The Group 2 Tramway Stakes is a Group 2 race for horses of either gender that are aged three years and above. It is run in September at Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse under set weight plus penalty conditions over 1400 metres.
Tramway Stakes Race Details
Race Distance: 1400m
Prize Money: $200,000
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When Is The Tramway Stakes: 3/9/22
What Time Is The Tramway Stakes: TBA
Where Is The Tramway Stakes: Randwick Racecourse
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More Details About The Tramway Stakes
Prizemoney for the race is $200,000.
A British import named Zaaki won the race in 2021, and then went to beat Probabeel and Superstorm in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes.
Zaaki earned $111,350 for the win, which represents just a small percentage of the $7.2 million the now seven-year-old gelding has amassed from his racing in England and Australia. He prevented Dreamforce from becoming the first to win three Tramway Stakes. Zaaki had an easy time of it, winning by two lengths while being eased.
History of the Tramway Stakes
The Tramway Stakes or the officially registered name Tramway Stakes made its debut in 1886. It was a Principal race at the time and when the Group race classification system showed up in 1979, it was made a listed event. It was promoted to Group 3 in 1984 and has been a Group 2 race since 2014.
The race has moved around Sydney’s metro courses, but it has been at Rosehill just once in 2000 after spending the prior years at Randwick. It shifted to Warwick Farm for 2004 before going back to Randwick for the two races in 2011 and 2012. It has remained at Randwick since 2013.
The trip for the race has been fairly constant – seven furlongs back in those days, 1400 metres now. It was shortened by 50 metres for the 2000 edition and 1300 metres for 2001. Since, it has held steady at 1400 metres, that confounding distance that tests the pure sprinters and often leaves the middle-distance horses wishing for more turf.
Venue for the Tramway Stakes
Royal Randwick is located seven kilometres south of the central business district. Someone working in an office could get to the track, have a punt or two and get back to the office, all during a normal lunch break. Too bad the big races are on Saturdays, but there are people who do work that day. The fatal flaw in the plan is that the races generally start in the afternoon, past lunchtime.
Randwick is used for 45 meetings per year.
It opened in 1833, so the Tramway Stakes was one of its early offerings.
As of mid-2022, there are 20 Group 1, 18 Group 2 and 11 Group 3 races. Some famous races that are held at Randwick include the Australian Derby and the Doncaster Handicap, but for prizemoney punch, Randwick’s best race is a special condition event called The Everest that had a prizemoney pool of $15 million in 2021.
For a 1400-metre race such as the Tramway Stakes, the horses start in a chute on the south side of the course, run anti-clockwise around two sweeping turns, and then finish in front of the grandstands at the northeast corner of the course.
Racing History of the Tramway Stakes
The Tramway Stakes, because of its origins as a Principal race, has always been considered an important race for trainers and connections, so there have been plenty of notable winners over the years.
With a three-year-old and above condition of participation, winning horses are eligible to try the race as many times as their connections see fit.
Yet, when Dreamforce won in 2019 and 2020, he was the first to accomplish the feat since Grenoble in 1959 and 1960. Lord Neagh was a dual winner with a year intervening, taking the post in 1935 and 1937. Gigandra won twice in 1912 and 1913 – he was the first – meaning that the race had jumped 26 times before delivering a multiple winner.
Here is some additional information on the horses that have won the Tramway Stakes over the years.
The winner of the first race in 1886 was Burrilda.
Burrilda was by Australia’s Goldsbrough out of an Aussie dam named Lady Sophia. His lines from the previous generation were also Australian, with the exception of Lady Hilda of Great Britain. Farther back, with the exception of Maribyrnong, all the ancestors were from England. We drew a blank when looking for Burrilda racing history.
The winner in 1887 was an Aussie galloper named Glen Elgin. He is the first horse we have ever researched that had zero ancestors displayed in a comprehensive Thoroughbred database.
We typically expect to find sparse information when we look at horses from the 19th century, with the exception of the legendary types, but Glen Elgin adds a level of scarcity to sparse.
The winner from 1889, Merriment, was another Goldsbrough progeny, just like inaugural winner Burrilda.
We found some racing history for the 1892 Tramway Stakes winner, Victor Hugo, but it was just that the horse ran twice in the Epsom Handicap and ran eighth in one and ninth in the other try.
A mare named Bange won in 1900. She had lines connecting her to Goldsbrough, the sire of earlier Tramway Stakes winners.
Marvel Loch from 1903 was apparently versatile, as horses from that era had to be. She is credited with winning at 2400 metres by winning the 1906 AJC Autumn Stakes, although it would be many years before the AJC was formed. She would have probably been running under the supervision of the Australian Turf Club.
Mimer was a Brit horse that won the race in 1904. He was put on the boat in 1901 and arrived in 1902. Foaled in 1901, he did some racing in NSW and is credited with winning The Shorts in 1907.
The 1906 winner, Pompous, was another Brit import that won the Tramway and won the Carrington Stakes in NSW that same year.
Melodrama, the winner from 1908, shared Goldsbrough for an ancestor on his dam’s side, four generations removed.
We finally find a historically significant winner of the race in 1910’s Malt King. He had a win at the top level when he took out the Caulfield Guineas in 1909, and then won the Caulfield Stakes and the All Aged Stakes in 1911. He repeated in the All Aged Stakes in 1912. He made 35 jumps for 12 wins and 14 placings.
Grist, from 1911, was another winner with lines tracing to Goldsbrough. We did learn of an L J Grist that trained horses in Australia in the 1980s. He lasted for just 152 races and never won a black type race.
Our first dual winner, after 26 editions of the Tramway Stakes, was Gigandra from 1912 and 1913. Unfortunately, this is all we could determine.
We discover our first notable winner in 1921’s Beauford. Beauford was great in 1921, winning the Hill Stakes, the Epsom Handicap, the Craven Plate and the Railway Handicap. He was good in 1922, winning the Rawson, All Aged, Chelmsford and Spring Stakes. He won 17 times and placed eight times from 37 jumps. To win the Craven Plate, he had to beat Gloaming, which supplies a good measure of his ability.
Jumping ahead, we find a true champion in the 1928 winner, Amounis. We have a detailed biography of Amounis on another page of this site. Here, we will just mention that he raced 79 times, so he is an automatic inclusion in the imaginary Pro Group Racing Hall of Fame. He won 33 times and placed in 19. Amounis was durable, obviously, and versatile, winning from 1200 to 2400 metres. He won the Epsom twice, the Cantala Stakes twice and the Linlithgow Stakes three times. His major wins were the 1927 Cox Plate and the 1930 Caulfield Cup.
The Tramway Stakes entered an interesting period beginning in 1931. The race was run in divisions for that year and in 1932. The winners in 1931 were Pentheus and Waugoola. In 1932, Rogilla and Chatham, two legendary names of racing, dead heated in one division, with Sir Duninald winning the other division.
Our next notable winner of the race was a dual winner from 1935 and 1937 named Lord Neagh. He might be the number one entry for the PGR HOF, because he made 127 jumps. He won more, 32, than many horses raced. He also placed 44 times. He had three wins in the Chipping Norton Stakes in 1933, 1936 and 1937. He won the Rawson Stakes three times in those same years.
Jumping ahead to 1945, we find Shannon for the winner.
He is the first we have found that was inducted into the real Australian Racing Hall of Fame. He won many races in Australia, and then went to the U.S. to win the most prestigious American race of his career in the 1948 Hollywood Gold Cup. He won the Tramway Stakes in 1945. From 1944 through 1948, Shannon won 15 major races. His major wins in Australia include two George Main Stakes, the Sires’ Produce Stakes, the Epsom Handicap and the Canterbury Stakes.
The next dual winner was Grenoble in 1959 and 1960. Grenoble won the 1959 Doncaster Handicap the 1960 Villiers Stakes for his major wins other than the two Tramway Stakes.
He set the stage for 1961 winner Wenona Girl, who needed none to set any stage for her. She had a stage all to herself. She made 68 jumps, so we like her immediately. She won 27 and placed in 26. She won 19 major races, including two Rawson Stakes and two Lightning Stakes. She produced seven named foals, three to Todman, two to Convamore, and one each to Super Gray and Star Kingdom. Three were un-raced and the other four did not achieve any sort of racing notoriety.
A big name winner of the 1979 Tramway Stakes was Imposing. Imposing was by Todman; Todman was by Star Kingdom. Imposing won some major races, including the Epsom Handicap and the George Main Stakes before passing his ability to eight-time Group 1 winner Super Impose.
Shaftesbury Avenue, Tramway Stakes from 1990, won major races such as the George Main Stakes, the Lightning Stakes and the Newmarket Handicap. He also won the All Aged Stakes and the Caulfield Stakes. He had 28 jumps for 13 wins and eight placings.
Once again hitting the fast-forward key, we report that the 2007 editions of the Tramway Stakes was one of those lost to the Equine Influenza outbreak that shut down many races in NSW.
The 2015 winner, Hooked, won just under $1 million. His best win was the Schweppes Crystal Mile in 2014, at the meeting where the Cox Plate is held. He placed third in the 2014 Australian Derby and the Epson Handicap. He was tried in the race in 2014, finishing seventh. He also finished 11th to Winx in the 2015 Epsom Handicap.
In 2016, the Tramway Stakes winner was Hauraki. This galloper had Zabeel for a grandsire. He jumped 25 times for five wins and 11 placings to earn over $2.5 million. After winning the race, he placed second in the Group 1 George Main Stakes, and then won the Group 1 Epsom Handicap. He lined up with Winx in the 2016 Cox Plate and was eighth of 10 before a second to Awesome Rock in the 2016 Group 1 MacKinnon Stakes.
The 2017 winner was a personal favourite of ours, Happy Clapper. He won over $7 million from 48 jumps for 12 wins and 18 placings. His major wins were the 2018 Doncaster Handicap, where he would have been eight years old and the 2017 Epsom Handicap. What we most admired about Happy Clapper, though, was that while he never beat Winx in 10 tries, he did not dodge her the way some of the other classes horses dodged her, by staying out of races in which she was entered.
Comin' Through by Fastnet Rock was the 2018 winner. He made 28 jumps for seven wins and six placings and earned over $1.8 million. He beat Tom Melbourne, including the 2018 Tramway, on a couple occasions. His best win was the 2018 Group 1 Doomben Cup, where he beat the good galloper Egg Tart.
The next winner saluted in 2019 and 2020. It was Dreamforce, another Fastnet Rock progeny. He was foaled in 2012, so he was well into his 41-race career when he won the two Tramways. He won 13 and placed in 12 to win over $2.5 million. After winning the Tramway Stakes for the first time in 2019, he broke through to win the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes from The Bostonian and Te Akau Shark. After winning the second Tramway in 2020, he would not win again, but he came within a head of winning the 2021 Group 1 George Ryder Stakes.
That brings us to 2021 winner Zaaki that we detailed at the beginning.
The Tramway Stakes could be considered a candidate for Group 1 status, given its long history and significant winners. It will take more prizemoney and a willingness on the part of the big nabobs who decide such things.
The race attracts good gallopers and the evidence for that is that none has ever won the race three times.
Tramway Stakes Past Winners
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