win came in the first year the Shannon Stakes was classified as a Group 3 race.
The 1986 winner, Drawn, was a good one, the best we have encountered to this stage in Shannon Stakes history.
Drawn would win at Group 1 level with the 1985 Caulfield Guineas, the 1986 All-Aged Stakes and the Rosehill Guineas. He won the AJC Apollo Stakes as a Group 2 victory.
The years of 1987 and 1988 belonged to the only two-time winner of the Shannon Stakes.
It was Never Quit that we mentioned earlier.
Never Quit could have been Never Quite. He had some good placings in better races, including a third in the 1988 Epsom Handicap. He had good wins in the Frank Packer Plate the Prime Ministers’ Cup in 1987.
Drawn, the best we had found was surpassed by 1989 winner Cole Diesel, at least in terms of prizemoney. He won over $1.1 million from 11 wins and nine placings from 42 jumps. That same year, he won the Caulfield Cup from as wide as could be with a finishing burst that beat a good field that included Super Impose. That Caulfield Cup win can be viewed at the following link.
The winner from 1990 was a New Zealand horse named Go Bush. He was foaled in 1983 and so was an older sort when he won the race, which finds favour in our eyes.
Soho Square from 1993 was better than many. While he may have received a ballot exemption for the 1993 Epsom Handicap, he did not use it. He had won the Doncaster Handicap in 1992, though and won more than $1.4 million. He lined up against Schillaci, but never quite managed to get by him.
Sprint By from 1995 won the Group 1 Doncaster Handicap in 1996, beating 1996 Shannon Stakes winner Juggler into third.
Juggler won in 1996 and won over $2.4 million. He won the Group 1 George main Stakes from Filante in his next jump following his win in the Shannon Stakes. He then won the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes from magnet Bay and he beat none less that Octagon in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes. He was second to Octagonal in the Group 1 Chipping Norton and third to Octagonal in the Group 1 Australian Cup.
When Quick Flick won the Shannon Stakes in 1997, he beat none other than Might And Power by a comfortable margin. Quick Flick’s sole victory at Group 1 level came in the 1998 George Ryder Stakes.
Referral from 1999 beat Juggler twice, once to win the Group 2 Villiers Stakes and again in the Group 1 George Ryder. The 1999 Shannon Stakes was his last win and when we see him lining up against the likes of Lonhro, Northerly and Shogun Lodge, Sunline and Tie The Knot, it is not hard to see why.
Before winning the Shannon Stakes in 2000 as his final win and his next-to-last start, Al Mansour had beaten Bonanova in the 2000 Group 1 George Ryder Stakes.
Lotteria from 2005 would go on to finish in between winner Makybe Diva and Fields Of Omagh in the 2005 Cox Plate, and then would win next up in the Group 1 Meyer Classic. She had the lead over the Diva with 400 metres to go in the Cox Plate, but could not hold on, as she was probably not suited for longer trips.
Drumbeats, Shannon Stakes winner in 2009, had a nice seat when finishing third to More Joyous in the 2010 Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes.
Following the 2005 win by Lotteria, it was predominantly modest gallopers that won the Shannon Stakes.
We skipped ahead to 2016 to find Moral Victory winning.
Some of our victories are moral only, while some are Pyrrhic, but most of them are hollow. Similar could be said of Moral Victory, because outside of the Shannon Stakes, he was running in benchmark races for the most part. He finished well back when they lined him up for the Group 1 Toorak Handicap.
Washington Heights from 2017 never attained much altitude and it seems as though the Shannon Stakes was his only win at Group level.
Noire from 2018 was okay. She beat Invincibella to win the Shannon Stakes. It was her last win at Group level. Make that her only win at Group level.
Mister Sea Wolf from 2019 managed to win over $1.6 million, but it was more a case of persistence, with 57 jumps. He did win 12 times and place in another 11 races. He beat a good horse in Tom Melbourne into third when he won the Shannon Stakes.
We will mention here that we have seen the field sizes for the Shannon Stakes shrink in recent years, which probably accounts for the mostly competent winners.
I Am Superman from 2020 was anything but super, but he is still active as of late 2021, winning the Group 2 Ajax Stakes in March. He can be seen winning the Shannon Stakes at the following link.
We were surprised to learn that some good gallopers won the Shannon Stakes, more so in the earlier years than in recent times.
Many of the winners spent many races at the country tracks before proving they could be tried at Listed and Group level, with the early years supplying some horses capable of winning Group 1 races.
Shannon Stakes Past Winners
|2020||I Am Superman|
|2019||Mister Sea Wolf|
|1998||Armed For Action|
|1994||Play Or Pay|
|1978||For All Seasons|