Gold Coast Racecourse is the venue for the Group 3 Ken Russell Memorial Classic, a 1200 metre, set weights race for two-year-olds.
The race offered $200,000 in prize money when filly Russian Alliance won the race, moved to Sunshine Coast Racecourse for the 2023 edition, to collect $116,000 for her effort.
Ken Russell Memorial Classic Race Details
Racecourse: Gold Coast Racecourse
Race Distance: 1200m
Prize Money: $150,000
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When Is The Ken Russell Memorial Classic: 11/5/24
What Time Is The Ken Russell Memorial Classic: TBA
Where Is The Ken Russell Memorial Classic: Gold Coast Racecourse
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More Details about the Ken Russell Memorial Classic
Her seven jumps have supplied five wins and $222,000 in earnings.
First off, one very important detail. We are far too unmotivated to type Ken Russell Memorial Classic every time we mention the race, so we will include future references to the race as the KRMC.
Secondly, one more important detail. The winner of the KRMC receives a ballot exemption to the Group 1 J. J. Atkins Stakes in June at Eagle Farm.
Comparing the winners lists of the two races, we discover that there have been four horses to win the J.J. Atkins after winning the KRMC, although we cannot say that the ballot exemption dates all the way back to the inception of the KRMC in 1974.
The most recent to complete the KRMC – J.J Atkins double was Sizzling in 2012. The three others are from the early editions of the KRMC – Copperama in 1981, Royal Paree in 1980 and Romantic Dream in 1976.
History of the Ken Russell Memorial Classic
The current race name is an homage to Kenneth Charles Russell, a leading Gold Coast hoop that was killed in a fall at Rosehill Racecourse in 1993.
Thus, the race became the Ken Russell Memorial Classic in 1994 after debuting as the Gold Coast 2YO Classic Handicap in 1974.
It was called the Laurie Bricknell 2YO Classic in 1996. The two jumps in 1997 and 1998 were the Ken Russell 2YO Classic Handicap and since 1999, it is simply the Ken Russell Memorial Classic.
Initially a 1400 metre race, the KRMC was trimmed by 100 metres in 2000 and once again to the present day 1200 metre trip in 2006.
Originally a handicap race, it attained Listed Grade in 1984, with Group 3 classification from 2014 forward. It changed from a Handicap to a Quality Handicap in 1997, and then switched again in 2005 to set weights running conditions.
Venue for the Ken Russell Memorial Classic
Despite the race jumping at Sunshine Coast Racecourse in 2023, we will treat Gold Coast Racecourse as the venue for the KRMC.
Located in the City of Gold Coast, Queensland, in the suburb of Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast Racecourse is operated by the Gold Coast Turf Club.
There is something in the vicinity of 60 race events staged at Gold Coast Racecourse each year.
The marquee event of the season is the Magic Millions meeting in January.
It was originally a dirt surface when the GCTC made the venue its headquarters in 1946.
It is a smallish track, just 1885 metres in circumference. We consider it an oval shape, although our old geometry instructor would have said it was a rectangle with rounded corners.
A couple of the Group grade races that are held at the track are the A.D. Hollindale Stakes and the Prime Minister’s Cup.
For a 1200 metre race, the barriers are erected midway down the back straight. After a short run, the first turn is about 300 metres and leads onto the 400 metre home straight to the finish line at the west side of the course.
Racing History of the Ken Russell Memorial Classic
When the race jumped for the first time in 1974, it was won by Dungunnin, an import with a British sire and dam. His line includes some notable sires, such as Hyperion, Gainsborough, Bayardo and Blenheim. The dam Grey Feather offers lines to Italy’s Nearco, with several connections to Blenheim. Five generations removed, Dungunnin is tied to the legendary U.S. racer from the early years of the 20th century, Man O’ War.
His very respectable form line claims 28 jumps for 10 wins and 11 placings, but it appears that he won nothing major other than the Newcastle Jockey Club Slipper Stakes in 1974.
To further examine the racing history of the KRMC, we will conduct a deeper examination of the four gallopers that used the victory and ballot exemption to get into and win the J.J. Atkins.
The first of these was Romantic Dream in 1976, following the race being skipped in 1975.
Romantic Dream was by Baguette out of Star Song.
Like Dungunnin, Romantic Dream remained whole and without a progeny record.
Romantic Dream was a better type.
In 1976, he recorded wins in the QTC Sires’ Produce Stakes and the QTC Marlborough Stakes (now the T. J. Smith Classic) before running second in the ATC Golden Slipper Stakes. Also in 1976 was a win in the Newcastle Jockey Club Cameron Handicap.
He won the 1977 Canterbury Stakes by beating Luskin Star. Another good win that year was the Winterbottom Stakes, along with the Goodwood Handicap.
His win in 1978, his final win it appears, was the 1978 WATC Lee Steere Stakes.
The next horse to win the KRMC/J.J. Atkins Stakes double came along just four years later when Royal Paree filled in 1980.
Royal Paree was a New Zealand filly that won four times as a two-year-old. She is reported as having earned about $112,000 as a racer. She supplied three foals between 1989 and 1995, but none of the three was notable.
The double was filled again in 1981 by Copperama.
Another filly, she succeeded in winning the Group 1 VATC One Thousand Guineas in 1981, whereas her immediate predecessor Royal Paree recorded a second place finish in the race.
Copperama often lined up against Rose Of Kingston, running third to her in the 1981 Group 1 VRC Oaks. Copperama did get the better of Rose Of Kingston when she ran second in the 1981 Group 2 MVRC Moonee Valley Stakes.
She supplied 12 named foals, three by Nureyev, but out of the entire dozen, we counted just five victories, one each by five different offspring.
Following those three that were clustered close to the inception of the race, it was not until 2012 that Sizzling became the most recent to win the double.
Sizzling was by Snitzel with Redoute’s Choice for grandsire. Other notables from that side includes Danehill, Snippets, Canny Lad and Bletchingly. From the family of Sizzling’s dam Admirelle, we see lines to notables such as General Nediym and a nice mix of foreign and domestic blood.
Sizzling made 23 jumps for 7 wins and five placings to earn $1.3 million. He had his Group 1 win in 2012 when he won the QTC T.J. Smith. When he won the Group 2 Queensland Guineas in 2013, he beat Lucky Hussler into third while he was jumping as the favourite.
Post racing, Sizzling sizzled in the barn and by sizzled, we mean the opposite of fizzled. With too many named foals to count, we settled on a ranking of his offspring in terms of earnings. Nine of his offspring won above $100,000, with the top earner being the 2015 colt Secret Blaze that won over $709,000.
With the four J.J. Atkins/KRMC doublers examined, we now look for the winners that won one or more Group 1 races, earned a lot of money, and/or made contributions via their offspring.
We finally found a better gelding when we arrived at 1983 to discover Riverdale. He won $571,000 from his racing. He won the 1984 Epsom Handicap and the Group 1 Champions’ Mile at Flemington that same year. He won the 1986 Warwick Stakes when the race was still a Group 2 event and had not yet been renamed as the Winx Stakes.
The 1986 winner, Tristam, was by the notable Irish sire Sir Tristam, a name we frequently encounter in the pedigree tables of better gallopers. We did not find any major race wins or big money total for Tristam, but being a Kiwi horse, he remained whole and sired quite a few that won some money from racing, with five earning above $100,000 and the best producing $254,000.
The KRMC was not held in 1989.
We found a decent sort in the 1992 winner, Surtee.
His 40 jumps supplied 11 wins and 3 placings for $445,000, racing tips.
Surtee’s stud output was not long, but he had a few stakes winners, five that won above $100,000 racing in Australia.
The 1994 winner, Brave Warrior, earned just above $1 million from 22 jumps for 8 wins and 7 placings. He raced against top competition, beating Danewin on one occasion and Chief De Beers in the KRMC. He earned good prize money considering that he never won above Group 2 grade.
Brave Warrior only stood for two seasons, but he made the most of those two seasons. He got Show A Heart out of Miss Sandman that won above $2.2 million. Show A Heart had Group 1 wins in the QTC T.J. Smith Classic, the Caulfield Guineas, Toorak Handicap and the Stradbroke Handicap, so Brave Warrior was very much a case of the progeny exceeding the progenitor.
So far, we have been finding decent types and we are at the point where we need to shift to the more recent history of the KRMC.
We always fear that we will miss something truly significant, something important, something like a plodder that managed to remain whole, win the KRMC, and then sire something like a Sunline, Exceed And Excel or other good racers of that calibre, but we have only so much space and the KRMC is presenting fairly good winners.
At any rate, we are leaping ahead to 2010, the year the KRMC was won by Spirit Of Boom.
He made 52 jumps for 9 wins and 20 placings to bring in $2.4 million in prize money. He won two Group 1 races in 2014 – the William Reid Stakes and the Doomben 10,000. He placed in an additional five Group 1 races. To win the Doomben 10,000, he had to beat Temple Of Boom (same dam) and Buffering.
He is delivering post-racing and was the leading first season sire in Queensland for the 2017 - 2018 season and the leading Australian sire.
His list of offspring is extensive. His top earner was Jonker that won over $2 million, followed by Boomsara with $1.6 million, Outback Barbie with $1.5 million and Prince Of Boom with $1 million. After those four, another 27 earned between $100,000 and $1 million.
The 2011 winner was Snitzel’s son Hot Snitzel.
This gelding made 38 jumps for 8 wins and 9 placings to bring in $1.3 million. He won at Group 1 in 2015 by winning the BTC Cup.
Another Snitzel offspring, a mare named Le Val won in 2103, but she was a far cry from Hot Snitzel in terms of racing. An interesting facet is that the name Le Val is sexually ambiguous, other than possibly to a French-speaking person, and one site lists her as a filly and another lists Le Val as a gelding.
Both sites agree that Snitzel was the sire and Redaluca’s Gaze was dam.
Yet another Snitzel progeny, the 2015 winner of the KRMC was Big Tree.
Big Tree was a limited racer with just 21 jumps for 2 wins and 8 placings for $218,000.
The 2016 winner, Royal Tithe, one of the offspring of Show A Heart that was sired by 1994 KRMC winner Brave Warrior, was served by Snitzel twice. One of those, Royalzel, has won four races.
The 2019 winner was Stronger.
This 2016 colt by Not A Single Doubt did the bulk of his racing and winning in Hong Kong.
We conclude for now with the 2022 winner Nettuno.
This colt was by I Am Invincible out of Saint Minerva.
He is listed as Active, with his last jump being the March 2023 Darby Munro Stakes for seventh place. He has since trialed at Doomben and as recently as October 2023 at Eagle Farm.
Some good racers seem to leak out of New South Wales to race in Queensland and a few of those have raced effectively in other states, including Victoria.
We found many better, not great, types in the list of winners, along with quite a few colts that managed to become stallions and a few fillies that turned out well, too.
Ken Russell Memorial Classic Past Winners
|2020||Wisdom Of Water|
|2010||Spirit Of Boom|
|2007||I Have No Fear|
|2000||Ombra Della Sera|
|1990||Shot Of Comfort|