The Australia Stakes is a Group 2 sprint for horses aged three years and above.
It is run at Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne over a trip of 1200 metres in late January now, after spending the years from inception in 1989 until 2002 as an autumn carnival race jumping in March.
Australia Stakes Race Details
Racecourse: Moonee Valley
Race Distance: 1200m
Prize Money: $300,000
How To Bet On The Australia Stakes
Our Top 3 Recommended Online Bookmakers To Bet With For The Australia Stakes:
Australia Stakes Betting Tips
When Is The Australia Stakes: 27/1/24
What Time Is The Australia Stakes: TBA
Where Is The Australia Stakes: Moonee Valley Racecourse
How To Live Stream The Australia Stakes
To live stream the Australia Stakes, TAB Account Holders can watch the race live.
More Details About The Australia Stakes
The race offers $300,000 in prizemoney. The running conditions are weight for age, which seems to attract the better class of gallopers.
I Am Invincible’s capable daughter Marabi won the race in 2022, collecting $210,000 for beating the rest of the field like hired draft animals while winning by almost three lengths.
Marabi has raced eight times as of early 2023 and she has won them all with the exception of her last jump, where she slipped to fifth in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes. She has a Group 1 win when she took the post in the race immediately following her Australia Stakes win, the Oakleigh Plate.
Now six years of age and closing in on $1 million in stakes, it is hard to say what owners Greenwich Stud have in mind for her. Her lines suggest that they need to get her in the barn to pass along some speed and stamina she received from ancestors such as her sire, Canny Lad, Danehill, Danzig, Marscay and Vain. Her earnings, though, might suggest that she could win more major races and take her prizemoney total much higher.
A replay of Marabi destroying the field, a field that included the 2021 winner Streets Of Avalon, can be viewed at the following link.
The race first jumped in 1989 at Listed Grade as the Stanley Wootton Stakes. Wootton was a jockey who became the first Aussie hoop to win the English Jockey Premiership. He went on to become a notable trainer and breeder. He was dead three years before realising the honour of having a race named for him, yet he can rest spin-less in his grave because Stanley Wootton Stakes is still the registered name for the race.
After the proper mourning period had passed, Stanley Wootton Stakes was replaced by Norman Carlyon Stakes in 1998.
Carlyon was an Australian first-class cricketer from Victoria. He is still alive, so he lived to see the race name changed from his name to the current name, Australia Stakes, in 2010.
Easy come, easy go, eh Norm?
The race name now coincides with the Australia Day public holiday.
The trip for the race has remained constant at 1200 metres, which in our experience, is rare for Victorian races. It has only moved one time, when it was shifted to Flemington in 1995.
The race was held at Listed grade well beyond the debut of the Group classification scheme. It was promoted to Group 3 in 1990 and to Group 2 beginning in 1994.
The record for the race belongs to the 1995 winner, Hareeba, set the record on Flemington’s “straight six,” so he did not have to turn. The record for the race at Moonee Valley belongs to Dark Beau, the 1991 winner. As improbable as it may seem, Dark Beau’s record has survived for more than 30 years.
Venue for the Australia Stakes
Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne has been staging races since 1883. It was built on land purchased by a certain W. S. Cox. The venue is sited on private land, unlike Caulfield and Flemington.
The best and most famous race held there is the W.S. Cox Plate, a weight-for-age race of 2040 metres that is considered the toughest and truest test of ability in all the land.
The other Group 1 races at the track are the William Reid Stakes and the A J Moir Stakes.
The shape of the track could best be described as a rectangle with rounded corners.
For 1200-metre races like the Australia Stakes, the racers begin from a chute on the east extreme of the course, run a sweeping turn, a long straight, another sweeping turn, and then down the short home straight to the finish on the west side of the course in front of the spectator stands.
Racing History of the Australia Stakes
For a newish race, wait, not newish, new-ish, the Australia Stakes has an impressive list of winners. This often seems to be the case. We might have expected more than one multiple winner of the race, but there has only be one.
Ah! But what a one it was.
It was Black Caviar that won the race in 2010 and 2012, so we instantly know that she was off elsewhere in 2011, because she never lost a race and the winner that year was not Black Caviar but Whitefriars.
Now, none of the other winners of the Australia Stakes comes anywhere near Black Caviar, but more than a few of them could provide data for an entire article about them.
We begin with the first jump, 1989, won by Jet Fighter.
Jet Fighter is what some would call a handy type. We do not have a complete racing record for him, but he managed to earn over $500,000, so he must have won a few, although the only other major race win we can attribute to Jet Fighter was the 1989 SAJC Foundation Trophy, a 1200-metre event that probably goes by a different name now.
The following year, just the second jump for the race, we see a true great in Redelva.
Redelva was by Romantic Hope out of Delvena and one of the few names we recognised from his lineage was Frances’ Wilkes. He made 61 jumps for 21 wins and 18 placings to earn just under $1.8 million.
He was quite formidable in South Australia. His better wins include Group 1s the VRC Lightning Stakes, William Reid Stakes and the Futurity Stakes. He won eight Group 2 races, some of which have since climbed to the top rung of Group 1 grade.
Dark Beau was the winner in 1991.
Like his predecessors that won the race before him, Dark Beau was getting on in years when he won. His racing stat line lists 29 jumps for 11 wins and 10 placings for almost half a million in prizemoney.
Unlike those others, Dark Beau remained entire, but he did not seem to have been a beau of any shade, as there was no progeny record for him. Still, better to keep those jewels and remain unmated than to give them up and experience the similar outcome.
Dapper’s Hope, the 1992 winner, beat Street Ruffian, but he was just four at the time, so he had a three-kilogram advantage.
He was second to Euclase in the Group 1 The Goodwood in 1992 and he often lined up with the better sorts, such as Schillaci and Mannerism.
Speaking of Schillaci, he was the 1993 winner of the Australia Stakes. We cannot say whether his trainer Lee Freedman made the horse or the horse helped make Lee Freedman, but Schillaci helped himself to over 2.3 million in prizemoney, which could help many aside from Freedman. He made 36 jumps for 16 wins and 10 placings, winning eight Group 1 races, including two Lightning Stakes and two Futurity Stakes.
The record setter for the race in 1995, the year the Australia Stakes shifted to Flemington, was the aforementioned Hareeba.
He crossed the line first in three Group 1 races, but was later stripped of the win in the 1995 George Ryder Stakes. He made 26 jumps for 10 wins and 6 placings, earned almost $900,000 and beat Schillaci and Mahogany to win the Australia Stakes.
Another notable and contemporary of Hareeba was 1996 winner All Our Mob.
All Our Mob was a talented gelding by What A Guest.
He ran a mob of races, that’s for sure. Seventy-one jumps for 13 wins and 32 placings and $2.6 million in prizemoney. He won at Group 1 grade in the 1994 Stradbroke Handicap, the 1995 Newmarket Handicap, the 1996 MacKinnon Stakes and the 1997 All Aged Stakes.
Forging ahead, we next examine the 2000 winner, Slavonic and the 2001 winner Piavonic.
We suspected that the similarity of the two names contained a common ancestor, sire or dam that is, but this turned out not to be the case.
Slavonic won the Group 1 Railway Stakes in 1999, the Group2 WATC Lee Steere Stakes to go along with his Australia Stakes win.
Piavonic was a mare that had Group 1 glory in the Manikato Stakes.
After racing, she was a frequent consort of Encosta De Lago, with which she supplied four foals. All five of her foals earned money and a 2005 horse by the name of Von Costa De Hero won over $1.1 million from 13 jumps for one win and five placings.
A classy gelding blending northern and southern hemisphere lines, the 2005 winner Super Elegant was a good one.
He earned over $2 million from 69 jumps for 19 wins and 17 placings. Super Elegant scored Group 1 wins in 2004 when he crossed first in the Doomben 10,000 and The Goodwood at Morphettville.
Another notable was 2007 winner El Segundo.
This gelding by Pins, with Snippets for a Grandsire won almost $4 million from 35 jumps for 12 wins and 8 placings.
His best win was the 2007 Cox Plate. Other good wins were the Yalumba Stakes Memsie Stakes, Underwood Stakes and C F Orr Stakes, all Group 1 races. Results like those found El Segundo as the Australian Champion Middle Distance Horse of the Year in 2008.
Moving ahead, we come to the first and only dual winner of the Australia Stakes, the formidable Black Caviar. Undefeated in 25 jumps, there are those who think she could have won another 25 if she had raced, but they decided against risking her and sent her to the barns after she had collected almost $8 million in prizemoney.
Served twice by I Am Invincible, along with one-night stands with Exceed And Excel, Snitzel, Written Tycoon, Sebring and More Than Ready, six of her seven foals have raced and made a little money, but one Black Caviar win could possible exceed all the stakes her offspring combined have earned.
Moving ahead, we recognised the name of Mourinho as the 2015 winner of the race.
This gelding with all the best connections, including Danehill, Danzig, Northern Dancer and Nearctic was the winner of 11 races with 11 placings and prizemoney of more than $1.3 million.
Mourinho scored a Group 1 win in the 2015 Underwood Stakes, nosing Fawkner, and then watched from 11 horses back as Winx won the 2015 Cox Plate.
In 2017, the solid racer Malaguerra was the winner.
This talented gelding by Magnus out of Tennessee Morn won 12 races and placed in 6 to win almost $2 million. His Group 1 wins were the 2016 BTC Cup in Queensland, where he nosed the good galloper Dothraki, and the Darley Classic in 2016, when Spieth saw the back of him, well, the back of his nose. His win in the 2017 Australia Stakes came at the expense of one of our all-time favourites, Black Heart Bart.
Bart returned the favour next up, denying Malaguerra a win or a place in the Group 1 C F Orr Stakes.
Scales Of Justice by Not A Single Doubt was the 2020 winner of the Australia Stakes.
He earned more than $2.3 million from 30 jumps for 12 wins and 12 placings. Thirty jumps by a gelding might incline us to say he was “lightly raced.”
He was racing in Western Australia when he won the Group 1 Railway Stakes in 2016, followed by a second in the Group 1 Kingston Town. He won the Group 1 Memsie Stakes in 2019. Two jumps later, he beat Hey Doc for the Australia Stakes win, which turned out to be his last victory.
The final Australia Stakes winner we will examine is the 2021 winner, Street Of Avalon.
He managed to win above 2.4 million from 67 jumps for 10 wins and 22 placings.
His Group 1 wins were the 2019 Victoria Handicap, the 2020 Futurity Stakes and the 2021 C F Orr Stakes.
The Australia Stakes is treated as an important race by trainers and connections. It is not exactly fabulous in terms of money, but the better types coming off a spring campaign or preparing for the next autumn carnival races, favour the race for its convenient location, the running conditions and the practice at sprint distance.
Many of the winners have been older horses at the tail end of their racing careers. A few have won big sprint races and one (El Segundo-2007) even managed to stretch out to win a Cox Plate.
Australia Stakes Past Winners
|2021||Streets Of Avalon|
|2020||Scales Of Justice|
|2008||Let Go Thommo|
|1996||All Our Mob|