The Thousand Guineas Prelude is a Group 2 race held at Caulfield Racecourse in late September.
It is an age and gender restricted race for three-year-old fillies and it is run over 1400 metres under set weight plus penalties conditions in mid-September. Prize money for the event is worth $300,000.
Thousand Guineas Prelude Race Details
Race Distance: 1400m
Prize Money: $300,000
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When Is The Thousand Guineas Prelude: 19/10/24
What Time Is The Thousand Guineas Prelude: TBA
Where Is The Thousand Guineas Prelude: Caulfield Racecourse
How To Live Stream The Thousand Guineas Prelude
To live stream the Thousand Guineas Prelude, TAB Account Holders can watch the race live.
More Details About The Thousand Guineas Prelude
Caulfield stages an identical race named the Caulfield Guineas Prelude, with the exception that the boys’ race is classified as Group 3.
Do we detect a note of gender bias here?
It’s okay. Filly races are more popular. Prizemoney is equal, though, this is Australia after all.
The Thousand Guineas Prelude is a newer race that started in 1983. The winner receives a ballot exemption for the Caulfield Guineas and the Thousand Guineas.
The most recent edition of the race was won Bon's A Pearla. She received $180,000 for her narrow win over favourite Heresy. Bon's A Pearla used her exemption poorly by running 10th in the Thousand Guineas.
History of the Thousand Guineas Prelude
The race is registered as the Tranquil Star Stakes and is run by the Melbourne Racing Club. When it was run in 2021, it was being called the Off The Track Community TG Prelude. Abbreviating Thousand Guineas to TG would save some space and it seems to be the trend these days to shorten anything, but adding Off The Track actually made it longer.
When the race debuted in 1983, it was call the Health Stakes. It remained so until 1990, when the MRC decided Tranquil Star was a good enough galloper to deserve a race name. She won the Might And Power Stakes, Caulfield Cup and the Cox Plate along with a slew of other major races between 1940 and 1946.
It remained the Tranquil Star Stakes through 2001, with the name switching to the Jumeirah International Stakes from 2002 through 2005. It resumed as the Tranquil Star Stakes in 2006, and then became the Thousand Guineas Prelude in 2007. That name lasted until 2021, when it became the TG Prelude.
The race grade for the TG Prelude was Listed from the beginning through 1999, with Group 3 status conferred from 2000 until 2012. Group 2 came along in 2013.
All that shifting of names and ranking is common in racing, but the biggest shift in the race was in the trip.
It was a mile race initially and remained so through 1989. From 1990 onward, it has been 1400 metres. That change is significant in a couple of ways. At 1600 metres, horses prepared for longer distance races could manage backing down a bit, while at 1400 metres, it is a challenge for the sprinters to come up with an extra 200 – 400 metres with some kick left in the tank.
The other reason is unique to Caulfield.
Race Venue for the Thousand Guineas Prelude
Caulfield Racecourse is next in line following Flemington in terms of the metro tracks.
There has been racing there since 1859, two years before the first Melbourne Cup was run.
Important races include the Caulfield Cup and the Caulfield Guineas.
As of 2021, Caulfield presents 12 Group 1, eight Group 2 and 19 Group 3 races.
For a 1400-metre race, the horses start in a small chute at the southwest side of the track before heading into the first turn. They hit a straight at the 1000-metre mark, and then run one more turn before hitting the finish on the north side of the course. Caulfield’s triangular oval makes for some interesting strategies.
Racing History of the Thousand Guineas Prelude
As of 2021, the Thousand Guineas Prelude has been run 39 times, so there is not the historical depth of, for instance, the Might and Power Stakes.
The running conditions of the race also influence its history.
An age and gender restricted race does not supply any winners that have one more than once. Of the list of the winners for this race, three-year-old fillies often do not hit their strides until they reach the ages of four, five, or six. Many that show promise by winning two and three-year-old races fizzle as they go up against the top competition, while others are sent to stud to preserve a valuable pedigree.
The advantage for us in examining a newer race such as the Thousand Guineas Prelude means that there are better records, so here it what we found when we went through the list.
The first winner was My Marseillaise.
We believe she made 21 jumps for three wins and three placings and it appears that her win in the race, which at that time was the Health Stakes, was her only significant win.
She did have an impressive pedigree, though. Her great grandsire was Star Kingdom, an Irish stallion that seems to be a major contributor for more gallopers than we can count. My Marseillaise had Le Filou, Hyperion and Gainsborough on her dam’s side, while her sire’s side also had traces of Hyperion, along with Ajax and Italy’s Nearco.
Christmas Hamper won next, in 1984.
Not much has passed down through the years concerning her and outside of her poorly chosen name and her win in the Prelude, she appears to have been unexceptional in every regard.
Jewel In The Crown was the 1985 winner.
Her win when the race was a Listed race is about all that survives her. She shared great grandsires with My Marseillaise, which traces back to the almost inevitable connection to Star Kingdom, but that and other good DNA seems to have been squandered on Jewel In The Crown.
Shackle, from 1986, supplies a perfect example of the less-than-perfect record keeping from that era. It is true she won the Health Stakes in 1986, but she is credited with winning the Group 3 Tranquil Star Stakes in 1987, when the race was still the Health Stakes and was still a Listed race.
Judging by the first four winners, it is easy to conclude that during those years, connections put up three-year-olds that did not seem to have what it takes to run in the higher class races.
Bianco Flyer from 1987 indicates a better class taking part in the race. She won a Group 1 race that year, when she used her win in the Thousand Guineas Prelude (still the Health Stakes, of course) to use her ballot exemption to enter and win the Thousand Guineas. She added the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes in 1988 and ran a solid third in the Group 1 Australian Oaks.
A New Zealand filly named Imposing Bloom won in 1988. As best we can determine, the Health Stakes is the best she ever won, but she had the impressive pedigree of many of the earlier winners and then some.
Her sire was Imposing, the multiple Group 1 winner, and Imposing was by Todman, the well-known racer and sire.
Century Park from 1990 was good enough to post a second that same year in the Sires’ Produce Stakes.
Like Bianco Flyer from 1987, the 1992 winner of the race, Azzurro, capitalized on the free pass into the Group 1 Thousand Guineas for a win. The race was still a 1600-metre trip at the time and sill Listed.
Azzurro won seven races with four placings from 25 jumps.
The winner from 1994, Majestic Dawn, won the race for her fourth and final win. She made 15 jumps only, with four placings to go with the four wins. She ran eighth when using her ballot exemption in the Caulfield Guineas.
After winning in 1995, Rubidium won the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes, a race often run by winners of the Thousand Guineas Prelude, but she only won one more race, a Listed event at Sandown.
Rubidium was by Rubiton, but she did not inherit his speed that saw him win the Cox Plate and three other Group 1 races.
Derobe from 1996 was good enough, barely, to win at Group 1 level by winning the Group 1 SA Oaks at Morphettville in 1997. She used her golden ticket to the Caulfield Guineas to run second in the race, but she was a distant second-2.3 lengths-behind winner Dashing Eagle.
Cornwall Queen from 1997 was good enough to beat Kensington Palace and Rose of Danehill for her win. She won the Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes one week after finishing fourth to Rose Of Danehill in the Edward Manifold Stakes. She never won again. Cornwall Queen did post a nice second in the Group 1 Sires’ Produce Stakes prior to her win in the Thousand Guineas Prelude, but it was not a close second, as she was two lengths behind Millward.
Danelagh from 1998 was a familiar name.
She earned over $1.4 million from 18 jumps for four wins and three placings. She backed her win in the Prelude with a win in the Thousand Guineas for one of her Group 1 wins, but most of her money came from the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes. After winning the Prelude, she ran a distant second to Inaflury in the Thousand Guineas. The Prelude was her last win and she only placed twice in 10 more jumps.
Next came another familiar name in 1999’s Miss Pennymoney.
She may have been better than her 28-5:6:3 record suggests. Her win in the Group 1 Australia Stakes was by almost two lengths over none other than Redoute’s Choice. She added another Group 1 win in the Newmarket Handicap and was third to Sunline in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes and an unlucky second to Miss Kournikova in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate.
So Gorgeous in 2000 was the first to win the race after it had been lifted from Listed to Group 3 status. She won the Group 2 Ascot Vale Stakes easily from Show A Heart, and then won the Edward Manifold in comfortable fashion from Shelbourne Lass.
We are jumping ahead now, as the pattern of the earlier winners is well established-winners that in some instances were able to crack the Group 1 ranks.
The first truly notable winner of the Thousand Guineas Prelude came along in 2006 when a filly by the name of Miss Finland won the race.
She was formidable as a two and three-year old, beginning with a win in the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes. She used her ballot exemption to win the Thousand Guineas and the Group 1 Crown Oaks the same year she won the Prelude. She won three more Group 1 races the following year. Her accolades include Australian Champion Two Year Old in 2006 and Australian Champion Three Year Old in 2007.
Miss Finland made 26 jumps for 11 wins and six placings, with over $4.6 million in prizemoney.
She lapped the field in the Golden Slipper, winning by 4.5 lengths. She was second to Mentality in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes. Another Group 1 win was the 2006 Crown Oaks. She won the Group 1 Cadbury Guineas in 2007, followed by a win in the Group 1 Arrowfield Stud Stakes by two lengths. Her final win was the Group 2 Memsie Stakes, but she continued to run and finish well in her final eight races.
Another significant winner was 2008’s Ortensia.
Her sire was Testa Rossa and she won three times at Group 1 level. She won the Group 2 Winterbottom Stakes as Ascot in WA in 2009 and won the same race again in 2011 when it had ascended to Group 1. She won the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai and the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes in England.
One of those 2015 winner Miss Gunpowder beat for her Prelude victory was Jameka but Miss Gunpowder never quite broke into the upper echelons of Group racing.
The replay of that race can be seen at the following link.
Booker, the 2017 winner, over good horses Shoals and Catchy, managed to get a Group 1 win in the Oakleigh Plate for the last win in her career. She retired from racing in 2020 and fetched a $1.6 million windfall for her connections when she was sold to Coolmore Stud, where the plan is for her to be served by U.S. Triple Crown winner Justify.
Finally, 2020 winner Instant Celebrity is still active. Her sire was Not A Single Doubt and she has won at Group 1 level by taking out the Robert Sangster Stakes in May of 2021. Two weeks later, she had a nice second in the Group 1 The Goodwood.
The Thousand Guineas Prelude seems to be growing in terms of attracting better sorts. No doubt, it helps that the race has been granted Group 2 status in 2013, but many capable gallopers won the race when it was Group 3 and Listed, so it is possible to conclude that the big attraction is the ballot exemption for the $2 million (as of 2021) Caulfield Guineas.
Thousand Guineas Prelude Past Winners
|2021||Bon's A Pearla|
|2012||Lady Of Harrods|
|2002||La Bella Dame|
|2001||Haste Ye Back|
|1985||Jewel In The Crown|