The Caulfield Classic is a Group 3 stayers’ race of 2000 metres staged at Caulfield Racecourse at the Group 1 Caulfield Cup meeting in October during the Melbourne Racing Club Spring Carnival.
The race is open to colts, geldings and fillies, but the age restriction is three-year-olds only.
Caulfield Classic Race Details
Race Distance: 2000m
Prize Money: $200,000
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When Is The Caulfield Classic: 19/10/24
What Time Is The Caulfield Classic: TBA
Where Is The Caulfield Classic: Caulfield Racecourse
How To Live Stream The Caulfield Classic
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More Details About The Caulfield Classic
The race is run under set weight conditions and currently, as of the last half of 2022, offers $200,000 in prizemoney.
The winner in 2021 was Gunstock, a New Zealand gelding by Tavistock out of Zeranti.
Gunstock has only raced five times to date and as a four year old, it could be expected that with racing luck, he has another three years to improve on his modest 5 – 2:0:1 record to add to his thus far $156,000 prizemoney earnings.
He was a short favourite for the race and picked up $120,000 for the win. His next jump was the Group 1 Victoria Derby at Flemington, where 12 gallopers crossed the line ahead of him, perhaps indicating that he is not quite ready for the top-grade races.
We could not find a video replay of Gunstock winning the race, which indicates to some degree how the race is perceived in Australian Thoroughbred racing world.
History of the Caulfield Stakes
First, the name.
When the race was inaugurated in 1971, it was known as the Wallace Stakes. We will assume this refers to the horse Wallace by Carbine that won top races, but generated scores of progeny that won black-type races and earned lucrative prizemoney.
In 1979, the race was renamed to the Norman Robinson Stakes to honour a VATC Chairman from the 1940s.
For the year of 1989, the race was called the Steeves Lumley Stakes before reverting to Norman Robinson Stakes in 1990 and remaining through 2013.
Caulfield Classic was first used in 2014 and 2015, with 2016 marking the debut of the race as the Ladbrokes Classic.
Norman Robinson Stakes is the officially registered name. We will henceforth use the name Caulfield Classic.
Almost every aspect of this race has changed over the course of the years.
It was Listed level for 1978, but was run again that same year under special conditions. It was classified as Listed again from 1980 – 1997. Two years, 1998 and 1999, it was Group 3. The race had a cup of coffee as a Group 2 from 2000 – 2004, but was then demoted to Group 3 since 2005.
The trip for the race has always been 2000 metres, ignoring the minor difference between 2000 metres and the 1-1/4 miles under the old measuring system prior to metrication. In 1979, 16 metres were trimmed and in 200e, 20 metres were spliced on.
The prizemoney has varied dramatically. The 2021 winner Gunstock was racing for $120,000 for the win, but when Fontein Ruby won in 2014, she won $450,000 and the race was Group 3 at the time, so the total prize pool of $750,000 was big moolah for a Group 3 race.
By 2015, the year Sacred Eye won, she was the winner of a Group 3 race that had been docked to the tune of $250,000, so she collected just $300,000.
A further reduction was taken in 2017, so Cliff's Edge was paid $217,000.
Prizemoney was cut again in 2020 to $250,000, so winner Albarado was paid $150,000.
The current figure of $200,000 was instituted for 2021.
If all this were not enough to confuse connections trying to schedule campaigns for their gallopers, when the race peaked at $750,000 in 2014, a $250,000 bonus was dangled to the winner if that winner could also win the Caulfield Guineas or Thousand Guineas
Lastly, the race was run as a handicap up until 1990, when it was changed to set weight conditions.
It is hard to think of anything else that could be done, but we have seen the MRC do some creative things in the past.
one thing about which they seem to be predictable is that they simply adore naming races Caulfield Something or Other. We do not mind, as we immediately know the venue for the race.
Venue for the Caulfield Classic
The race has always been run at Caulfield Racecourse in Melbourne.
Since it is now held on the same day as the Caulfield Cup, some may recall how the track had a spell after the 1995 meeting and was back for the next edition the following year.
We think highly of Caulfield, sometimes referred to affectionately as “The Heath” because of how the area looked before Melbourne grew to its present size. We have an entire page devoted to the track that explains the facility in great detail.
For 2000-metre races such as the Caulfield Classic, the racers start from a short chute on the west side of the triangular layout and begin to turn almost immediately. Two more turns are involved and the race finishes just short of where it started, in front of the stand at the north side.
Racing History of the Caulfield Classic
This race has some odd history from the perspective that while it was run for the first time in 1971, the winners’ list starts with 1978, the last time the race was run as the Wallace Stakes.
The 1978 winner was Society Beau.
He was mainly undistinguished as a racer to the degree that our sources do not reveal how many jumps he made and though he was entire, he left no progeny record that we could locate.
A horse named Attack is given as the 1979 winner and while we found nine gallopers claiming that name, there was not one that foaled in 1976.
Bright Halo from 1980 made just six jumps for two wins and four placings, with his best Group 1 finish being a third place in the Group 1 Adelaide Cup.
He was a modest sire of five named foals.
We found nothing of interest regarding the 1981 winner, Lordship.
The 1982 winner, Brightman, left little behind, other than two fillies from 1999 named Sakeena and Strange Fruit.
King Delamere from 1983 won 10 races and placed in 7. Two of his wins were at Group 2 level, the Memsie Stakes and the J.F. Feehan Stakes.
King Delamere was the king of the barn, though. He sired many a foal and while none of those were spectacular, more than a few earned stakes at tracks all over the world.
The 1984 winner, Gold Deck was an undistinguished gelding.
A better type was the 1985 winner, Born To Be Queen. Her best win came in 1986 when she won the Group 1 Metropolitan Handicap. The same year as her win in the Caulfield Classic, she ran second in the Group 1 VRC Oaks, adding a third place finish in the Group 1 Victoria Derby.
She was dam to Coronation Day (1989) by Bletchingly and Heart Ruler by Marscay (1992), two gallopers that combined to win over $1 million, pretty evenly divided between them.
Dundas Lane was the winner in 1986. A New Zealand stallion, he produced eight named fillies, although only four won stakes and only two won races at all.
Another Kiwi stallion, Omnicorp, won the race in 1987. He made 16 starts for four wins and six placings to win just over $500,000. His best win was the Group 1 Victoria Derby, a frequent target for horses that run in the Caulfield Classic.
Omnicorp was a good sire. Two of his best were Vita Man (1993) out of Raven Avon and Rand (1994) out of Foreign Coin.
Panneria from 1988 is another of those semi-anonymous types. He won three races, even though his sire was Marscay, his grandsire was Biscay and his great grandsire was the infamous Irelander Star Kingdom.
Counterfeit, yet another New Zealand horse, won the race in 1989, the only year the race was known as the Steeves Lumley Stakes.
Counterfeit sired four named foals, two of which were minor stakes winners.
In a remarkable pattern, another Kiwi won the race in 1990.
He was Big Dermott and his 70 jumps predispose us to live him, even if his seven wins were in modest races.
We are weary from typing New Zealand and Kiwi, but the 1991 winner Lady Purpose requires that we do. She is credited with winning a 1200-metre Listed race, the NEC Quality and it is not common to find a galloper of this sort of race that could win sprints and staying races.
Lady Purpose was dam to five named foals. Three of those earned money, but all three combined account for less than $30,000.
lightly raced gelding named River Hero was the 1992 winner. He earned under $100,000 and if this were another race than the Caulfield Classic, we might have ignored him.
Battle Hawk was the winner in 1993. He was from those islands off the east coast of Australia and he made 71 jumps as an entire. He was sire to 11 named foals, with the best being Battle Wind (1994) out of High Winds that won about $70,000, but caught our attention for his 78 jumps.
Punctual from 1994 was seldom on time when it came to crossing the line and since he was a gelding, he is of no interest with regard to progeny.
The 1995 winner was none other than the champion race mare Nothin’ Leica Dane. She was the sort that we suspect went to the track to run in something else and lined up in the Caulfield Classic by mistake.
She won over $1.7 million, with a big win in the Group 1 Victoria Derby and was strong enough to finish second three days later to Doriemus, although she was four lengths back to the Cups Double winner.
The 1996 winner, Mustang Ranch was not exceptional, perhaps not even average, but he was not from New Zealand, at least.
Brave Prince from 1997 won almost $600,000, so we can forgive this gelding for needing 54 jumps to do it. His best and final win was the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes in 2001.
We mention the 1998 winner Lawyer just to maintain continuity. He was a decent sire to 18 named foals, two of which won over $100,000 each.
Blackfriars from 1999 won over $800,000 from just 13 jumps for four wins and two placings. He beat Shogun Lodge half a length to win the 1999 Group 1 Victoria Derby.
Blackfriars was by Danehill and he was sire to dozens. He was daddy to one of our personal all-time favourites, Black Heart Bart and another good one, Come Play With Me. God Has Spoken was a million dollar winner out of Dolly Will Do. Playing God out of the same dam won over $1.5 million and many Blackfriars progeny won stakes in the high six-figure realm.
The gelding Royale Exit won the race in 2000, but he was ordinary at best.
The 2001 winner was Amalfi of New Zealand. None of his many progeny was particularly notable.
Platinum Scissors from 2002 earned nearly $1 million.
He had a Group 1 win in the 2002 Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick in his jump prior to the Caulfield Classic win. He had other good showings in better races and five of his offspring earned some money.
The winner in 2003 was the gelding Casual Pass that nonchalantly won over $1.4 million from 41 jumps for 7 wins and 10 placings. He was by Snippets, a sire we encounter often and most recently, when we were having a look at the Group 3 Sydney Stakes.
Casual Pass had a three-race streak going in 2003 where he won the Group 2 Stutt Stakes, the Caulfield Classic and the Group 1 MacKinnon Stakes. One of those he beat in the MacKinnon was THE Fields of Omagh. He also won the Group 1 Yalumba Stakes in 2006, but Fields Of Omagh extracted revenge in the 2006 Cox Plate.
We mention 2004 winner Cedar Manor, a New Zealand gelding, only because he made 88 jumps.
Pendragon from 2005 was a good sire, but that is all we will report.
Polanski won the race in 2013 following a win in the Super Impose Stakes and followed by a win in the Victoria Derby.
Polanski won over $1.1 million from just 10 jumps.
The filly Fontein Ruby was the winner in 2014, fresh off a win in the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes. She won over $1 million. Three foals by Fastnet Rock combine for a little over $200,000 in earnings.
Cliff's Edge from 2017 won over $1.1 million from 30 jumps for 8 wins and 7 placings.
We conclude with Albarado from 2020. We could not find a replay.
The Caulfield Classic exceeded our expectations for good winners and good stud stallions and mares.
Three-year-old races such as this are better than they appear at first blush, even if the Caulfield Stakes is vastly eclipsed by the Caulfield Cup on the same day.
He won over $1 million from just 11 jumps for four wins and three placings. The lion’s share of his earnings came from winning the Group 1 Victoria Derby next up after winning the Caulfield Classic.
Caulfield Classic Past Winners
|2019||Thought Of That|
|2007||Pillar Of Hercules|
|1995||Nothin' Leica Dane|
|1985||Born To Be Queen|