The Bendigo Cup is a Group 3 stayers’ race held at Bendigo Racecourse under the supervision of the Bendigo Jockey Club.
The race is held in late October or early November on a Wednesday. The day of the race is considered a public holiday for the locals.
Bendigo Cup Race Details
Race Distance: 2400m
Prize Money: $500,000
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When Is The Bendigo Cup: 30/10/24
What Time Is The Bendigo Cup: TBA
Where Is The Bendigo Cup: Bendigo Racecourse
How To Live Stream The Bendigo Cup
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More Details About The Bendigo Cup
It is run over 2400 metres under open handicap conditions and offers $500,000 in prizemoney for 2022, a $100,000 boost from 2021.
That figure represents a hefty purse for a Wednesday race at a country track.
The last jump in 2021 was won by Wentwood, an Irish gelded horse that made 12 jumps in the northern hemisphere before racing down under for the first time at Flemington in early 2020. He raced in a BM 70 race at Bendigo in September of 2020 and finished dead last.
The 2021 Bendigo Cup was his last win, for which he received $240,000. He place third in his next two jumps, the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth at Flemington and the Group 2 Sandown Classic at Caulfield, with his next two jumps supplying a sixth and a ninth place to bring his current career total to about $670,000.
History of the Bendigo Cup
The Bendigo Cup was first run in 1918 as World War I was winding down, which we mention because during six years spanning World War II from 1940 through 1945, the race was not held. It was skipped again in 1998.
There has never been a dead heat in the race and the only multiple winners we could locate were Most Regal, the winner in 1952 and 1953, and Gallic, the winner in 2006 and 2004.
Some horses that run the Bendigo Cup might entertain hopes of getting into the Melbourne Cup, but with less than a week before the big race, it is hard to imagine a galloper from the Bendigo Cup being fit to run the Melbourne Cup.
The distance of the race has had only slight variations through the years. It has basically alternated between 2200 and 2400 metres, although prior to metrication, it was measured as 1-3/8 miles.
Every race since 2011 has jumped at 2400 metres.
The race Grade was declared Listed in 1979 and remained so until 2015, when it was promoted to Group 3
Venue for the Bendigo Cup
Bendigo is a country racecourse located in Bendigo, some 150 kilometres north of Melbourne.
The Bendigo Jockey Club convened for the first time in 1858.
Historical information informs that the track was converted to anti-clockwise running in 1873, which may have involved things other than turning the horses around.
The facility presents about 25 meetings per year and the course has been maintained and improved over the years.
It is a standard oval with long straights. The circumference is 1,995 metres when the rail is true. It has cambered turns that facilitate turning at full gallop.
For the most important race held there, the 2400-metre Bendigo Cup, the gallopers begin at the head of the home straight and make one full circuit to the finish line and stands on the southwest side of the venue.
Racing History of the Bendigo Cup
We will focus primarily of the recent jumps of the Bendigo Cup, working on the assumption that the better racers came in the later years, when it was easier to get racers to a country track such as Bendigo.
We hope to find some winners that tried the Melbourne Cup, did well racing at the metro venues, or won better races at some stage.
Straight away, we find a million dollar winner in Princess Jenni from 2020. She has won over $1 million from six wins and three placings from 26 jumps. The Bendigo Cup was her last win and her recent form suggests that she might not be racing much longer, if at all.
She has won at Group 2 and Group 3 level, with her best win being the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks at Morphettville in 2019.
Qewy, the 2017 winner of the Bendigo Cup, had a nice run in the 2016 Melbourne Cup, finishing fourth in the year Almandin won the Melbourne Cup.
Qewy is a jumps horse that survived a fall at Aintree in Great Britain in April of 2016, so the fact that he survived might have made his connections think that survivor’s luck might deliver a Melbourne Cup.
The Bendigo Cup in 2017 was his last win and his next race was his last race at Flemington in 2017. Now aged 13, we doubt that he will run flats again, although he is a Godolphin horse, so we will not attempt to predict.
Francis Of Assisi from 2016 was another British jumper that had an easy win in the Bendigo Cup, and then followed the path of other horses in trying the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth at Flemington, where he won by 10 lengths, beating the favourite, Tom Melbourne, into third.
An Irish gelding named The Offer won the Bendigo Cup in 2015.
He next tried the Melbourne Cup, where he ran eighth jumping $31 in the year Prince Of Penzance shocked the racing world by winning the Melbourne Cup from $101.
The winner in 2014, Bring Something, was another to try the Queen Elizabeth at Flemington after winning the Bendigo Cup, but he ran fifth to Le Roi, a German horse looking for a slot in the Melbourne Cup, with Prince Of Penzance in second.
Sertorius was the winner in 2013.
A gelding by Ireland’s Galileo, he jumped for the same price, $101, as Prince Of Penzance and he managed to run 12th, which makes us ecstatic that we are not race handicappers.
Sertorius won almost $1.3 million from 45 jumps for 10 wins and 14 placings. At one juncture of his career, he won five consecutive minor races, just after a patch of six races where he won or placed.
He was second next up to Precedence in the Queen Elizabeth at Flemington, next wining the Group 2 Sandown Classic at Caulfield and finishing second to Moment Of Change in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes.
Puissance De Lune was the 2012 winner.
Do not let the name Puissance De Lune fool you. He was nothing near to being French. His lines were predominantly of U.S. with only a smattering of French DNA four generations back.
Along with the Bendigo Cup, Puissance De Lune won at Group 2 in 2013 with wins in the Blamey Stakes and the J. J. Liston Stakes and he was another to win the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth. He had second in the 2013 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes and the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes. He had third place finishes in 2014 in the Group 1 races, the Memsie Stakes, Makybe Diva Stakes and the Turnbull Stakes.
He earned almost $900,000 from just 22 jumps for eight wins and eight placings.
We believe he is standing at Swettenham Stud at Nagambie in Victoria, where he has been quite active. He has sired a handful that have won above $100,000, while his two best seem to be Moonlight Maid from 2016 and Southern Moon, both of which earned in the $500,000 range.
The 2011 winner was Tanby.
Another scion of Ireland’s Galileo, Tanby won above $1 million by winning 11 races and placing in 9 from 54 jumps.
His best patch of racing came when he won a handicap at Moonee Valley, followed by a win in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes, followed by a second in the Group 3 Geelong Cup and capped off by the Bendigo Cup win.
Captious was the winner in 2007.
Otherwise undistinguished, Captious won the race in 2007 and returned in 2008 to try again, only to close out his racing career by finishing 14th out of a field of 14.
A New Zealand gelding by Zabeel, the 2006 and 2004 winner of the Bendigo Cup was Gallic.
He represents the best we have seen at this juncture of the race history. Gallic won almost $1.4 million, but unlike many other geldings, he amassed that amount from just 25 jumps for 8 wins and 10 placings.
Most of Gallic’s prizemoney came from winning the Group 1 Sydney Cup in 2007, where he jumped third-favourite to Blutigeroo ($2.80) and Prince Arthur ($4).
Gallic concluded his racing career with a win in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup.
The 1999 winner of the Bendigo Cup was Majestic Avenue, a mostly unremarkable gelding that a win in the 2000 Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes to earn a try in the 2000 Caulfield Cup, where he ran 12th. He came close to a Group 1 win in 2002, when he was second to Prized Gem in the Brisbane Cup.
Double Take, a New Zealand gelding was the winner in 1995.
The only thing we found noteworthy about him was that he ran a strong fourth in the 1994 Melbourne Cup and tried again in 1995 to finish 18th. His next race was the Bendigo Cup, so the race has shifted around on the racing calendar.
Frontier Boy won the race in 1993, just after posting a respectable fifth in the 1993 Melbourne Cup.
We have made our way back in the history of the Bendigo Cup to the point in time when good data was not yet maintained in electronic form.
With few exceptions, the winners were mostly geldings and mostly internationals vying for a slot in the Melbourne Cup. Many of those types were raced until their legs fell off at country tracks because it is hard to find races for stayers in Australia.
Further back, none of the names of the Bendigo Cup winners seems to offer anything notable or familiar, but we will look at the earlier era in hopes of finding something.
We eventually found ourselves all the way back to 1952 and 1953, the years Most Regal won the race twice.
Most Regal was by Royal Step that was sired by Australia’s great champion Heroic, the Cox Plate and multiple winner of races that would one day be declared Group 1 grade. Stakes winners other than Most Regal include Ajax, Hall Mark, Hua and Nuffield, so Most Regal was most likely a disappointment.
We found Roc as the winner of the Bendigo Cup in 1932.
Roc is also credited with winning the Sir James Wilson Handicap in 1937. His grandsire was The Welkin but that lineage did not seem to serve Roc with any notable progeny.
Lampra from 1931 won another staying race that same year when she took out the Australia Day Cup.
We made it all the way back to the inception of the Bendigo Cup without finding anything. There were instances where we found the names of winners that had multiple gallopers by the name, but none from the right year to put them in the Bendigo Cup.
We found winners that as far as any reputable sources were concerned, did not even exist.
That is more or less what we expected of a race at a country track, where the facility itself uses marketing to suggest that it is worth the trip to enjoy racing in a casual environment.
We do agree that Bendigo Racecourse is a lovely place to have Thoroughbred racing.
We did find some good winners in the most recent jumps of the Bendigo Cup and even a few that ran in the Melbourne Cup to finish well, if not place or win.
Much of this, even in the earlier eras of the race, has to do with the trend that has been going on for a long time of Australian breeders focusing on milers and other middle distance types, while the stayers come mainly from the ranks of international horses and New Zealand, where stayers are still bred and fostered.
Bendigo Cup Past Winners
|2019||Top Of The Range|
|2016||Francis Of Assis|
|2012||Puissance De Lune|
|1998||race not held|
|1990||Jolly Good Thought|
|1945||race not run|
|1944||race not run|
|1943||race not run|
|1942||race not run|
|1941||race not run|
|1940||race not run|