The Rubiton Stakes is a Group 2, 1100-metre sprint race conducted in the early autumn racing at Caulfield Racecourse in Melbourne. It is run under set weight plus penalty conditions at one of Caulfield’s biggest meetings, alongside the Group 1 feature C F Orr Stakes.
It jumped for the first time in 1989.
It offers a prizemoney pool of $200,000 and is named in honour of the 1987 Cox Plate winner, Rubiton. We checked and declare Rubiton worthy of a namesake race, as along with the Cox Plate, he won three other Group 1 races and three Group 2 races, including the now Group 1 Memsie Stakes and Manikato Stakes.
The first three years the Rubiton Stakes was run, it was classified as a Listed race. In 1992, it was lifted to Group 3 and remained there through 2012. It became Group 2 in 2013.
The distance of the race has been relatively stable, varying only by 100 metres when it was shortened to 1000 metres for the 2006 race, which was held at Sandown, possibly to preserve the new turf that was laid at Caulfield in 2005.
It migrated between Sandown and Caulfield Racecourse over the years, with the first five races at Sandown. It has found a home at Caulfield from 2007 onwards.
More interesting is that from its inception through 2009, the Rubiton Stakes was run under weight for age conditions, with the set weights plus penalty conditions beginning in 2010.
Rubiton Stakes Race Venue
Caulfield Racecourse is well known and popular. It was a rough bush track back in 1859 and it became a proper metro course in 1876 when the Victorian Amateur Turf Club was formed.
Recent years have not been particularly kind to Thoroughbred racing, though, and in a couple of years, the site will no longer have training facilities, which means that stables and trainers will be compelled to find another base.
The Caulfield training base was home to Black Caviar. Racing will continue unabated, but if you should see horses wandering the streets homeless, wearing signs advertising that they Will Race for Food, show some compassion and throw them some of the hay you have cluttering up the rear seat of the family hauler.
No worries, the Caulfield Cup and the other big races will continue on and Caulfield Racecourse has about 20 race meetings per year with plenty of Group racing.
Racing History of the Rubiton Stakes
By most standards of Victorian racing, the Rubiton Stakes is a youngster, just over 30 years old.
The Rubiton Stakes has presented some notable winners across the short years of its existence.
The first race was won by Zeditave in 1989. His is not a household word, but some people with odd accents and anxiety might relay that there was a time they grew so nervous that they had to take a zedatave.
Actually, Zeditave was quite the performer and was notable because either he won a race, or he finished off the podium. He made 17 starts and won 14, including five Group 1s. He won his first six starts, took a holiday by finishing sixth in the 1988 Golden Slipper Stakes, and then reeled off four more consecutive wins.
That year of 1989 when he won the Rubiton Stakes, he concluded his career with three Group 1 wins, including victories over Vo Rogue in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes and Redelva in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes.
Since we invoked the name of Redelva, we should reports that he was the 1991 Rubiton Stakes winner and a quite formidable racehorse by any measure.
Schillaci was the next notable winner, with Rubiton Stakes wins in 1993 and 1995, along with eight Group 1 wins that included two victories in the Futurity Stakes and two in the Lightning Stakes.
Super Elegant won the race three times from 2003 – 2005. So while Makybe Diva was occupied winning three Melbourne Cups, Super Elegant was winning Rubiton Stakes. He would more appropriately been named Super Worker for his 69 starts, while some might say he made eight starts too many, as he never won again after the 2005 win in the Group 3 Spring Stakes at Morphettville. He did win two Group 1 races, the Goodwood at Morphettville and the Doomben 10,000 in Queensland.
Here De Angels won the race in 2008 and 2010. The 2010 Rubiton Stakes was his last win, so much as could be said of Super Elegant and his 68 starts, Here De Angels could have reduced his 39-race career at 29 following his second placing next time out at the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate.
One of our all-time favourites, Chautauqua, was the 2015 winner. The Grey Flash won plenty of sprints, including three T J Smith Stakes, but our admiration for him emanates from his calling time at the end by refusing to leave the barriers on about seven occasions.
Super Cash won the Rubiton Stakes in 2018 and 2018. Like Super Elegant, Super Cash has not won since she won the Rubiton Stakes. She may still be racing, but that is not known for certain. She beat good horses winning the Rubiton ahead of Flamberge and Merchant Navy. She has been traded from trainer Andy Noblet to the Hayes/Dabernig operation.
Nature Strip won in 2019. Nature Strip was handed to Chris Waller in 2019, for whom he has won four Group 1 races. Nature Strip had two tries at The Everest, but could not place in either try.
Here is Nature Strip’s winning run in the 2020 T J Smith Stakes.
On a crowded race meeting, the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes stands out as a major race for some horses, while for the better types, it is a good sprint race to prepare for the autumn Group 1 races.
Most of the winners fall into the first category, but the significant winners were all exceptional and used the Rubiton Stakes as springboards in many cases, while in the case of others, it was the capper to a productive career.
|Year||Rubiton Stakes Winners|
|2010||Here De Angels|
|2009||Mind Your Head|
|2008||Here De Angels|
|2007||Dance The Waves|