The Tesio Stakes is a Group 3 race for mares aged four years and above that is held at Moonee Valley Racecourse during the spring racing season. It is run alongside the Cox Plate in October.
The race covers 1600 metres – almost one full trip around the course – and is run under handicap conditions.
Tesio Stakes Race Details
Racecourse: Moonee Valley
Race Distance: 1600m
Prize Money: $200,000
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When Is The Tesio Stakes: 26/10/24
What Time Is The Tesio Stakes: TBA
Where Is The Tesio Stakes: Moonee Valley Racecourse
How To Live Stream The Tesio Stakes
To live stream the Tesio Stakes, TAB Account Holders can watch the race live.
More Details About The Tesio Stakes
Prizemoney for the race, as of 2022, is $200,000.
Flying Mascot was the winner of the most recent race in 2021.
She is by Tavistock out of Lucky Mascot with strong New Zealand lines, with a good deal of northern hemisphere stock in the mix.
She is still listed as Active, but she may be actively engaged in a role other than racing before too long. In nine jumps since she jettisoned Ben and JD Hayes as her trainer in favour of Tom Dabernig, she has won or placed in seven of those jumps and finished fifth in the other two.
She is a strong Group 3 performer and she might continue racing, although the fact that she was in a Group 3 race for four-year-old mares suggests she might soon be converted to breeder.
She has won six of her 15 jumps and placed in five others, which is the argument to continue racing her.
We would normally insert a video of the race at this point, but it does not appear as though one exists, although there is a Tesio Stakes held at Pimlico Racecourse in the state of Maryland in the U.S. that we could show you. We will supply further details in the history section of this article.
Flying Mascot collected $120,000 for first place, along with a $2,000 bonus. She sat back in the field until the race was inside 400 metres, and then blew past the other horses to win by 4.25 lengths going away.
History of the Tesio Stakes
The Australian Tesio Stakes dates back to 1990.
We mentioned a U.S. Tesio Stakes earlier and it turns out that both are named in honour of the Italian horse breeder Federico Tesio who was famous for breeding good horses. He lived from 1869 to 1954 and his Wikipedia article cites his being called “The only genius to operate in the breeding world,” and “The greatest single figure in the history of Italian Racing.”
That certainly is interesting, but which horses did he breed?
Some of the names will be familiar to Aussie racing fans.
One is Nearco that was the sire of Nearctic that was the sire of Northern Dancer, all names we see frequently when examining the lineage of the better Aussie gallopers.
The race has always been 1600 metres. It was a Listed quality race from 1990 through 1993, becoming Group 3 in 1994.
The race has had various names associated with it over the years. There have been 13 different names, if we may be permitted to count three instances of Tesio Stakes, the first from 1994 – 2004, the next in 2010 and the third in 2012.
When the race debuted in 1990, it was the BMW Australia Stakes and it was the BMW Plate in 1993 after spending two jumps as the Dalgety Breeders’ Plate.
It is commonplace for races to take the name of a sponsoring entity, but Merlin Garage Door Openers Stakes from 2016 sort of sums up where this race stands in the hierarchy of Australian Thoroughbred racing. For the record, our opinion is that Merlin garage door openers perform exactly to expectations.
Venue for the Tesio Stakes
The race is and always has been staged at Moonee Valley Racecourse in the northern suburbs of Melbourne.
The Moonee Valley Racing Club oversees the racing at the course, which opened in its initial iteration in 1883. The MVRC has decided that for marketing purposes, the venue be referred to as “The Valley.”
The big race is, of course, the Cox Plate in October and some of that spotlight shines on the Tesio Stakes because both races jump at the same October meeting. Other important Group 1 races, to mention a couple, are the Manikato Stakes and the A. J. Moir Stakes.
The course is just 1805 metres in circumference, with short straights that place a premium on gallopers’ turning ability.
Races of 1600 metres like the Tesio Stakes begin on the course proper, about midway along the first straight on the south side of the course, and then run three turns to conclude on the short home straight to finish in front of the stands on the west side of the facility.
Racing History of the Tesio Stakes
We enjoy mares’ races, although we might not be in the majority with that view.
We see them as an opportunity to guild the lily for an otherwise average mare in order to attract the eye of the better stallions and also an opportunity to allow connections to recover some of their investments.
When we look at the winners’ list, we often look at the names and say, “Who?”
Still, it is not that easy to win a Group 3 race run under any conditions, so we assume that all the Tesio Stakes winners were at least capable if not exceptional.
We will be going through the list to look for gallopers that perhaps started better and showed promise, as well as any that broke the Group 1 barrier or delivered exceptional progeny.
Near the end of the list, in more recent times, we learn that like many races of this sort, there was a winner that seemed too good to be in the race, so we mention that here as a teaser.
The first winner of the Tesio Stakes in 1990 was named Princess Pushy.
She was first and foremost a race mare, making 42 jumps for 8 wins and 19 placings. She was a versatile galloper that won from 1200 to 2400 metres. That 2400-metre trip supplied her with her best win in 1991 Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield.
She was the winner of over $320,000, which was not bad for the early 90s.
Princess Pushy supplied five named foals, four of which earned money, with the best being a gelding named Papa by Hemingway that took in about $125,000.
For 1991, the winner was Western Chorus.
She was a New Zealand mare with northern hemisphere lines, including ties to some of the great gallopers we mentioned when we were describing the breeder Federico Tesio and some of his great horses, such as Nearctic and Nearco.
She did not earn a lot of money and we know of only three better races that she won, but she produced six stakes winners, with the best being Felicity and Jeune King Prawn, both of which won big money in Hong Kong. The latter won the rough equivalent of $1.75 million in proper Oz money.
Bold Alliance was the third winner of the race in 1992.
She was not a major race winner and she produced just one foal a 1995 filly by the good sire Snippets that won just two minor races from 15 jumps, with an additional five placings.
She did win at Listed level in races that would eventually be promoted.
When Centisle won the Tesio Stakes in 1994, the win was worth just $33,000. Later in her career, she won the Group 1 The Goodwood at Morphettville, but we will brook none of that talk about a Group 1 win at Morphettville being the equivalent of a Listed race at Flemington or Randwick.
Centisle was a dud as a breeder, regardless ow which Australian state is the topic.
Our Marquise was the winner in 1995.
She had a Group 2 win at Morphettville and near the end of her 26-jump career, she won the Group 1 Captain Cook in New Zealand.
Our Marquise did not leave a progeny record that we could locate.
Miss Margaret from 1996 was a good one.
She earned over $550,000 from 20 jumps for 8 wins and 6 placings. She was racing on the metro tracks from the outset and her third jump was a Listed victory at Flemington. She won the Group 1 SA Oaks at Morphettville and after the win in the Tesio Stakes, she had a Group 1 win at Flemington in the Chrysler Stakes.
Her lines included her sire, Marscay, grandsire Biscay and therefore, Star Kingdom. She supplied 10 named foals, five of which won stakes, with the best winner being Ambitious Leader by Bluebird that won almost as much as did his dam.
Spectrum from 1997 had a patch of racing where nine jumps produced five wins and two placings.
Gentle Genius from 2002 was not a great racer. She had just four wins, none above the Tesio Stakes.
She was served by better stallions More Than Ready, Zabeel and Testa Rossa. The 2005 foal, Ironstein by Zabeel won nearly $1 million.
Zanna from 2006 earned about $666,000 from 23 jumps for 6 wins and 3 placings. She had no major wins, but she was often near the front in some better races, including a fourth in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud at Rosehill.
Joy Of Flight was not the best racer, but she did win the Tesio Stakes in 2004.
She was a much better breeder. Of nine named foals, seven earned prizemoney, with her best a mare from 2014 named Toryjoy by Street Cry that won over $400,000.
Matras was the winner in 2005.
More broodmare than racer, Matras was served by the best stallions, including Exceed And Excel, Encosta De Lago, So You Think and others of that calibre. Four of her offspring won money, three of those accounted for over $100,000 each.
Valkyrie Diva from 2006 made just 16 jumps, winning the race in 2006 when it was known as the Inglis Mile.
Her best was a 2011 gelding by Lonhro that won Hong Kong money equivalent to about $3.7 million AUD.
We encountered an unusual situation with the winners of the Tesio Stakes in 2007 and 2008.
Both those editions of the race resulted in dead heats and since this is the 21st century about which we are writing, we can only speculate that someone forgot to turn on the photo camera. That, or the photo camera was run by Microsoft.
The 2007 tie was between Maslins Beach and Autumn Jeuney.
Neither of these two won much or left much by way of offspring.
The 2008 dead heat was between Miss Badoura and Bird Of Fire.
Miss Badoura made 60 jumps, gelding territory. She won 12 times and earned over $400,000. She only supplied one named foal that did not leave any lasting impact on racing.
The other one, Bird Of Fire, was better, accounting for about $580,000 in stakes from 34 jumps for 5 wins and 15 placings. She won at Group 2 level with the Matriarch Stakes at Flemington and the Queen of the South Stakes at Morphettville.
If consecutive dead heat were not enough to cause head scratching, consider the 2009 winner, Lady Lynette.
She is given by at least two sources as the winner of the Tesio Stakes in 2009 and 2010.
Do female horses lie about their ages, like some of their human counterparts do?
Lady Lynette is credited with winning over $1.1 million from 51 jumps for 14 wins and 18 placings. She supplied four named foals, two by Medaglia D’ Oro, one by I Am Invincible and one by Street Cry. None accomplished anything of note, but we suppose that if your dam was able to compete in and twice win a race for four-year-olds, it might be unrealistic to expect much from her offspring.
Then again, we suppose it is no more unusual to be age four twice than it is to be age four once.
Record keeping for these minor races tends to be haphazard at times, because when we looked at the 2011 winner, Ocean Challenger, we see Lady Lynette as running third.
We do consider it unusual to be aged four for three years, even though our maturity levels are often called into suspicion.
Ocean Challenger was by Rubiton and her best progeny was the gelding Super Max by Redoute’s Choice that won about $270,000.
Star Of Giselle was a better type that won in 2012.
She won over $650,000 from just 24 jumps for 9 wins and 6 placings.
She won several races at Group 3 level and concluded her career with a win in the Group 2 Queen of the South at Morphettville.
She was served by top stallions Snitzel, More Than Ready and Exceed And Excel, the best of which was a 2017 filly by More Than Ready named Starelle that won almost $375,000.
Catkins was the winner in 2013.
She won over $2 million from 38 jumps for 16 wins and 13 placings.
Catkins had several wins at Group 2 and some close calls in Group 1 races. She has two foals by Medaglia D’ Oro, but nothing notable yet.
Much earlier, we teased about a winner of the Tesio Stakes that seems out of place for such a race.
That winner from 2014 was Suavito.
She won over $1.3 million from just 24 jumps for 8 wins and 8 placings. She had Group 1 wins in the C. F. Orr Stakes in 2016 and the Futurity Stakes in 2015. Group 2 wins by her were the Blamey Stakes and the Matriarch Stakes.
Suavito has not supplied any good progeny.
We skipped some average types to arrive at the 2020 winner, Sovereign Award.
She only needed 21 jumps to win 9 and place in 3.
Her earnings were above $580,000. She had one patch of racing where she won three consecutive races, beginning with a BM 78, then the Group 3 Ladies’ Day Vase at Caulfield and final the Tesio Stakes.
There was no video replay of the race that we could locate.
Plenty of New Zealand mares have won the Tesio Stakes, but with rare exception, most of them were winning only fender-restricted and unclassified races.
Frankly, while we appreciate four-year-old mares’ races, if we were at The Valley on Cox Plate Day, the Tesio Stakes might be viewed as our opportunity to visit the loo and refresh our libations.
Tesio Stakes Past Winners
|2012||Star Of Giselle|
|2008||Bird Of Fire/Miss Badoura|
|2004||Joy Of Flight|
|2001||La Bella Dama|