The Caulfield Guineas Prelude run at Caulfield Racecourse during September is a Group 3 race of 1400 metres for colts and geldings three years of age only.
The race is run under set weight plus penalty conditions and along with the $300,000 in prizemoney, a ballot exemption is provided to the winner for the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas.
Caulfield Guineas Prelude Race Details
Race Distance: 1400m
Prize Money: $300,000
How To Bet On The Caulfield Guineas Prelude
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Caulfield Guineas Prelude Betting Tips
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When Is The Caulfield Guineas Prelude: 28/9/2024
What Time Is The Caulfield Guineas Prelude: TBC
Where Is The Caulfield Guineas Prelude: Caulfield Racecourse
How To Live Stream The Caulfield Guineas Prelude
To live stream the Caulfield Guineas Prelude, TAB Account Holders can watch the race live.
More Details About The Caulfield Guineas Prelude
The 2021 winner, Lightsaber, jumped second favourite from the sixth barrier and won by half a length from Brigantine to earn the $180,000 first prize plus a nice bonus to bring the haul to $187,750. Lightsaber used the free pass to the Caulfield Guineas to run fourth.
At the same meeting, the VRC offers the Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude for three-year-old fillies. The running conditions and prizemoney are identical, but the ladies have a higher status, Group 2 versus Group 3 for the boys. The fillies have a better ballot exemption clause, though, as winning the 1000 Guineas Prelude comes with ballot exemptions, not just for the Caulfield Guineas, but also to the Thousand Guineas.
History of the Caulfield Guineas Prelude
The Caulfield Guineas Prelude is a newer race, inaugurated in 1985.
It was known as the Show Day Stakes from 1985 through 1989. The name was switched to the J D MacDonald Stakes from 1990 – 1997. For the races held in 1998 and 1999, they dropped the initials and simply called the race the MacDonald Stakes. The current name came along in 2000 and is now modified only to reflect sponsorship.
It was a Listed race initially, from inception until 2000, with Group 3 status being conferred for the 2001 edition of the race.
The most significant change we observed to the race was that it was a 1200-metre trip from the start through 1990. The race was stretched to 1400 metres beginning with 1991.
We will examine the winners’ list further along, but at this time, we will include the fact that only four winners of the Caulfield Guineas Prelude have managed to win the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas off a ballot exemption for winning the Prelude.
Those four were Alfa (1996), Wonderful World (2006) Anacheeva (2010) and Helmet (2011).
Race Venue for the Caulfield Guineas Prelude
The Caulfield Guineas Prelude has always jumped at Caulfield Racecourse.
Caulfield Racecourse is one of Melbourne’s three major metro courses. All right. Four, if you count Sandown.
Racing takes place at Caulfield all year, with the major races coming in the spring and autumn racing carnivals. As of mid-2022, there are 12 Group 1 races staged at Caulfield. There are eight Group 2 and 19 Group 3 races spread across 25 meetings over the course of a year.
The race everyone will recognise is the Group 1 Caulfield Cup. Racing fans that appreciate the juveniles will know of the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes, while other Group 1s that have impact are the Oakleigh Plate, Toorak Handicap and the Memsie Stakes.
Caulfield Racecourse has an interesting triangle shape. For a 1400-metre race such as the Caulfield Guineas Prelude, the horses start from a short chute and have only 190 metres of straight before reaching the first turn on the southern extreme of the track. A second straight leads to the home turn and the finishing straight in front of the stands at the northern extreme of the course.
Racing History of the Caulfield Guineas Prelude
The Caulfield Guineas Prelude does not offer a lot of history since the race dates back to just 1985.
Still, it has supplied some notable winners that have used the race as a springboard to launch or further impressive careers.
Since the race is a one-and-done, open only to three-year-old colts and geldings, there are no multiple winners. Many of the horses that run in the Prelude are aiming at the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas.
When we cover a race that offers a ballot exemption, we enjoy seeing the outcomes for Prelude winners that go on to jump in the actual Caulfield Guineas. The list is not long. A ballot exemption is no guarantee of success.
Those that have filled the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude/Group 1 Caulfield Guineas double are Alfa (1996), Wonderful World (2006), Anacheeva (2010) and Helmet (2011).
Brequillo won the first time the Caulfield Guineas Prelude was run in 1985.
Our sources show Brequillo as having done nothing better than win the race, which was at that time called the Show Day Stakes.
The 1986 winner, Wild Rampage, was a product of the champion Bletchingly. Some might know where we are going with that. Bletchingly was by Biscay and Biscay was by Star Kingdom. There is that name again. He won four and placed in six races from 23 jumps and then retired to New Zealand for the fun part of being a stallion.
Wild Rampage was a productive sire in terms of quantity, but in terms of quality, we saw some stakes winners, but none that earned above $200,000. The two best were Chillies, a mare out of Patch My Eye that won over $100,000 NZD and Rampage Queen out of Dixie Queen that won just over $133,000.
Next, we have the 1987 winner, Noted.
Noted made 22 starts for three wins and four placings. The other two wins by Noted were the Cranbourne Track Club Chelsea Handicap and the Devonshire Handicap. He was by Vain, but nothing like his dad in terms of performance. Star Kingdom is in there on the distaff side of the pedigree. Noted stood and produced offspring as late as 1996, but nothing notable.
Kingston Heritage was the 1988 winner and was another Vain progeny.
He was the winner of seven races with two placings. Good wins by Kingston Heritage include the Merson Cooper Stakes the Mercedes Benz Handicap and the Rubiton Stakes.
As a stud, Kingston Heritage produced some stakes winners, with the best being Alanor Lad out of Sylvanette that would win about a quarter of a million dollars.
Sussex Star was the winner of the Caulfield Guineas Prelude in 1989. Like the prior winners, he was a modest racer that needed 42 jumps to win three races and produce seven placings. We believe the win in the Prelude was his best and if his connections had any high expectations of Sussex Star as a sire, those expectations were dashed and the only foal we found was a 1993 filly by Eleura Lass named Fine Stone that did nothing.
The 1990 winner was a New Zealand horse named Unspoken Word. He was the best we have found to this point in the history of the race as the winner of over half a million dollars. His first win of significance was the Prelude, after which he won a Group 2 race at Canberra.
Seemingly, out of nowhere, Unspoken Word won the Group 1 Gadsden Rheem Stakes at Flemington in 1992 by almost a length from Tanjian Prince. The out of nowhere part comes from Unspoken Word often being too far back in the field to mention, even in minor races.
Laranto was the Caulfield Guineas Prelude winner from 1991. He was notable more for his progeny than his racing. He sired Group 1 winners in Plastered, Let Go Thommo and La Volta. Plastered would earn more than $1.5 million, or about seven times what his sire earned from racing. Let Go Thommo earned almost a million dollars and La Volta was around $500,000.
The winner in 1992 was Just Juan.
He won four and placed in five races from 25 jumps. He came within half a length of winning the Group 1 Sires’ Produce Stakes and did win the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Sandown.
The winner in 1993 was Port Watch, a gelding by Star Watch from Voltage. He was a true campaigner, making 49 jumps for 10 wins and 8 placings. He tried the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas in just his fifth jump, coming within less than two lengths to the winner Mahogany that same year, so Port Watch used the ballot exemption from winning the Prelude effectively to collect a nice payday.
Winner of almost $1 million, 1994 Caulfield Guineas Prelude winner Racer's Edge was a horse limited to 21 jumps for eight wins and six placings. Racer's Edge was returning good results from an early age. By the time he won the Prelude, he had a third in the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill and a Group 2 win to his credit. His try in the Caulfield Guineas resulted in a fifth place finish.
Racer's Edge won three of his last four starts including the Group 1 C. F. Orr Stakes in 1996.
Racer's Edge was better at serving mares than he was at racing. He produced multiple progeny that would win beyond $100,000, with many well above that amount, with True Courser New Edge combining for the better part of a million dollars in stakes.
Strategic was the 1995 winner.
He won over $650,000 from just 18 jumps for seven wins and four placings. He won five of his first six jumps and it might have been six from six except for a disqualification in his very first jump in a Listed race at Randwick. Two of this wins were Group 2 races. He did not go straight to the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas next up, but when he tried the 1995 edition, he ran fifth. A Group 1 win followed the fifth in the Caulfield Guineas when Strategic won the Australia Stakes by over three lengths from a small field.
Strategic’s sire was Zedative and Strategic passed some racing ability to a prodigious number of offspring, with progeny that have produced millions in stakes earnings. Fair Embrace, Meurice and Mistegic were three of his best. Platelet is another that deserves mention.
Alfa, from 1996, was the first galloper to win the Caulfield Guineas Prelude, and then go on to win the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas.
Alfa won over $880,000 from 25 jumps for 10 wins and 6 placings.
Like Strategic, Alfa had a race in between winning the Prelude and the Guineas proper. He won the Group 3 AAMI Vase at Moonee Valley in 1996. That race is 2040 metres, which led us to think he had won the Cox Plate, but his try in the Cox Plate found him running eighth in a field of nine.
From Alfa in 1996 through Great Glen in 2002, we saw winners that were mostly of the same pattern as some of the earlier winners.
We find a true notable in 2003’s Elvestroem.
He won the Victoria Derby that same year and his big win came in the 2004 Caulfield Cup. He was the winner of over $5.7 million with 10 wins and 9 placings from 32 jumps. He was capable of beating Makybe Diva on multiple occasions. He has not sired anything with anywhere close to his earning ability, but Hucklebuck from Kondari won over $1.1 million.
Another notable came along in 2005 when it was Apache Cat for the win in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude.
Apache Cat won six Group 1 races. Two of those wins were the Australia Stakes in 2008 and 2009. He won over $4.5 million. After winning the Prelude, he ran seventh in the Guineas. In 2008, he won four consecutive Group 1 races. His last win was the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 in Queensland.
It was Anacheeva taking the race in 2010. He was the second to fill the Prelude/Guineas double. He won almost a million dollars in just 12 jumps for four wins and one place. After winning the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas, he never again won in six tries. Anacheeva is well known by the mares, but none of his kids has amounted to anything, at least, not yet.
Helmet from 2011 was the last to fill the double.
He was the winner of over $1.6 million from 13 jumps for six wins and three placings. He was already a Group 1 winner from the Sires’ Produce Stakes and the Champagne Stakes, both at Randwick.
Helmet fizzled as a sire.
Epaulette was the winner in 2012. He won over $1.7 million from 14 jumps for five wins and four placings. His best offspring so far is Paradee, a filly out of Icy Heels that has earned over $750,000. There are multiple other stakes winners as well.
We might say we saved the best for last, but we didn’t save anything. It is just because it took until 2019 to supply Alligator Blood for a winner of the Caulfield Guineas Prelude.
Alligator Blood won almost $3 million, with major wins in such races as the Vo Rogue Plate, C.S. Hayes Stakes, and Australian Guineas. His most recent outing and win was the 2022 Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm. His try next up after the Prelude win was the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas, where he was necked by Super Seth, a horse Alligator Blood beat to win the Prelude.
The replay of Alligator Blood winning the Prelude can be seen at the following link.
The rest of the list is Crosshaven from 2020 and Lightsaber from 2021 that was mentioned at the outset.
Crosshaven appears to be doing well, with $700,000 earned from his first 19 starts, with five wins and three placings. He has jumped in some Group 1 races, with the best result being a third place to Streets Of Avalon and Imaging in the C.F. Orr Stakes, followed by stone motherless ninth of nine in the Futurity Stakes won by Probabeel.
The Caulfield Guineas Prelude for Colts and Geldings might never be as popular as the fillies’ version of the Caulfield Guineas, but it has supplied capable winners, many of which were sent to the sheds rather than risk a racing injury that might prevent lucrative stud careers.
It is no mean feat to win a Group 3 race, for as much as we focus on the Group 1s and the ballot exemption for the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas is a considerable incentive for most connections and trainers.
Caulfield Guineas Prelude Past Winners
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