The Group 2 Skyline Stakes is a 1200-metre race for two-year-old colts and geldings run under set weight conditions at Randwick Racecourse in late February or early March.
Prizemoney for the race in the lead-up to the 2023 jump is $250,000.
Skyline Stakes Race Details
Race Distance: 1200m
Prize Money: $250,000
How To Bet On The Skyline Stakes
Our Top 3 Recommended Online Bookmakers To Bet With For The Skyline Stakes:
Skyline Stakes Betting Tips
When Is The Skyline Stakes: 24/2/24
What Time Is The Skyline Stakes: TBA
Where Is The Skyline Stakes: Randwick Racecourse
How To Live Stream The Skyline Stakes
To live stream the Skyline Stakes, TAB Account Holders can watch the race live.
More Details About The Skyline Stakes
Promitto captured $111,350 for his easy win in 2022.
The promising gelding by Group 1 winner Divine Prophet with lines extending to the likes of Choisir, Encosta De Lago, Biscay and others is showing potential, but has had bad fortune at Group 1, disqualified in the Golden Rose and 10th in the Spring Champion Stakes.
More Details about the Skyline Stakes
The Skyline Stakes currently jumps at a Randwick meeting that features the Group 1s Chipping Norton Stakes and Surround Stakes. The distaff version of the Skyline Stakes, the Group 2 Sweet Embrace Stakes is staged alongside the Group 2 Guy Walter Stakes for a day filled with the better gallopers.
A key element to the race is that the winner is exempt from balloting for the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes, which has often found the winner from the Skyline Stakes adding to his haul by winning the $5 million Golden Slipper top prize of $2.8 million.
The ballot exemption to the Golden Slipper Stakes has proven valuable to Sir Dapper (1983), Star Watch (1988), Guineas (1997), Prowl (1998) and Dance Hero (2004). All five won the Slipper after winning the Skyline Stakes.
History of the Skyline Stakes
Skyline was the name of a 1955 colt resulting from the pairing of Star Kingdom of Ireland and Australian dam Flight’s Daughter. Star Kingdom is/was one of the more significant contributors of equine DNA in the history of the sport in Australia. He was not the best racer and while none of his offspring, with the exception of Todman, was especially adept, generations of winning Australian Thoroughbred gallopers have some connection to Star Kingdom.
The Skyline Stakes was first run in 1979. Followers of Australian Thoroughbred history will recognise 1979 as the year the ARB started using the Group grading system.
The Skyline Stakes jumped as a Principal race for the first year, advancing to Listed grade in 1980. We occasionally encounter Listed races described as Group 4, which is fine by us.
The race was promoted again in 1987 to Group 3 and has been Group 2 from 2013 onwards.
The race has been staged at all the Sydney metro courses. It began at Canterbury Park Racecourse until 1995. It shifted to Rosehill until 1999, and then returned to Canterbury from 2000 – 2005.
Five jumps at Randwick followed before Warwick Farm Racecourse and Randwick alternated through 2015.
The race has remained at Randwick from 2016 onwards.
Venue for the Skyline Stakes
Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney is one of the premier metro racecourses in Australia. The nabobs at the ATC are quick to point out that Randwick was staging races as far back as 1833, seven years before Flemington came along.
By sheer numbers, Randwick holds more Group races than any other track, although Caulfield is pretty close.
The major attraction is a special conditions race called The Everest, which from 2017 onwards has been able to bill itself as the world’s richest turf race.
The elite legacy races include the Australian Derby, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and many others.
For a 1200-metre race such as the Skyline Stakes, the horses jump from a chute on the east side of the course, and then hit a 550-metre straight that takes them through a sweeping turn at the northernmost extremity of the track. From there, it is onto the home straight for the dash to the finish line on the east side of the track.
Racing History of the Skyline Stakes
The Skyline Stakes has supplied some true notables for winners since the race first jumped in 1979. Shogun Lodge, winner from 1999, is the first, but the wait was only until 2002 to find the name of Choisir. In 2005, there was Snitzel and 2015 supplied Exosphere. Those first three have their DNA running through the lines of some of the best racers to take to the turf. Exosphere is also prolific and some of his offspring have been quite respectable gallopers.
We will be looking for two-year-old colts and geldings that have gone on to better wins. We will also look into progeny records looking for sires of major racers. We will be keeping our fingers crossed that the race has not been won by a gelding every year.
The first winner from 1979 was Top Hat Joe.
He deserves mention solely for winning the race the first time it jumped. Neither his racing record, which suggests that the Skyline Stakes was his best win, nor his non-existent progeny record suggests anything more for Top Hat Joe.
The next winner was Cosmic Delight.
We mention him as evidence that what we reported earlier about Star Kingdom was true. Cosmic Delight was a gelding, but his sire was Planet Kingdom, begat by Star Kingdom that was begat by Stardust that was begat by Stardust that was begat by Hyperion. Thus, there are lines to Gainsborough.
The racing record for Cosmic Delight, like that for Top Hat Joe, suggests that the Skyline Stakes was the best Cosmic Delight could produce.
Domino, from 1981 was the son of Gunsynd, suffice it to say not Gunsynd’s best.
The best over the course of the early jumps of the Skyline Stakes was the 1983 winner, Sir Dapper. He was by Vain from a New Zealand mare named Sikri.
Sir Dapper made just 18 jumps, but he won 13 of those and place in four others. He earned what was good money in the early 80s – over $620,000.
In addition to his win in the Golden Slipper, he won the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes.
Sir Dapper was a prolific sire that supplied many black type winners.
Hula Drum, winner from 1984, was a Kiwi horse that raced only nine times, but he was a Group 1 winner of the George Ryder Stakes. He also posted seconds in the 1985 Group 1 Newmarket Handicap and the Group 1 All-Aged Stakes.
Jumping forward a bit, we come to the 1988 winner, Star Watch.
His sire was Bletchingly, by Biscay, by Star Kingdom, so once again, there is that connection.
Star Watch was the second galloper to win the Golden Slipper Stakes coming off a win in the Skyline Stakes. Star Watch sired many offspring, as his lines would suggest. Several of those progeny where high six-figure earners and 1991’s Hurricane Sky out of Dancing Show was near the million dollar mark in earnings when he retired with Group 1 wins in the Blue Diamond Stakes in 1994 and the All Aged Stakes in 1995.
Show County was a better racer that won in 1989 and amassed over $1 million from 27 jumps for 12 wins and 6 placings. His grandsire was Vain, so we were a bit nonplussed to find no progeny record for this bloke.
Big Dreams was the 1991 winner that won over $1.1 million from 53 jumps for 12 wins and 15 placings. His fourth jump and fourth win came in the Skyline Stakes at Group 3, followed by the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes. After multiple placings and high finishes in better races, he won consecutive Group 2 wins in the Peter Pan Stakes and the Gloaming Stakes.
This gelding by an Irish sire Never made it across first in a Group 1 race, but he was often well placed, with exceptions for some of the tougher races, such as the Epsom Handicap and others of that rank.
Time and space dictates inform us that we need to skip ahead to have a look at the 1999 winner, Shogun Lodge.
Shogun Lodge earned over $4.6 million form 58 jumps for 13 wins and 20 placings. He ran third off his Golden Slipper ballot exemption. He won the Group 1 George Main Stakes, beating Sunline in the bargain! He won the Epson Handicap in 2000.
He died of a heart attack racing in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes at Flemington in 2003.
A couple years later, the notable Choisir won the 2002 Skyline Stakes.
One of his achievements was that of being the first horse from the southern hemisphere to win the Group 2 King’s Stand and the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes double at Royal Ascot in Great Britain.
Seven wins and 11 placings form 23 jumps and over $2.5 million is Choisir’s form line.
Choisir was sire to dozens of stakes winners. Eloping was a good one that earned above $1.1 million. Another was a 2012 gelding out of Haiku that was named Japonisme, winner of more than $1.2 million. Obviously was an Irish gelding from 2008 that won above $2.3 million. A 2010 horse named Olympic Glory earned above £1.4 million, which is a gazillion in Oz dollars. Sacred Choice a 2005 filly out of Sacred Habit, won more than $2.1 million. Then there is Snapdancer, a 2017 filly out of Snapdragon that won over $2 million. Many Choisir offspring, more than we could count, earned between $500,000 and $1 million. Even those that did not win big races earned money and stuck around to pass Choisir’s chromosomes to future lines.
Snitzel won the Skyline Stakes in 2005 and was our best horse racing tips for that day.
He won just above $1 million from 15 jumps for seven wins and four placings. The Oakleigh Plate was his only Group 1 win, but the son of Redoute’s Choice is a three time champion stud, sire of the $3.2 million stakes winning Away Game. Best Of Bordeaux was a 2019 colt that won more than $1.4 million from seven jumps for three wins and three placings. A 2015 mare named Estijaab has won above $2.2 million and a 2016 filly named Exhilarates won above $2.4 million. Scrolling through the list, we found about eight more Snitzel offspring that won above $1 million – well above – not stopping until we came to the 2014 horse from Treppes that was named Trapeze Artist and won more than $5.5 million.
Skipping the entirety of the next decade because we wanted to look closely at the 2015 Skyline Stakes winner, which was Exosphere.
Exosphere won above $1 million with 10 jumps for five wins. His Group 1 triumph came in the 2015 Golden Rose Stakes. With Lonhro for his sire, Exosphere was expected to win, and he did.
In winning the Skyline Stakes, Exosphere hung around mid-pack until it was time for the final kick. Newspaper reports say, “He (Exosphere) unleashed a sprint that had the race settle in a matter of strides.”
Retired after a final jump at Randwick in 2016, Exosphere is already producing offspring at break-neck speed. His offspring are plentiful, if not particularly adept at racing, but with those lines, it is only a question of time.
The next we will examine is the 2019 winner, Microphone.
Microphone won almost $2 million for 11 jumps for five wins and five placings. His sire was Exceed And Excel, and that is exactly what Microphone did. After winning the Skyline Stakes, he was second a length to Kiamichi in the Golden Slipper Stakes. That disappointment was short-lived, as his next jump saw him extract revenge, thrusting Kiamichi into third and beating Loving Gaby into second nearly a length in the Group 1 Sires’ Produce Stakes.
Microphone is just getting started in his new career as a server of mares at Kelvinside, NSW. He has five offspring to date, all from 2021, so that part of Microphone’s legacy will have to wait a bit.
The 2021 winner, a gelding by Fastnet Rock named O'President is no longer racing in Australia.
The Skyline Stakes showed us more good winners than we expected.
Any list of winners that includes the likes of Choisir, Snitzel and Grand Lodge is an impressive list.
We found many winners of beyond $1 million, along with sires that more than justified their acquisition, training, racing and breeding expenses.
Skyline Stakes Past Winners
|2013||All The Talk|
|1979||Top Hat Joe|