The Angus Armanasco Stakes is a Group 2 Australian horse race held under set weight conditions, for fillies aged 3 years old.
The Angus Armanasco Stakes is one of the most hotly contested Group 2 races at Melbourne's Caulfield Racecourse.
The event is a 1400-metre trek for three-year-old fillies that attracts prize money worth $200,000. The race is hosted by the Melbourne Racing Club on the same day as the Blue Diamond Stakes during the autumn racing carnival and is held under set weight conditions in late February.
History of the Angus Armanasco Stakes
Held since 1976, the Angus Armanasco Stakes is hosted in honour of the late Angus Armanasco, an Australian Racing Hall of Fame horse trainer. He was inducted during the Hall’s second year. The trainer began his career as a jockey in Perth and later moved on to win seven Victorian Trainer Premierships. Persons knowledgeable about Thoroughbred racing consider Zeditave as his best horse, but others from the line of Star Kingdom include Biscay, Bletchingly, The Judge and True Version.
Since then the Angus Armanasco Stakes has undergone a number of changes in distance and status. In 2010, the race was reduced to 1400-metres from its original 1600-metres and the race conditions from set weights to set weights plus penalties. The decision was taken by the MRC in order to coincide with Victoria Racing Club's decision to reduce the distance of the Group 2 Kewney Stakes to 1400-metres, which is run a fortnight after the Angus Armanasco Stakes on Super Saturday at Flemington Racecourse.
For horses and race goers, the race is the perfect lead up to the Kewney Stakes.
Many contenders for the Angus Armanasco Stakes compete in the Group 2 Vanity Stakes at Flemington. Over the years, the race has proved to be suited for more than handy fillies. Fillies that do well may move on to the Group 2 Moonee Valley Fillies Classic held the following Friday at Moonee Valley Racecourse.
Among the quality fillies to score an Armanasco/Moonee Valley Fillies Classic double are Champagne in 1998, Special Harmony in 2004, and Miss Finland in 2007. One of the most memorable Angus Armanasco Stakes was the 1994 edition where Party Time and Sovereign Appeal were locked in a furious battle ending in a dead heat. Pinker Pinker, the 2011 winner was placed third in the Kevin Hayes Stakes prior to winning the event.
The Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes is run at Caulfield Racecourse in Melbourne. Many of the local punters refer to the track as “The Heath.” Caulfield Racecourse. The course also serves as headquarters for the Melbourne Racing Club. It is used about 25 days each racing season and of course, hosts the Caulfield Cup during spring racing in October.
History of the Angus Armanasco Stakes
The first horse to pick up the Angus Armanasco Stakes was Better Draw in 1976. Between 1976 and 1979 the event was a principal race and was then listed as a Group 3 race until 2000 when it achieved Group 2 status.
At the time, the race was known as The Tranquil Star Stakes, a name it kept from the first running through 1990.
Sonstone was a winner in 1979. She won the Group 3 Coongy Handicap that same year. As best we can tell, she did not win any other major races.
In 1991, The Angus Armanasco Stakes was known as the VATC Dalgety Stakes and was won by Tessuti, a Kiwi mare that won the Sir Douglas Wadley Handicap in Queensland.
The race resulted in a dead heat in 1994 between Party Time and Sovereign Appeal.
Party Time was by Bletchingly, so there were no doubt high expectations, but as best we can tell, in this first and only year the race was known as the Inglis Premier Sale Stakes, those expectations never saw fulfillment.
The other, Sovereign Appeal, never amounted to much.
Northwood Plume won in 1995. The race that year was called the Jewel Stakes and the win came at Group 3 level. Northwood Plume is the best we have found as far as winners of the Angus Armanasco Stakes go.
She was declared Australian Champion 3YO filly that year. She would go on to win nine races and place three times from 18 starts. Her big wins were the Group 1 Thousand Guineas in 1994, along with the Group 1 Crown Casino Oaks that same year. Northwood Plume won the Group 1 Australia Stakes in 1995, along with the Group 2 Kewney Stakes.
1996 went to Not On Friday. It was her only win in 18 starts and she is mentioned here because the race was held at Sandown Racecourse that year.
Rose O’ War won in 1999. The trip had been extended to 1600 metres at this time, as it had been in 1997 through 2000. She had a respectable career, making 26 starts for seven wins and six places. She won almost $900,000, with her highest-level win coming in the Group 2 Crawford Stakes at Moonee Valley.
Next came I Am A Ripper in 2000. She was, sort of, winning six times and placing once from 15 starts. She won the Group 2 MVRC Champagne Stakes, and like Tessuti, won the Sir Douglas Wadley Handicap in Queensland.
Ballet Society won in 2005.
Like many of the previous winners, she was good, not great, winning six time and placing three from 23 starts. She had an outstanding pedigree, including Nureyev, Northern Dancer and Nearctic from the Northern Hemisphere. She is listed as a New Zealand horse. She won the Kewney Stakes at Group 2 and The Vanity at Group 3. She finished high in some other races, including a third in the 2004 Group 1 MRC 1000 Guineas.
2007 produced a winner that was arguably the best of the bunch, including the years since.
The Angus Armanasco Stakes was won by the highly recognisable Miss Finland.
She was the Australian Champion Two Year Old in 2006 and the Australian Champion Three Year Old in 2007.
Miss Finland earned almost $4.7 million from 11 wins and six placings from 26 starts. Her big wins were the Group 1 races the Golden Slipper Stakes, Thousand Guineas and Crown Oaks in 2006. In 2007, she won the Group 1 races the Australian Guineas, the Arrowfield Stakes and the Memsie Stakes.
The next winner worth a look is Pinker Pinker from 2011.
Pinker Pinker earned over $2.5 million from 17 starts, with a record of six wins and five placings.
She won the 2011 Cox Plate that same year, along with the VRC Let’s Elope Stakes and the Group 3 Schweppervescence Trophy. She had high finishes in other major races in 2011, and 2012.
Her story, though, has an element of racing tragedy. She went into anaphylactic shock from a routine injection of joint maintenance medication and died on 4 April 2012.
The next name we noticed was that of Sabatini that won the Angus Armanasco Stakes in 2015. Her other win for that year was the Group 3 MRC Boronia Stakes. Like previous winners, she tried the Kewney Stakes, where she finished second to Wawail by half a length. In 2014, she won the Group 3 Quezette Stakes from Royal Snitzel.
See Sabatini’s win here:
2019 winner Qafila only won three times from 22 starts, but she won the SAJC South Australian Derby over 2500 metres at Morphettville that same year. She offered a good return on her sale price, but it is hard not to think that a daughter of Not A Single Doubt would have done more.
The Angus Armanasco Stakes continues to attract the cream of the fillies during the autumn at the Caulfield Racecourse located 8 km from Melbourne's central business district. Since it is an age-restricted race, there are no repeat winners. While the winners’ list is not populated by famous mares and fillies, some of the winners have managed to win Group 1 races and enjoy good careers.
|Year||Angus Armanasco Stakes Winners|
|2021||Yes Baby Yes|
|2016||Catch A Fire|
|2010||Set For Fame|
|2003||La Bella Dame|
|2000||I Am A Ripper|
|1999||Rose O' War|
|1996||Not On Friday|