The Scarborough Stakes is the latest version of the Moonee Valley Racing Club Group 3 race that is probably more familiarly known by the registered name, the Champagne Stakes.
The race is a Group 3 Thoroughbred race restricted to three-year-old fillies that sprint 1200 metres at Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne under set weight conditions.
Scarborough Stakes Race Details
Racecourse: Moonee Valley
Race Distance: 1200m
Prize Money: $200,000
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When Is The Scarborough Stakes: 4/10/2024
What Time Is The Scarborough Stakes: TBC
Where Is The Scarborough Stakes: Moonee Valley Racecourse
How To Live Stream The Scarborough Stakes
To live stream the Scarborough Stakes, TAB Account Holders can watch the race live.
More Details About The Scarborough Stakes
The race is staged during the latter part of September at a meeting that also offers the Group 1 Moir Stakes, Group 2 Stocks Stakes and Stutt Stakes, with the Group 3 JRA Cup being the other notable race of the meeting.
We should mention that the meeting is staged on a Friday evening, something of which we would like to see more.
Prizemoney for the race is $200,000. The 2021 winner, Seradess, received $121,000 for nosing Larkspur Run and Decent Raine. She is showing promise as of this writing, with five wins and two placings from 10 jumps. She has never finished worse than fifth in any race, with her best win being a lap of the rest of the field to win the Group 2 Tobin Bronze Stakes (formerly known as the Euclase Stakes) from General Beau and Manhatten Times on soft turf at Morphettville in Adelaide.
The 2020 winner, Swats That, is also a good one that has won over $1.2 million from 16 jumps, also outclassed the field, just as did Seradess in 2021, winning by two lengths. She has high finishes in Group 1 races, although her second in the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic found her where many have found themselves, well behind Nature Strip.
History of the Scarborough Stakes
The race was first run in 1975.
It was called the Moonee Valley Champagne Stakes for the first four jumps. Some may recall the race being called the Leilani Stakes from 1979 through 1984. Several name changes later, the race was again celebrating sparkly wine as the Champagne Stakes from 1995 through 2002. Two more name changes preceded the race returning as the Champagne Stakes from 2005 until 2015. The race has gone off as the Scarborough Stakes beginning in 2016.
The only time the race was ever held at a course other than The Valley was in 1995, when it jumped at Caulfield, which is interesting since a month later Caulfield would be closed for a major overhaul, including new turf.
The race has always been run over 1200 metres except in 1987 and 1988, when it was stretched to 1212 metres and 1994 and 1995, when it was contested over 1206 metres. We are not sure what racing officials in Victoria were thinking when they made those minor changes.
The Scarborough Stakes began as a Principal Race prior to the introduction of the Group classification system. With the advent of Group racing, it was made a Group 3. It was lifted to Group 2 in 1985 and remained so through 2004, when it was demoted to Group 3.
The race has had some good winners, but for the most part, any three-year-old fillies good enough to win were in the race either in hopes of good preparation for Group 1 spring carnival sprint races or because they were as yet unproven as being worthy of the bigger races.
Venue for the Scarborough Stakes
Moonee Valley Racecourse, often promoted as The Valley, was set up in 1883 by William Samuel Cox, on farmland that he purchased with the express intent of setting up a racecourse.
The track is famous for the Cox Plate, a Group 1 weight-for-age race that is considered the ultimate test for turf horses, with a 2040-metre trip that taxes the milers to run another 400 metres and is equally challenging to the true stayers.
Moonee Valley is just six kilometres from the Melbourne Central Business District and we could easily see ourselves dashing over there during luncheon break to catch some racing, if we worked in the Melbourne CBD, there was racing taking place during our luncheon and if we were closer to Caulfield Racecourse and something was going on there.
There is racing at Moonee Valley at about 25 – 30 meetings per year. Some of the other major races staged there are the Group 1 Manikato Stakes and the Group 1 William Reid Stakes.
Racing History of the Scarborough Stakes
A race such as the Scarborough Stakes does not often offer any notable names in the list of winners. We saw a couple of good ones we will detail further in this article. The interesting aspect of a fillies’ race is that most of them will eventually have careers as breeders and we expect to find one or more Scarborough Stakes winners that have produced gallopers that fared far better than their dams.
The first winner was Miss Ollie in 1975.
Our reference sources credit her with winning the race as the MVRC Moonee Valley Champagne Stakes, along with five other races, but we suspect those other wins came earlier in minor races. As a breeder, Miss Ollie was served by Biscay to deliver Biscollie in 1982, but Biscollie never raced. Even less is known about foals by Century and Noalcoholic.
The 1976 winner was Vivarchi. She had as her sire the notable French stallion Wilkes.
Vivarchi was a better sort. She made 26 starts with major wins in the 1976 Golden Slipper Stakes and the Group 1 Champagne Stakes at Randwick. How many gallopers can claim to have won two Champagne Stakes in the same year?
Vivarchi produced 10 named foals and she had her pick of stallions, served by likes of Baguette, Planet Kingdom and other better types, but none of the three credited with stakes wins earned over $100,000.
We had to skip ahead to 1983 to find a filly worth detailing. It was Look Aloft, with a predominantly northern hemisphere pedigree.
Look Aloft won the Group 1 Queensland Oaks in 1984, so it would appear that she was making progress as a racer following her win in the Scarborough, which was by then going off as the Leilani Stakes. She produced nine named foals, but only a couple of those foals were credited with winning any money.
The 1984 winner, Sauna, seems to be the top earner so far, although none of the races she won was as impressive as those won by Vivarchi. Suana’s best result in our view was a second in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas Stakes.
A couple of Sauna’s foals raced in the U.S. Garbu by Strawberry Road earned almost $400,000 while Cleone by Theatrical was not far behind for earnings. All four of her named foals made some money.
We finally arrive at a noteworthy Scarborough Stakes winner in 1985, when the winner was Canny Lass. We learned of three Group 1 wins, the Group 1 MVRC William Reid Stakes, Marlboro Cup and Elders Mile. She was placed in four other Group 1 races.
Canny Lass was responsible for 11 named colts, many of which earned money, but none that exceeded the $550,000 Canny Lass brought in.
The 1987 winner was Midnight Fever. She won almost as much as Canny Lass, but she needed only 13 jumps for eight wins and two placings. Like Canny Lass, Midnight Fever has lines that include Ireland’s Star Kingdom.
She won the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes, three Group 2 races (Scarborough Stakes was Group 2 in 1987), and two Group 3 races.
Another similarity to Canny Lass was that Midnight Fever produced 11 named foals, producing minor stakes winners by major studs, such as Bletchingly and Zedative.
The 1988 winner was Startling Lass. She never won above Group 2, with another Group 2 win in addition to the Scarborough Stakes being the Reisling Slipper Trial. She did win the fillies’ version of the Blue Diamond Prelude.
The best from Startling Lass was Shovhog by Danehill that won over $650,000. Three other Startling Lass foals earned over $100,000.
A major winner won the race in 1989.
It was a New Zealand filly named Courtza.
Courtza earned well over $1.8 million in only 14 jumps for five wins and three placings. Her major wins were the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes and the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes. As is often the case with the better gallopers, Courtza did little as a breeder. Two foals by Last Tycoon, one by Danehill and one by Centaine combined to produce about $180,000 in stakes wins.
The winner of the Scarborough Stakes in 1990, With Me, was the winner of over $1.2 million from 24 jumps for eight wins and nine placings. She won the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate and two A J Moir Stakes when it was still a Group 2 race. A colt by Canny Lad was one of two she foaled. The colt was Accomplice that would win close to a million dollars racing in Australia and the U.S.
St. Clemens Belle from 1998 is the next winner we found worth mentioning. She made 31 jumps for seven wins and nine placings on her way to earning a little over $767,000. She won at Group 1 level in Western Australia by winning the Fruit ‘N’ Veg Stakes at Ascot in Western Australia in 1999. She won fairly easily, but it was the last win of her career.
The next noteworthy winner of the race was Ateates in 2000. She was by Zeditave out of Paris Miss. Ateates won four Group 2 races, with some close calls at Group 1. As a breeder, she never produced much, even though served by the likes of Exceed And Excel and Encosta De Lago.
Fair Embrace from 2001 earned over a million dollars, but she needed 53 jumps to do it. She produced just one named foal, a filly by Encosta De Lago named Love And Kisses that won about $160,000.
Dilly Dally, the winner of the Scarborough Stakes in 2003, won the T J Smith Stakes at Randwick when the race was still Group 2 level.
Truly Wicked from 2004 was not bad at all. She was not good, but she did better as a breeder.
She was practically married to Exceed And Excel, supplying seven named foals. She had two by Lonhro as well, but only Amber Sky, did anything significant as a racer, earning over $8.5 million HKD ($1.6 million AUD) and $1.2 million UAE ($483,000 AUD).
Virage De Fortune was a good racer that won in 2005. She won almost $1 million, but it seems she had the misfortune to be in too many races that also included Miss Andretti. Her big win was the Group 1 Australia Stakes and she had a second to Snitzel in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate, where she beat Takeover Target into third.
Estelle Collection from 2006 was nothing as a racer and it would appear that she was never intended to be anything but a breeder. She only made seven jumps, despite a pedigree of North American and Canadian champions and the great racer and sire Zabeel. Estelle Collection fetched a huge dowry at the 2014 National Broodmare Sale of $1.4 million. The investment resulted in a date with Redoute’s Choice that produced Lankan Rupee, winner of over $4 million.
Lone Rock from 2010 won about $600,000 with a Group 1 win in the Goodwood Handicap in Adelaide.
We saw the name of the 2012 Scarborough Stakes, Snitzerland and immediately thought of Snitzel. He was Snitzerland’s sire, so the pedigree was solid and Snitzerland won almost $2 million from 20 starts for eight wins and six placings. She had a Group 1 win in the 2014 Lightning Stakes at Flemington.
She has foaled twice to I Am Invincible and twice to All Too Hard, Hard Landing by All Too Hard in 2017 won about $225,000 by racing.
The 2017 winner was a familiar name – Houtzen.
She won over $2 million in Australia and another $117,000 racing in England. Those earnings required 19 jumps for seven wins and three placings. She was good enough to earn a slot in The Everest in 2017, just not good enough to bet Redzel and six others that crossed in front of her.
The 2019 winner was Loving Gaby.
She won at Group 1 level in the Manikato Stakes in 2019 and the William Reid Stakes, so it would seem that Moonee Valley was a good place for her to race. She won almost $2.3 million from just 13 jumps for four wins and six placings. She is at Kia Ora Stud, but as of yet, no offspring of which we know.
The replay of her win at the Scarborough Stakes, where Loving Gaby beat good horses, such as Bivouac, Gytrash and Mystic Journey can be viewed at the following link.
The most recent winners, Swats That (2020) and Seradess (2021) were mentioned in the opening of this article.
The Scarborough Stakes is often used by horses as preparation for The Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes and many of the winners of the race have contributed as broodmares, none more so than Estelle Collection, the dam of Lankan Rupee.
Many of the winners were minor winners, with a few managing to win at Group 1 and Group 2 level.
Scarborough Stakes Past Winners
|2022||Queen Of The Ball|
|2005||Virage De Fortune|
|2002||Before Too Long|
|1999||I Am A Ripper|
|1994||Love Of Mary|
|1981||Darling Take Care|