The Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes is actually registered as the Boronia Stakes. Boronia is a name given to a group of flowering plants that are primarily found in Australia.
We have heard of a major horse race called The Run for the Roses, but wrong continent, as that race is the Kentucky Derby, one of the few races that could be identified by the majority of the citizens of the United States.
There is no Run for the Boronias;
While a flower name does make a good race name, the Group 3 Boronia Stakes most likely got its name from the Melbourne suburb of Boronia, which is just a little beyond Caulfield Racecourse to the east of the Melbourne CBD.
Kevin Hayes was a former chairman of the Melbourne Racing Club from back in the days when it was known as the Victoria Amateur Turf Club.
The Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes is run in early February at Caulfield Racecourse. It is currently run as a 1200-metre sprint for three-year-old fillies competing at set weight plus penalty conditions.
It offers $160,000 in prizemoney.
Like some of the other Group 3 races staged by the MRC, the lion’s share of the prizemoney goes to the winner. When How Womantic won in 2020, she earned $96,000 - 60 percent of the purse. Second place went to Enfleurage, which earned $28,000 and the winning margin for How Womantic was just a third of a length, but it was a costly one third of a length, worth over $67,000.
History of the Kevin Hayes Stakes
This is a newer race by most standards. It was first run in 1984 and the list of names by which it was called is almost as long as the list of past winners.
It was the Catanach’s Handicap, the Jewel Handicap, the Jewel Stakes the Laurent Perrier Stakes, the Inglis Premier Yearling Stakes. Those names cover the years from 1984 through 1997.
In 1998, it was the Swamp King Sand Park Stakes, which was by far the best name and the one that should have been maintained, but our taste in race names is seldom consulted.
It became the Sandown Park Stakes in 1999, and then the Sandown Park Handicap in 2003.
It has been known as the Kevin Hayes Stakes since 2004.
The trip was 1400-metres initially, and then 1200, down to 1100, and then back to 1200 from 2000 forward.
It has been run at Caulfield exclusively, save for the year Caulfield was closed right after the 2005 Caulfield Cup to remodel the track.
It was a Listed Race from inception until 2014, when it became a Group 3 level race.
Caufield Racecourse in Melbourne is right behind Flemington in terms of significance. Along with the Caulfield Cup during spring racing, the venue stages about 20 meetings per year, with 12 Group 1 races as the main attraction, along with numerous Group 2 and Group 3 races.
Racing History of the Keven Hayes Stakes
With a short history, along with a gender and age restriction, the list of prior winners of the Kevin Hayes Stakes is a list of modest horses for the most part.
When How Womantic won in 2020, she came in as the favourite in the race and was unbeaten over her first three races. After winning the Kevin Hayes Stakes, she moved up in grade, but the Group 2 Kewney Stakes proved too much for her. She finished eighth. Moved down in level, she won a Benchmark 84 at Moonee Valley and ran second in a BM90 race at Caulfield. She was stone motherless in another run at Flemington, which was her last time out. She has Ciaron Maher and David Eustace for her trainers, though, so she may be heard from again.
Sabatini won in 2015. That race can be viewed here:
The truly significant horse to win the Kevin Hayes Stakes was 2009 winner Typhoon Tracy. She seemed to like the track at Caulfield, as she won two C F Orr Stakes there, along with a Group 1 Futurity Stakes. She won Group 1 races at Flemington, Rosehill and Randwick as well.
Typhoon Tracy was the Australian Racehorse of the Year and the Australian Champion Middle Distance Racehorse in 2010.
She died giving birth to her first foal in 2012.
We could not pass up the chance to look at 2003 Kevin Hayes Stakes winner Fair Embrace and 2002 winner Brief Embrace.
Both horses did okay, but we were expecting a common sire, but not only was that not the case, we were unable to identify a common ancestor.
None of the other winners of the Kevin Hayes Stakes seems to jump off the page or ring a name recognition bell for us, but that could change, as the race seems attractive to the connections of three-year old fillies who want to prepare for Group 2 and Group 1 races during the autumn carnival, return for spring racing, or try some interstate racing.
Run alongside the Group 1 C F Orr Stakes, the Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes is a decent race and will appeal to those connections who do not want to go against older fillies and mares or colts and geldings, but still seek a decent test of younger fillies that will help identify potential.
Top three-year-old fillies will be found elsewhere, but it is entirely possible that something along the lines of Typhoon Tracy might come along, but let’s hope it doesn’t take another cyclone destroying Darwin for that horse to arise.La Mexicana
|Year||MRC Kevin Hayes Stakes Winner|
|2019||Crack The Code|
|2011||Miss Gai Flyer|
|2010||Set For Fame|
|2000||Heaps Of Fun|