The Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes is a three-year-old race run at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney under set weight conditions over a course of 1500 metres. Colts and geldings carry 56.5 kg and fillies receive 54.5 kg.
The race will be found on the Australian Thoroughbred racing calendar sometime around late September and early October.
For 2021, the race was take place on 9 October.
Prizemoney for the race is $250,000.
The winner in 2020 was a horse named Peltzer that has now been retired from the track. He was kept whole in order to pass on the line of his sire, the great So You Think.
History of the Stan Fox Stakes
The Stan Fox Stakes was run for the first time in 1975. Stan Fox was a prominent NSW businessman who liked to breed and race horses. He died in 1974, so he never got to see the race jump with his name on it.
From the 1975 inception until 1985, the race was classified as a Principal race. It is run on the same day as the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes, the Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes and the Group 3 Angst Stakes.
From 1985 – 1988, the race was elevated to Listed status, if moving from Principal to Listed is actually an improvement and not simply a lateral shift. It did achieve Group 3 status in 1989 and in 1996, it was classified as a Group 2 race.
The Stan Fox Stakes was a 1400-metre trip from the beginning until 2011, when it was lengthened to the current 1500-metre distance.
The race was abandoned in 200, the year the equine influenza outbreak wrought havoc with racing in NSW.
Race Venue for the Stan Fox Stakes
The race started at Randwick until 2004. It was move to Warwick Farm for that year, and then returned to Randwick from 2005 – 2010. It shifted to Rosehill Racecourse from 2011 – 2018 and has now returned to Randwick.
Everyone in the Sydney metro area has seen the Stan Fox Stakes run near them, it would seem.
Since the current venue is Sydney’s premier track, Royal Randwick, here is a quick look at the course.
The Governor of NSW at the time, Richard Bourke, set aside land for a racecourse in Sydney in 1833. There was racing until 1840. Afterwards, the site was used only for training.
The Australian Jockey Club (AJC), established in 1840, moved to Randwick in 1860 and racing began in May of that year.
As of 2021, Randwick stages 20 Group 1, 18 Group 2 and 11 Group 3 races.
Randwick is also used for purposes other than racing, such as concerts and visits from the Pope, such as when Pope Paul VI came in 1995 for a ceremony honouring the first potential Australian saint.
On learning that, our minds instantly leapt to Bill Waterhouse. Surely, there’s a saint if ever there was one. We also thought Black Caviar and Winx would have made good candidates, but our understanding of Roman Catholic dogma suggests that all saints be of the human species, so back to Big Bill.
Randwick also stages some races that are not classified under the Group system, the most important of which is The Everest, which is run in October and is the richest turf race in the world.
For a 1400-metre race such as the Stan Fox Stakes, the start is a straight chute that is on the south side of the track. They race for two turns, and then head southeast to finish in front of the grandstands.
For a more detailed look at Randwick, visit our page devoted to the course here:
Racing History of the Stan Fox Stakes
The history of the Stan Fox Stakes presents a good/news bad news scenario for anyone looking at the previous winners of the race.
The good news is that since it is a newer race, records are a little more complete.
The bad news is that Group 2 races are almost a forgotten stepchild in the Thoroughbred racing universe. Owners and trainers with horses that have run well and/or won Listed and Group 3 races often target Group 1 races for obvious reasons. This fact comes into play even more in some instances where Group 3 prizemoney is almost level with Group 2 prizemoney.
The Stan Fox Stakes has been run 46 times as of mid-2021. There has never been a repeat winner.
As for greats of the Australian turf, the Stan Fox Stakes claims just two, Octagonal (1995) and Lonhro (2001).
Since the list of winners is not long, we intend to look at each one briefly in the event that there is a diamond in the rough or a roughie wearing diamonds.
The first winner was Hydahban in 1975.
He was good enough to win the Stan Fox Stakes, but we found little else about his record or whether he won any other major races. All of the lines on the side of his Irish sire Dahban were northern hemisphere horses. His Australian lines were through his mum, Robyn View that was out of Redbreast. Further back is the Australian mare Caranza and a New Zealand mare named Purple Lilac.
The 1976 winner, Gentle James, was likewise a little-known-less remembered stallion. We know he won the Stan Fox Stakes when it was 1200 metres.
The list of Stan Fox Stakes winners from 1977 through 1986 is populated with lesser-known horses whose chief racing accomplishment seems to be winning this race.
Acamar (1978) seems to have the Stan Fox as her only significant win. She won the 1979 Ramornie Handicap (1200 m), a race run at Grafton that currently has Listed status with a hefty $200,000 prizemoney pool.
While the Ramornie Handicap has given us modestly modest horses, the thing that jumps off the page is that some of the winners have had prestigious sires, the like of Choisir, Lonhro and Written Tycoon, Snitzel and Exceed And Excel.
1980 Stan Fox Stakes winner Integrity was an honest galloper, but with Vain for a sire, Wilkes for a grandsire and Todman for a damsire, it would seem that Integrity had owners with high expectations that were never met.
Note Of Victory, the 1981 winner, had five other wins, but none of them were significant wins or major races.
Wild Rice, the winner for 1982, had Biscay for a sire, so Wild Rice was one of the offspring that won a little money.
Winner of the Stan Fox Stakes in 1983, All Chant was okay and won the Group 3 1984 AJC Royal Sovereign Stakes, the Listed AJC Hall Mark Stakes and the Listed 1986 STC Winter Handicap.
In 1985, it was Crossroads winning.
Along with the Stan Fox Stakes, we know that Crossroads won the Gosford Racing Club Winfield Classic. The more interesting aspect to this horse is that his grandsire was Todman, a Golden Slipper Stakes winner.
Top Avenger, the winner from 1986 was another that had a lofty pedigree that availed him not. He won the Group 3 NJC Penfolds Classic as well.
The interesting fact for most of these minor horses is that they had lines connecting them to Ireland’s Star Kingdom.
High Regard, the 1987 winner is the first we found that had anything even mildly impressive in his racing resume.
The Stan Fox Stakes was by this year of 1987 rated at Listed quality. He won the Group 1 STC Canterbury Guineas, four Group 2 and one Group 3 race. Like the earlier winners, High Regard had lines to Star Kingdom. He won almost $800,000, which was a tidy sum back in the 80s.
From The Planet was the next winner in 1988.
From The Planet was bona fide, the best in the winners list to this stage. Yes, he had ties to Star Kingdom. He won the Group 1 AJC Epsom Handicap in 1989 and the Group 2 Theo Marks, also in 1989.
That year of 1989 is significant in that the Stan Fox Stakes was a Group 3 race for the first time, with the win going to Show County.
Show County was a million dollar winner with 12 wins and six placings from 27 jumps. His grandsire was Vain. We found it somewhat odd that we could not retrieve much of anything about his racing. We know that the Stan Fox Stakes was his longest win, with 11 of his wins coming at 1200 metres or less, including four wins at 1000 metres. There is a race run in his honour, the quality handicap Show County Quality at Randwick.
A little further digging revealed that he won the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes and the Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes. Another good win was the Group 2 Skyline Stakes.
Sir Patrick from 1990 is yet another with lines connecting him to Star Kingdom.
Ghost Story from 1992 was a good Group 3 galloper.
Campaign Warrior from 1993 was by Opera Prince. Opera Prince was by Bletchingly. Bletchingly was by Biscay and Biscay was by?
Extra credit to anyone who says Star Kingdom.
Campaign Warrior won some other races, including the 1995 Group 3 Naturalism Stakes over 2000 metres, although at that time, it was a Listed race.
The year of 1994 supplies us with Marwina.
She was a modest winner in terms of prizemoney – just under $390,000. Right after winning, she partnered with jockey Jim Cassidy to nearly snatch the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas from St. Covet, but when they reached the line, St. Covet had opened up a one-length lead.
When we encountered the name of 1995 Stan Fox Stakes winner Octagonal, we at first thought it was a mistake.
If you are ever bored and need a distraction, visit the Wikipedia page of the Stan Fox Stakes and click on Octagonal. You will be directed to a page that explains the geometry of an octagon.
Octagonal the horse, not the adjective for describing an eight-sided shape, was one of the best ever to step hoof on Australian turf. We saw his name and thought they had put him in the wrong race, but every horse has to pay its dues, we suppose.
Octagon won almost $6 million from just 28 jumps, but he won 14 of those and placed in a further eight. Two races after winning the Stan Fox, Octagonal won the 1995 Cox Plate, beating Mahogany.
Octagonal won multiple Group 1 races, beating great gallopers such as Arkady, Juggler and Saintly, to mention just three.
Further details about this Hall of Fame Thoroughbred can be found here:
The next year of 1996 saw the Stan Fox Stakes raised to Group 2, with the winner being West Point.
The Stan Fox Stakes was his second race and his first major win. The race prior, a minor handicap at Rosehill, was his only other win. Neither Gai Waterhouse nor Lee Freedman could ever get much from him. He managed a fourth place run in the 1997 Group 1 Canterbury Guineas, beaten well by Intergaze, Might And Power and Great Command.
Skipping ahead to 2001, we find the only other truly significant winner in Lonhro. Like Octagonal, we did not expect to see this loft figure in the winners list.
Lonhro earned almost $5.8 million form 35 jumps for 26 wins and five placings. He won all manner of big races and just about every award on offer, too many to list here.
Lonhro, aka “The Black Flash,” deserves his own PGR page and that page is here:
The winners since Lonhro did not offer anything especially significant. After Octagonal and Lonhro, everything would be a letdown.
Press Statement, winner in 2015, was good enough to beat Le Romain in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes, but he was over three horses behind Winx in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes. He did win at Group 1 level, taking the J J Atkins Stakes at Doomben and the Caulfield Guineas that same year.
The rest of the winners were okay.
The last time the race was run, in 2020, Peltzer was the winner. He was a good racer, but with valuable DNA, such as sire So You Think and other famous ancestors, Peltzer was limited to 13 jumps for six wins and one placing and just over $1 million.
It was interesting to see the quality of horses to win the Stan Fox Stakes grow as the race grew.
While only Octagonal and Lonhro were truly notable winners, winning at Group 2 level is no mean feat.
The other thing we found interesting was the number of winners with close ties to the important sire Star Kingdom.
|Year||Stan Fox Stakes Winner|
|2014||Shooting To Win|
|1988||From The Planet|
|1981||Note Of Victory|