One of the races on the first day of the Melbourne Racing Club spring carnival is the Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes.
The race is for three-year-old fillies, so along with the Group 3 Northwood Plume Stakes, the meeting is ladies’ day of a sort, if we may be permitted to say so, as it is just these two and none of the other eight races at the meeting that are restricted to fillies and mares.
Thoroughbred Club Stakes Race Details
Race Distance: 1200m
Prize Money: $200,000
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When Is The Thoroughbred Club Stakes: 16/11/24
What Time Is The Thoroughbred Club Stakes: TBA
Where Is The Thoroughbred Club Stakes: Caulfield Racecourse
How To Live Stream The Thoroughbred Club Stakes
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More Details About The Thoroughbred Club Stakes
The young lasses race a trip of 1200 metres under set weight plus penalty conditions.
Prizemoney for the race is $200,000 as of 2021.
The most recent winner was Sneaky Five. It has taken the daughter of Fastnet Rock just seven jumps for three wins to rise above the $1 million in prizemoney level. More than half of her haul came from winning a special conditions race, the $1 million Golden Gift at Rosehill, as a two-year-old.
Try as we might, we could not find a replay of the 2021 edition of the race. There are other mysteries associated with the race and we will delve into those in a moment or two.
The 2020 edition of the race was won by Swats That.
History of the Thoroughbred Club Stakes
Okay. Here is one of the mysteries.
The race was inaugurated in 1957 as the Maroona Handicap. It was won by New Light that was ridden by legendary hoop George Moore.
The only horse we found by that name was born in 1997, well after the race was established. He won only $31,000, so not even the Vics would name a race for such a galloper, or would they?
There is a town by that name, population about 100, that could be called Woop Woop just as easily, since it is a long way to the west of Melbourne, and we are certain the Vics would not name a race for what seems a nice place, but slightly off the path.
The second mystery is that while the race started in 1957, we here at Pro Group Racing do not know of the winners from 1958 through 1967.
This is odd. We might expect a gap of this sort if we were talking about 1757 or 1857. Hopefully, the racing bosses are listening and will supply the names of the 10 missing winners.
It could be possible that the race was not held those years, but we cannot name another single instance of something like that occurring.
The rest of the history of the race is fairly standard.
It was about 100 metres shorter from inception through 1962. In the years of 1972 and 1973, it was run at the current distance, but from 1974 through 1999, it was stretched to 1400 metres. It was again and is now 1200 metres since 2000.
The grade for the race is simple. It was a Principal race until 1979, when the Group classification system determined that it should be Group 3.
There were three occasions when the race was run in divisions – 1971, 1973 and 1975. That would seem to shoot holes in any theory we might have devised that would suggest that the missing years we mentioned was due to a shortage of three-year-old fillies.
Venue for the Thoroughbred Club Stakes
The race has always been held at Caulfield Racecourse in Melbourne. Racing there dates back to 1859, although we seriously doubt it bore much resemblance to what takes place there now.
The marquee race is the Caulfield Cup, which is run two weeks after the Thoroughbred Club Stakes, not that it matters, because no three-year-old sprint filly would stand a chance over 2400 metres.
We have an entire web page devoted to further details about Caulfield Racecourse for anyone who desires a more complete story.
Racing History of the Thoroughbred Club Stakes
This is the sort of race where examining the winners can reveal fillies that rose to win significant races, if we can say that without diminishing the talent it requires to win a Group 3 race. We will look for winners of the race that would later win races of higher classification, those who excelled as two-year-olds and those that produced significant progeny.
We are compelled to begin with 1968, when a galloper named Threat won the race.
She is listed as a British horse and her lines are strictly northern hemisphere – not a trace of Aussie or Kiwi DNA to be found. She had lines tying her to U.S. Triple Crown winner Secretariat.
Not much has survived as far as a racing record and it would seem she did not contribute as a breeder.
We could say much the same about the winners in subsequent years, until, that is, we arrive at 1974, the year Honoured won.
It does not seem as though she won any big races but she did leave a statistical report of 42 jumps for 15 wins and 11 placings, but all that resulted in under $50,000 in stakes, despite having Vain for her sire and Wilkes for her grandsire.
Honoured supplied three colts and one filly, but nothing notable.
The winner of one division the last time the race was split was Vamp, winner in 1975. She supplied 13 named foals, which must be something close to a record and one more than our grandmother on our mum’s side. She was served by top stallion, but only Avatar by Showdown earned good money, $210,000 in her case.
The winner of the Thoroughbred Club Stakes in 1977, Miss Expensive, was unremarkable as a racer, but she did produce Strawberry Ranch by Rancher that foaled in 1984 and won over $300,000.
We will make brief mention of 1978 winner Just Landed, because she was by Planet Kingdom with Star Kingdom for a grandsire. We did not find racing reports for her and were disappointed that she produced just two foals that did little considering the pedigree.
Biscadale by Biscay, with Star Kingdom as grandsire won the race in 1980 and she won the Group 1 Thousand Guineas that same year. Two foals, a filly and a colt, did nothing noteworthy.
A better winner from 1984 was Delightful Belle.
She had wins in the C F Orr Stakes and the Memsie Stakes when those races were classified as Group 2. She also won the Tranquil Star Stakes and the Carlton Draught Stakes.
Her best offspring was Belle Du Jour by Dehere that would win over $3.6 million, including the 2000 Golden Slipper Stakes.
The winner for 1987, Imposera, was a familiar name to us.
That is because she won the 1988 Caulfield Cup after jumping for $51. Does that qualify as a boilover?
She was by Imposing out of Calera, with Todman as a grandsire and you know what that means, Star Kingdom for a grandsire. She won over $1.1 million, but did not contribute any progeny anywhere near her quality.
The 1988 winner of the Thoroughbred Club Stakes was Boardwalk Angel.
She won the Group 1 Goodwood Handicap and the Group 2 Linlithgow Stakes in 1989.
Boardwalk Angel was served by the likes of Zabeel and other good stallions, but her best was a 1993 filly by Success Express named Coogee Walk that won over $250,000.
Verocative by Bletchingly won the race in 1994.
She was served by top stallions such as Danehill, Octagonal and Encosta De Lago, but her best was Jet Spur by Flying Spur that won over $400,000 from just 10 jumps for three wins and two placings.
In 1996, the winner was Flaming Heart.
She won just under $150,000 and the Thoroughbred Club Stakes was her best win, although at that time the win was worth on a bit above $50,000.
She produced 10 named foals. Seven of those foals earned stakes, with the best being 2010 filly Real Love by Desert King that earned over $1.4 million. Real Love turned out to be a respectable stayer, with wins at 2200 metres and high finishes out to 2500 metres.
Five others earned, in descending order, $346,000, $258,000, $175,000, $116,000 and $113,000.
It is always tempting to wonder if racing ability skips generations similar to how certain human traits do. Thankfully, we got our grandsire’s, and not our sire’s, hair.
The winner from 1998, Speedy Kids, showed early promise. She had some good finishes in better races, but after winning the Thoroughbred Club Stakes, it appears that she was simply trolling the stables for a boyfriend. None of her kids was particularly speedy, though. A 2006 colt by Encosta De Lago brought in a little over $75,000.
A galloper’s galloper won the race in 2002.
Her name was Innovation Girl and she fell just short of the $1 million mark. She needed only 15 jumps to do it, for 10 wins and 4 placings. The only race in which she failed to place was the Group 3 Jumeirah International Plate in the race just prior to her Thoroughbred Club Stakes win.
She was considered good enough to have the likes of Kerrin McEvoy, Nash Rawiller and Damien Oliver steer her. She won at Group 2 level and concluded her career with a third in the Group 1 C F Orr Stakes and a second in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes.
She was perhaps a disappointment at stud, as only Brazen Beau got much out of her, a 2017 colt named Ideas Man that won over $300,000.
This, despite being served by the likes of Encosta De Lago, Lonhro, Exceed And Excel and Redoute’s Choice.
Splashing Out won the race in 2006.
She conforms to the pattern we have been observing of winners that win four or five races and then move on to motherhood. The Thoroughbred Club Stakes was her third jump of 11 and her best win. The connections lined her up for a couple of Group 1 races to conclude her racing career, although those last two jumps were in New Zealand.
She was a great broodmare. She dropped six named foals, five by Pins and one by Savabeel. All six were stakes winners, with the best being the 2008 filly Shopaholic by Pins that won over $270,000. Two other progeny, both by Pins, raced in Hong Kong and won the equivalent of over $1 million in Aussie money.
Gamble Me won in 2007.
She won over $460,000 from 22 jumps for six wins and five placings.
Gamble Me was another of those winners with mostly northern hemisphere lines. She was initially trained by Lee Freedman, who turned her over to Gai Waterhouse in 2008.
She was served by great stallions, such as U.S. Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, Street Cry (2x), Medaglia D’ Oro, More Than Ready (3x) and Lonhro. Two of her eight named foals won stakes money.
Avenue won the race in 2009.
It was just her fourth jump and the three previous races resulted in two wins and one second. Her next jump was a Group 3 win in the Red Anchor Stakes at Moonee Valley. She would return to win what is basically the same race, except she had to be four when she won the Group 3 Northwood Plume Stakes. She managed a second place finish to Eagle Falls in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate.
Her serving sires were a Who’s Who, with two by Exceed And Excel, and one each by Street Cry, Fastnet Rock and Redoute’s Choice, but we did not see a single stakes winner, let alone anything near the quality of the stallions that served Avenue.
Solar Charged won the race in 2010.
We probably would not have mentioned her, as she won only three with five placings from 15 jumps for $378,000, but one of her offspring would win the Thoroughbred Club Stakes in 2018 and that filly was…you will just have to wait.
She produced named foals by Zoustar (4x), Street Cry, Lonhro and Sebring. Sisstar by Zoustar won over half a million dollars and five of Solar Charged foals earned prizemoney.
Platelet, the winner in 2011, made 32 jumps for 10 wins and 14 placings for approximately $1.4 million. The win came in just her sixth jump and her first five resulted in nothing below third place.
Platelet had Group 1 wins in the 2013 Sangster Stakes and The Goodwood.
As we have often observed, racing skills do not necessarily carry forward to the next generation and none of Platelet’s progeny accomplished anything notable.
Earthquake by Exceed And Excel from Cataclysm was the winner in 2014. Is it just us, or does it seem as though Exceed And Excel has had an outsized influence of the Thoroughbred Club Stakes?
Earthquake jumped 12 times for five wins and four placings and earned over $1.4 million. By the time she won the race, she had made seven jumps without finishing worse than third. Her first major win was the Blue Diamond Prelude, where she beat a good opponent in Eloping handily. She had an easy time of it in the next race, the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes, which she took easily from Jabali. She was less than a length away from victory when Mossfun beat her to win the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes.
The Thoroughbred Club Stakes was her final win, but by that stage, it could be said that she shouted the oats for the entire stable.
A colt from 2017 and a filly from 2019 have as yet not done anything noteworthy.
Invincible Star by I Am Invincible from 2017 was about average for the winners of this race, but for the lack of a little luck, she was necked out of the win in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes by Merchant Navy.
Earlier, we teased with a cliffhanger about the 2018 winner whose dam Solar Charged won the race in 2010.
When we saw the name of Sunlight, or immediate thought was, what was she doing in this race?
Did her connections intend to run her in one of the Group 1 races at the meeting and accidentally send her out for the wrong race? She could have won any of the three Group 1 races at the meeting, but she could have had a real chance in the Toorak Handicap and if her name had been on the board, we would have plunged on her.
Sunlight won over $6.5 million by winning 11 times with 8 placings from 24 jumps. She won five consecutive at one stage, with a big and easy win in the 2018 Magic Millions 2YO Classic. After winning the Thoroughbred Club Stakes, she took the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington from Zousain. Her next big win was the Newmarket Handicap from the good gallopers Osborne Bulls and Brave Smash, backed by a Group 1 win in the William Reid Stakes.
California Zimbol was the 2019 winner, but we mention her mainly as a way to end things and get to the 2020 and 2021 winners we mentioned at the outset.
We doubt that anyone who goes to Caulfield Racecourse on the first day of the MRC spring carnival is going to see the Thoroughbred Cub Stakes, but it is a good race, especially for those of us who like the fillies.
We may never know which horses won the race in the years for which no winner was given, but we doubt we missed much.
Thoroughbred Club Stakes Past Winners
|Year||Thoroughbred Club Stakes Winners|
|2016||Hear The Chant|
|2005||Queen Of The Hill|
|1989||Lady Of Perfection|
|1972||Make Mine Roses|