The Red Anchor Stakes is a Group 3 sprint race of 1200 metres that is restricted to horses of three years of age.
It is currently run at Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne at the same meeting that features the Cox Plate, during the month of October.
Red Anchor Stakes Race Details
Racecourse: Moonee Valley
Race Distance: 1200m
Prize Money: $200,000
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When Is The Red Anchor Stakes: 26/10/24
What Time Is The Red Anchor Stakes: TBA
Where Is The Red Anchor Stakes: Moonee Valley Racecourse
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More Details About The Red Anchor Stakes
Running conditions for the Red Anchor Stakes are set weight plus penalties and the prizemoney, as of 2022, is $200,000.
The 2021 edition of the race, the most recent as of the time this article was being prepared, was won by Generation, a now four-year-old horse by Snitzel from Foniton that has won four of his 10 jumps and placed in four others. The two races in which Generation has failed to place were Group 1s – the William Reid Stakes at Moonee, where he ran a good fourth and the Doomben 10,000 at Eagle Farm, where he ran 10th.
Generation did not have strong competition in the race. He sat just off the speed, took the lead at the head of the stretch and held off Scissor Step to earn the $120,000 top prize.
History of the Red Anchor Stakes
The race is a newer race, when viewed against the elite races that date back to the 19th century, such as the Melbourne Cup or the Doncaster Handicap, etc.
First run in 1985, the race was known as the Red Anchor Stakes, in honour of the Australian Horse of the Year from the 1984 – 1985 racing season. Red Anchor won the Champagne Stakes, the Cox Plate, the Caulfield Guineas, the Victoria Derby, the Moonee Valley Stakes and the QTC Sires’ Produce Stakes all in 1984, essentially squeezing an entire career into that one season. Fortunate for him that was, as he was retired from racing before his three-year-old season was concluded.
The name switched to the C. S. Hayes Stakes in 1990 and remained racing by that name until 2005. Colin Sidney Hayes was the South Australian trainer who won 26 Adelaide and 13 Melbourne Trainers’ Premierships. He was awarded Legend status by the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2018, joining T. J. Smith and Bart Cummings as the only trainers to achieve that status.
From 2005 through 2007, the race was called the City Pacific Finance Stakes due to sponsorship reasons.
Next, it was the Wonderful World Stakes for the year 2008.
Red Anchor Stakes was back for 2009, and then for 2010 and 2011, the race became the 1300 Australia Stakes. Telstra Phonewords Stakes was used from 2012 – 2019, with Red Anchor Stakes reemerging in 2020.
The race has always been 1200 metres.
Whether that is because the race is relatively new, is run by the Moonee Valley Racing Club and not the Melbourne Racing Club or has remained constant for some other reason or reasons is impossible for us to say or speculate.
The race grade for the Red Anchor Stakes began as Listed through 1989, becoming Group 3 level for 1990.
It has always jumped at Moonee Valley Racecourse, save for 1995, when it relocated to Caulfield for one running.
Up until 2005, the race jumped in September.
Venue for the Red Anchor Stakes
Moonee Valley Racecourse was inaugurated in 1883 on land purchased by William Samuel Cox from John F. Feehan with the express intent of building a racecourse.
The racing at Moonee Valley under the auspices of the Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC) is short and tight. The home straight is less than 200 metres in length.
The MVRC likes to market the facility as “The Valley” because everyone is supportive of brevity these days and three syllables roll off the tongue in half the time it requires for six.
The major race is the Cox Plate in October, a race generally viewed as the most exacting test of weight-for-age racing in Australia.
A few of the other important Group 1 races at Moonee Valley are the William Reid Stakes, the Manikato Stakes and the A. J. Moir Stakes.
For 1200-metre races such as the Red Anchor Stakes, the gallopers jump from a chute on the opposite east side from the stands, and then run the first turn, followed by a longer straight, the second turn and the stretch to the finish on the west side of the course.
Racing History of the Red Anchor Stakes
The history of the Red Anchor Stakes is an abbreviated one.
The race has just 37 jumps ahead of the 2022 edition.
This presents a good news/bad news scenario to those of us who write about the history of horseracing.
The good news is that newer races such as the Red Anchor Stakes have modern record keeping supplying detailed information.
The bad news is that a newer race of this sort often does not attract top horses.
So, let us see what we can find in the list of Red Anchor Stakes winners.
The first race in 1985 belonged to Seiger.
Seiger was of predominantly northern hemisphere lines, with Australian connections confined to mares on his dam’s side.
Other than the win in the Red Anchor Stakes, the only other notable race we can attribute to Seiger is the Listed SAJC National Stakes at Morphettville.
Seiger produced a good number of offspring, but only one seemed to do anything as a racer and very modest at that.
There are many instances where we are covering a newer race of Group 3 level and encounter the winner that makes us ask what that horse was doing in this race. Most of those instances occur well into a race’s running, but in the case of the Red Anchor Stakes, the horse that does not seem to belong was the 1986 winner, Rubiton.
We suppose even Rubiton had to start somewhere and without doubt, Rubiton was a three-year-old at one stage, so perhaps we should not be taken completely unawares.
Rubiton was a rare one, indeed.
He made just 16 jumps for 10 wins and 5 placings. Fortunately, that one unplaced run did not result in anything unpleasant happening to his abilities at stud.
He won over $1.3 million back in the 80s when winning a million dollars required more than winning two Group 3s and a bunch of unrated handicaps.
In 1987, he won the Cox Plate, the Futurity Stakes, the Underwood Stakes and the MacKinnon Stakes, all while racing as a four-year-old. He was sent for a spell, but a tendon injury forced his retirement to stud.
Rubiton is one of just two stallions to win the Cox Plate and sire a Cox Plate winner. That Cox Plate winning Rubiton offspring was Fields Of Omagh that won the Plate twice.
A handful of Rubiton progeny won above $1 million and a slew recorded earnings in the high six-figure range.
What fairly leaps off the page when considering Rubiton offspring, however, was the sheer, vast number of horses that won money.
The Group 3 Rubiton Stakes is run at Caulfield in his honour during the month of February.
Next came the 1987 winner, Christmas Tree, a horse by Biscay that was sired by Star Kingdom, so at least for the first three editions of the race, some good lines were represented.
Christmas Tree made just 12 jumps for six wins and two placings, so this bloke was obviously intended as a servicer of mares. He won at Group 2 level and possibly could have won at Group 1 level if he had raced on.
As a sire, Christmas Tree was productive, with many stakes winners, but nothing equal to what might be expected of a horse with his pedigree.
Clay Hero won the Red Anchor Stakes in 1988.
Another with impressive lineage, Clay Hero had ancestors such as Vain, Bletchingly, Biscay, Wilkes, Star Kingdom and others. v His best win was the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate he was the co-winner of the A. J. Moir Stakes when he dead heated with Good Old Ted in 1989, when the Moir was still a Group 2 race.
Clay Hero was a strong sire with progeny that out-earned his $513,000 of stakes by an order of magnitude.
Sequalo was the winner of the race in 1993.
He was the best we encountered since Rubiton.
He had Group 2 wins in races that are now Group 1 when he won the Moir Stakes and the Linlithgow Stakes in 1994. His close call to Group 1 glory came in 1996, when he finished second a neck in the Newmarket Handicap to Brawny Spirit.
Sequalo was an outstanding sire, with his best being a 2007 colt out of Temple Spirit with the immediately recognizable name Spirit Of Boom.
Spartacus by Snippets from Pazzihi was the winner of the Red Anchor Stakes in 1996.
He won over $820,000 from 23 jumps for 7 wins and 10 placings. Ignoring a couple of Group 2 wins of races that would later be promoted to Group 1, Spartacus had legitimate Group 1 wins. He won the Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield and the Manikato Stakes at Moonee.
Spartacus was a good-not-great sire with many stakes winners, but nothing truly substantial.
We would skip the 1997 winner, Towkay, as a racer, but we could not ignore him as a stallion. After The Dance, a 2001 gelding out of Dance In Time, won over $3.2 million. Another gelding, Armada, also out of Dance In Time, won over $22 million in Hong Kong (over $4 million AUD).
We skipped a few, mainly untalented geldings, to find the profitable gelding Yell winning the Red Anchor Stakes in 2002.
Yell won over $1.5 million from 42 jumps for 9 wins and 11 placings.
He broke through the Group 1 threshold when he beat Fields Of Omagh to win the C. F. Orr Stakes in 2003 and next up when he took the Futurity Stakes from Innovation Girl.
The 2004 winner of the race was Oratorio.
Oratorio made just 11 jumps, but he made good money racing in Magic Millions races. The Red Anchor Stakes win was his last.
He was an effective sire, with his best being the 2006 gelding Waratah’s Secret from Blissfully that won just over $700,000.
We mention the 2006 winner, Corton Charlemagne because we believe that she was the first filly/mare to win the race.
When sent to stud, she was served by top sires, such as Danehill Dancer, Elvstroem, More Than Ready, Encosta De Lago, Pierro and Choisir, but none of her foals did much, with three progeny accounting for eight wins.
A better mare named Avenue won the race in 2009.
She ran second to Eagle Falls in the 2011 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate.
Five named foals with sires such as Exceed And Excel (2x), Street Cry Redoute’s Choice and Fastnet Rock failed to make an impact worthy of their pedigrees.
Karuta Queen, a filly by Not A Single Doubt from Card Queen was a good winner from 2011.
She earned over $1.8 million from just 20 jumps for six wins and seven placings. She earned the bulk of her prizemoney when she won the 2005 Magic Millions 2YO Classic in a nearly three-length rout of Combat Kitty.
She might be considered a failure as a breeder. Although four of her six named foals made some money, the expectations associated with sires with names such as Spirit Of Boom, Sebring and Written Tycoon were far from fulfilled.
Thermal Current, the best gelding we have encountered as a winner of the Red Anchor Stakes, was the winner in 2013.
We appreciate him for having earned almost $1 million and the fact that he needed 67 jumps to do it makes us like him all the more. He never won above Group 3 level, so he did not amass his earnings from one or two major wins.
Holler won the race in 2015.
He only made 14 jumps for four wins and five placings, but one of his wins was the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes at Randwick in 2016 from First Seal, followed by a close second to Flamberge in the Group 1 William Reid Stake at Moonee.
Holler has been standing in Victoria and recently Tasmania, but it is early to be reaching conclusions about his stud career.
The 2020 winner, Portland Sky, only made 10 jumps for four wins and two placings, yet he earned almost $600,000.
After winning the Red Anchor Stakes, he was dead last in the Vo Rogue Stakes at Eagle Farm, and then won the Group 3 Manfred Stakes at Caulfield before winning the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate next up.
The Red Anchor Stakes surprised us by supplying more quality winners than we had reason to suspect.
A nice sample of winners went on to have an impact on racing, either through their exploits on the track or their work in the sheds.
We found some genuine diamonds along with some true duds that ran as though they were carrying an anchor in the Red Anchor Stakes.
Red Anchor Stakes Past Winners
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