The Group 3 Geelong Cup is a 2400-metre staying race that is held at Geelong Racecourse during the spring racing carnival in the month of October.
The race is run under open handicap conditions. The minimum impost is 54 kilograms, but it could be more.
Geelong Cup Race Details
Race Distance: 2400m
Prize Money: $500,000
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When Is The Geelong Cup: 23/10/24
What Time Is The Geelong Cup: TBA
Where Is The Geelong Cup: Geelong Racecourse
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More Details About The Geelong Cup
When the race was run in 2021, winner Tralee Rose had 55.5 kg. Several in the field jumped for the minimum, but quite a few received 58 kg, with Mirage Dancer getting the top weight of 58.5 kg. Tralee Rose was light, even though she jumped odds on favourite at $2.60, while the second favourite, Hasta La War, went for $5.00.
The race is considered a good guide to the Melbourne Cup, which is run a fortnight later, although Tralee Rose could do no better than ninth with her automatic entry into the Melbourne Cup that accompanied the Geelong Cup win.
Tralee Rose earned $240,000 of the $400,000 prizemoney for the race, though it should be noted that when the race jumps it 2022, it will be worth a total of $500,000.
History of the Geelong Cup
The race was first run in 1872. There were multiple years when the race was skipped, beginning in 1897. It was not held in 1907 and 1908 or 1920. It was abandoned again in 1930 and the two years of 1935 and 1936.
It was not run for nine years from 1938 – 1946, but then had a nice run of years before 1953 saw the entire meeting abandoned.
The race then presents a continuous history from 1954 through the present time.
The trip for the Geelong Cup has been various distances, without making too fine a point about the differences between furlongs, miles and metres.
It was the same 3200 metres as the Melbourne Cup from inception through 1885. The shortest trip for the race was 1800 metres, with the current distance of 2400 metres taking hold in 2010 and remaining through the present day.
While it is considered a guide to the Melbourne Cup, only three racers have managed to win the Geelong Cup and fill the Melbourne Cup double.
The first was Media Puzzle in 2002, followed by Americain in 2010 and Dunaden in 2011.
The first two-time winner of the race was Camerine that won in 1885 and 1887. We can inform that Camerine was a mare and that is about all we could determine.
The other dual winner we discovered was Roseview, the winner in 1912 and 1914.
There was one dead heat between Pacific Mirage and Sea Legend in 1989.
Most of the notable gallopers to win the race have been during the 21st century.
The lone exception was the 1889 winner, Malua that won the 1884 Melbourne Cup. Horses raced for longer in those days and Malua was foaled in 1879, so he would have been aged 10 years when he won the Geelong Cup. Still, he made just 47 jumps, so he must have spent considerable time doing other things. He won the Grand National Hurdle in 1889, so he was not only versatile at winning from sprint to staying distances of 1100 to 5200 metres.
We find ourselves wondering if he managed to squeeze a bit of dressage into his repertoire and he raced in Tasmania as a two-year-old going under the name of Bagot.
He sired some stakes winners, including the 1891 Melbourne winner Malvolio and the 1900 Caulfield Cup winner Ingliston. Of course, a race that has been staged since 1872 began as a Principal grade race. It was lifted to Listed quality in 1979 and has been a Group 3 race since 2002.
Venue for the Geelong Cup
The race has always jumped at Geelong Racecourse in Geelong, Australia.
History indicates that there was racing at the nearby site of Corio in 1841, but the building of an actual racecourse did not begin until 1849. The site shifted to Marshalltown along the Barwon River that year, but flooding caused the site to be moved in 1907 to the current site for racing in 1908.
The Geelong Racing Club formed in 1866.
The venue is considered a country track and Geelong is some 77 kilometres from the heart of Melbourne.
The course hosts about 27 race meetings per year and the Geelong Cup, known for sponsorship reasons as the bet365 Geelong Cup, is the crown jewel of the racing staged there.
The course has the Cox Plate-like circumference of 2040 metres and is a conventional oval shape. The home straight is mildly uphill and 360 metres in length.
For a 2400-metre race such as the Geelong Cup, the spectators get to see the gallopers go by twice.
Racing History of the Geelong Cup
A race with as long a history as the Geelong Cup presents the challenge of trying to find good winners from eras when there were not always good records.
Looking at the list of winners, we did not find any of the better or great Australian or New Zealand stayers.
The 21st century has proved an exception, with many top gallopers winning the race, so at the risk of ruffling feathers, we are going to start with the more recent jumps and proceed back in time in order to keep this article from becoming a book.
We will make the exception of mentioning the first winner, Flying Scud from 1872, because the first winner will always be of at least some historical significance.
Not enough significance, apparently, to be listed by any of our sources. We found a horse bred in Kentucky that foaled in 1956 and the sire was none other than the great Australian champion Bernborough.
The winner of the Geelong Cup in 2020, the now-deceased Steel Prince, was an Irish import that won more than $1.1 million from 34 starts for 10 wins and 9 placings.
His first try in the 2019 Geelong Cup found him finishing seventh and his try in the Melbourne Cup next up resulted in ninth place.
His win in 2020 produced an even poorer 16th in the 2020 Melbourne Cup.
Prince Of Arran won the race in 2019.
He ran third in the 2018 Melbourne Cup, with the top prize and the second prize also going to Brit horses, Cross Counter and Marmelo, respectively.
Following his 2019 win in the Geelong Cup, he ran second a neck to Vow And Declare in the Melbourne Cup for that year.
He tried the Caulfield Cup in 2020 and was beaten handily by Verry Elleegant to finish fourth and the 2020 Melbourne Cup found him running third to the Irish gallopers Twilight Payment and Tiger Moth.
He was only about half a length from the front, so we might be forgiven if we describe Prince of Arran as the best horse never to win a Melbourne Cup.
His connections would have to console themselves with the $3.67 million Prince of Arran earned from 48 jumps all over the world for 6 wins and 18 placings.
The 2016 winner, Qewy, was a hurdler before switching to flats.
His win in the Geelong Cup preceded a fourth place effort in the 2016 Melbourne Cup.
Dunaden won the Geelong Cup in 2011 and became just the third galloper to win the race and go on to win the Melbourne Cup.
After winning the Geelong Cup and the Melbourne Cup, he made a stop at Sha Tin to win the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase. Those three wins combined account for much of Dunaden’s prizemoney.
He returned to Europe for a few jumps and came back in 2012 to win the Caulfield Cup, but his run in that year’s Melbourne Cup found him well back in 14th. He tried the Melbourne Cup once more in 2013, but was again well back.
Dunaden has been a good stud, but has not supplied any that have eclipsed his winnings on the track, even if all his stakes winners are combined.
The 2010 winner, Americain, won his first start in Australia before coasting to a win in the Melbourne Cup, beating a couple heavyweights, with Maluckyday into second by almost three lengths, with So You Think a bit further back. He returned to run in the 2011 Melbourne Cup to run fourth. He then won the Group 2 Sandown Classic, followed by a third place run in the Group 1 Australian Cup to Manighar that beat him again in the Group 1 BMW at Rosehill. His final jump was the 2012 Melbourne Cup, but he was well behind winner Green Moon.
Bauer was the 2008 winner.
An Irish gelding, Bauer came within a neck of taking the 2008 Melbourne Cup from Viewed. He returned to try the Geelong Cup again in 2011, running third.
On A Jeune was the winner of the race in 2005.
He came close, 1.3 lengths, to denying Makybe Diva her third Melbourne Cup win. He had tried the Melbourne Cup in 2004, but he was nearly 10 lengths back from the Diva. He tried again in 2006, but he was well back in 20th.
The winner from 2003, Zazzman, did some good racing in Oz.
After winning the race, he won the Group 2 Queen Elizabeth at Flemington and the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes at Caulfield. He produced a third in the 2004 Melbourne Cup.
The first winner of the Geelong Cup – Melbourne Cup double was Media Puzzle in 2002.
He was a U.S. horse born in Ireland, where he raced before coming down under to post an impressive three-length win in the Geelong Cup before posting an almost as impressive two length win in the 2002 Melbourne Cup. He tried the Melbourne Cup again in 2004, but he was barely in the same postcode as Makybe Diva.
Karasi, the 2001 winner, was an Irish gelding that made 98 jumps for 16 wins, 21 placings and over $3.7 million in prizemoney. Following his Geelong Cup win, he ran fourth in the 2001 Melbourne Cup.
He would later make quite a haul by becoming a jumps horse that won the Nakayama Grand Jump in 2005, 2006 and 2007. His exploits earned him induction to the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2018 and the 98 tries more than qualifies him for the Pro Group Racing Hall of Fame.
That brings us to the conclusion of Geelong Cup racing for the 21st century. We still have a bit of room, so we will examine the list for earlier winners that might supply some interest.
We begin with 1989, the year the race was a dead heat between Pacific Mirage and Sea Legend. What are the odds of a dead heat between two horses with ocean- inspired names?
Pacific Mirage, for one, probably could not have drowned in the ocean. He had to have the alias of Lanyard and he might have been well advised to stay on his side of the ditch.
Sea Legend was far worse, if that can be imagined, and it is almost possible to speculate that the reason for the dead heat was that they were the only two in the race.
Allez Bijou was quite a bit better.
He won the Geelong Cup in 1981 along with the Group 1 Sandown Cup in Victoria.
The 1973 winner, Australasia, also won the MacKinnon Stakes and the Turnbull Stakes that same year.
An interesting case exists for the 1952 winner, Welkin Sun.
He parlayed his win in the Geelong Cup into a second place finish in that year’s Melbourne Cup to Dalray and Dalray was nothing if not one of the better gallopers to leave New Zealand.
The interesting twist to Welkin Sun was that he was not a Thoroughbred, so he could have beaten Dalray as many times as he wanted and yet still been ineligible for the Australian Stud Book.
The Geelong Cup has a rich tradition as an Australian legacy race.
The Geelong Racing Club seems to have managed to attract some attention to its premier race and the connection to the Melbourne Cup makes the race almost irresistible from a historical perspective.
In recent years, the race was won by a slew of internationals that were intent on racing in the Melbourne Cup.
The need for those foreign horses, in order to supply a full field of contenders, speaks volumes about the dearth of Australian breeders willing to invest in stayers when there seems to be little appetite amongst Australian racing fans for races that take over three minutes to complete.
Geelong Cup Past Winners
|2019||Prince Of Arran|
|2014||Caravan Rolls On|
|2005||On A Jeune|
|1988||Our Classic Bay|
|1986||Fil De Roi|
|1985||Koiro Corrie May|
|1933||Bay Of Islands|
|1877||Pride Of The Hills|