The Group 2 WH Stocks Stakes is a 1600-metre race for mares age four years and over.
It is run in September at Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne. The running conditions are weight for age.
Stocks Stakes Race Details
Racecourse: Moonee Valley
Race Distance: 1600m
Prize Money: $300,000
How To Bet On The WH Stocks Stakes
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Stocks Stakes Betting Tips
1. Tips Will Be Updated Closer To The Race
When Is The Stocks Stakes: 27/9/2024
What Time Is The Stocks Stakes: TBC
Where Is The Stocks Stakes: Moonee Valley Racecourse
How To Live Stream The Stocks Stakes
To live stream the WH Stocks Stakes, TAB Account Holders can watch the race live.
More Details About The Stocks Stakes
The WH Stocks Stakes is part of a Moonee Valley meeting that features the Group 1 A J Moir Stakes, the Group 2 Stutt Stakes and two Group 3 races – the Japan Racing Association Cup and the Scarborough Stakes.
Prizemoney for the race is $300,000. When So You Assume won in 2021, she jumped fourth favourite, starting at $8.50 and returning a handsome dividend to any punters that backed her.
She carried Dean Yendall and earned the first prize of $180,000 for winning her first Group jump. She also collected a $1500 bonus for her comfortable 1.5 length win over Magna Bella, with favourite Quantum Mechanic a neck back into third.
History of the WH Stocks Stakes
This is a newer race that debuted in 1973, after metrication, so the race has always been 1600 metres, save for 1993, when 16 metres were added.
It was classified as a Principal race from 1973 – 1978, declared Listed in 1979, which lasted through 1992. The race was lifted to Group 3 in 1993 and achieved its current Group 2 status in 2005.
The WH Stocks Stakes was known as the Dallas Handicap from when it started through 1979. W H Stocks Stakes was the name used from 1980 – 2006. In 2007 only, it was the Cranes Stakes before returning to the current name from 2008 onwards.
Only one mare has won the race more than one time. I Am A Star won in 2017 and 2018.
Venue for the WH Stocks Stakes
The WH Stocks Stakes has always been run at Melbourne’s Moonee Valley Racecourse. We suspected that it might have been shifted elsewhere in 1993, when the race tip was the odd figure of 1614 metres, but records from that year indicate that the race was at Moonee, although one source gives it as 1616, while another returns the trip as 1614 metres.
Moonee Valley sits on private land, something not routinely encountered with metro racetracks, certainly not Caulfield or Flemington, both of which occupy government land.
Moonee was built on a farm that the famous William Samuel Cox bought specifically with the intent of hosting a racecourse. Fair dinkum then, that the W S Cox Plate is run there.
The first racing at Moonee took place in 1883.
It has the shortest straight of any metro track in Australia. The diagonal that cuts across one of the turns is a unique feature. Along with the Cox Plate, the other Group 1s are the William Reid Stakes, the Manikato Stakes and the A J Moir Stakes.
Racing under the lights on Friday nights from late September through April and the A J Moir Stakes jumps on the eve of the AFL Grand Final, Moonee Valley offers a lot.
The course itself uses something called the StrathAyr Turf System, with sand for drainage and a mesh that reinforces the root zone of the turf.
We have an entire page devoted to Moonee Valley Racecourse that provides additional details.
Racing History of the WH Stocks Stakes
With few exceptions, those being Mystic Journey in 2020 and Atlantic Jewel in 2013, there are not any big names amongst the winners.
If you are a racehorse connection and you have a good four-year-old mare, bigger races are more of a lure. It is just the Almost Good/Almost Great sort that will be found in a gender-restricted race for mares four years and older.
We say that mainly because of the Cox Plate, but the other Group 1s held at Moonee, especially the A J Moir Stakes, have winners lists that read like roll call for the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.
The first winner was Mellition in 1973.
We know little of her. She was of New Zealand origin via her dam, First Edition and Mellition was by Great Britain’s Mellay. Mellay was unique in that he was never raced, but he was a leading sire in New Zealand for many years. When he died in 1974, it was learned that he had an unusually large heart, supposedly bigger than that of Phar Lap.
Mellition’s lines had some good names, including the U.S. legend of the early 20th Century Man O’ War, but Mellition is listed as having five wins, none of which deserved a mention. Mellition was dam to Our Sophia that won almost $750,000 in NZD.
Next, in 1974, came Dowling Lass.
She won the race when it was known as the Dallas Handicap. Unlike Mellition, she had an impressive pedigree, including her sire Star Affair and grandsire Star Kingdom. Melbourne Cup winner Comic Court was in the mix and if traced back far enough, the name of Carbine appears.
Princess Veronica from 1976 was pretty good. Her sire was two-time Melbourne Cup winner Rain Lover, but Princess Veronica, other than the WH Stocks Stakes, was winner of the VATC Easter Handicap and the VATC Norman Robinson Stakes, both 2000-metre races, so she got a little of Rain Lover’s staying genes.
The WH Stocks Stakes was not run in 1977.
Bod Bridget from 1978 is the best we have so far found in the WH Stocks Stakes list of winners.
She is credited with eight wins, although as best we can determine, nothing truly significant. The next year, the Group classification system of race grading came into use, so Bold Bridget won when the race was still considered a Principal race.
Her lines are populated by some big names, including Bold Ruler, Nearco, Windbag, Hyperion, Blenheim and Dark Ronald.
The 1984 winner was Change The Tune.
Her lines were as close to anonymous as is possible, given that we have the names, we just don’t recognise any of them. Change The Tune was credited with six wins, but nothing major, a description that also covers her progeny.
We moved all the way up to the 1988 edition of the WH Stocks Stakes to encounter Hazy Pond.
She was by Marscay, winner of the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes and a leading sire. Marscay was by Biscay that was never defeated as a two-year-old. Biscay was by Star Kingdom, so we will stop there, as the influence of Star Kingdom on Australian racing stock says it all.
The 1989 winner was Top Dance.
She was a modest racer with a claim to Vain as her grandsire.
Natural Wonder, from 1990 won a few races, including the VRC Honda Legend and the VRC Milady Stakes. She was dam to Hula Wonder, served by Hula Chief. Hula Wonder won almost $500,000, so it would be safe to say Natural Wonder was better as a breeder than as a racer.
We have noticed by this stage, that most, if not all the winners of the WH Stocks Stakes were four-year-olds, supplying additional support for our earlier assertion that four-year-olds with good ability do not persist long when it is necessary to run them in gender-restricted races that also have a minimum age of four in order to compete.
Pacific, the winner in 1991, claims Pago Pago, winner of the VRC Sires’ Produce, STC Golden Slipper and some other races, won nine consecutive wins as a two-year-old, but Pacific did not produce results anywhere close to equivalent.
Gatherneaux, from 1992, at least left us a record to examine.
Her big win was the 1992 SAJC Group 1 Australasian Oaks. She made 23 jumps for five wins and four placings and earned a little over $261,000. She produced a fifth in the 1992 Caulfield Cup, trailing the winner Mannerism by under three lengths. She jumped $67, so that would be considered a strong run.
Alcove was the winner in 1994.
She managed to take in over $1 million in earnings from 42 jumps for four wins, and 10 placings. She won the Group 1 Ansett Australia Stakes at Rosehill and backed that next jump with the win in the Group 1 AJC Oaks. She produced a second place run in the 1994 Caulfield Cup, followed by a fourth in the Cox Plate. Her next race produced a fifth place finish in the 1994 Melbourne Cup, but the WH Stocks Stakes was her last win, despite trying 26 more races.
Artic Scent from 1996 was a million-dollar-plus racer.
She won the 1996 Caulfield Cup and the 1995 Group 1 Queensland Oaks in Brisbane. She tried the WH Stocks Stakes in 1997, but could muster only fifth of nine.
Sorrento, the 1999 winner of the WH Stocks Stakes, was sixth to Sunline in the 2000 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes. She ran her last two races prepared by Gai Waterhouse, winning a minor race at Rosehill in her last start.
Sunday Joy, winner in 2003, made just 18 jumps for three wins and 6 placings, but one of the wins was the Group 1 AJC Australian Oaks.
She’s Archie, from 2004, was a Group 1 winner from the 2002 SAJC SA Fillies Classic and was second in the 2003 Melbourne Cup. Second to Makybe Diva she was. She matched up with the Diva again in 2004 and went from second in 2003 to stone motherless in 2004. She had second place finishes in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes and the Group 3 Geelong Cup.
Based on She’s Archie and her strong run in the Melbourne Cup in 2003, we have to say that better runners were lining up in the WH Stocks Stakes, although the race would not be lifted to Group 2 until the following year.
A million dollar stakes producer, Devil Moon, won in 2007 and she produced a Group 1 victory that same year when she won the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes. She tried the WH Stocks Stakes the following year and was second to Tuesday Joy. She beat Eskimo Queen in the Group 3 Let’s Elope Stakes that same year and her win in the Turnbull Stakes was the lead-up to a fifth in the Cox Plate.
Tuesday Joy won in 2008.
She won over $3.2 million from 24 jumps with seven wins and nine placings. She won four times at Group 1 level, taking the Coolmore Classic Stakes (2007), the H E Tancred Stakes (2008), the Rawson Stakes (2008) and the Chipping Norton Stakes (2009). Her other three wins were at Group 2, those being the Wakeful Stakes (2006), the Stocks Stakes and the Apollo Stakes (2009).
Tuesday Joy also produced second placings in the Group 1 VRC Oaks (2006) and the Chipping Norton Stakes (2008).
Jumping forward, we arrive at the 2013 winner Atlantic Jewel.
She won over $1.5 million dollars from 11 jumps for 10 wins and one second, never unplaced in any race in which she competed. She won at Group 1 level, taking the Thousand Guineas as a three-year-old, along with the All Aged Stakes at Randwick. Two more Group 1 wins came as a five-year-old, those being the Memsie Stakes and the Caulfield Stakes.
Hers is a tragic story. She was retired due to injury in 2013 and she died in 2020 while foaling a colt by Justify, the winner of the U.S. Triple Crown in 2018.
I Am A Star from 2017 and 2018 was the only dual winner of the WH Stocks Stakes. She was hard to tip, as she ran last in two Group 1 races in 2017, but won again in 2018 in two Group 2s and one Group 3.
The familiar name of Mystic Journey made the list of WH Stocks Stakes winners when she took the race from Perfect Jewel. She won over $4.1 million from 28 jumps for 12 wins and six placings. She won Group 1 races, but the bulk of her earnings came from winning the All Star Mile in 2019, where she easily beat Hartnell and Alizee. Mystic Journey jumped favourite in a field that included Le Romain and Happy Clapper.
Given the significance of the All Star Mile, here is the link to Mystic Journey’s win.
In the beginning, the WH Stocks Stakes seemed to attract fields of lesser horses. This is often the case with newly instituted races. The gender and age restrictions meant that the better types were lining up for better races.
In the last several years, though, since the race achieved Group 2 ranking and increased the prizemoney, the WH Stocks Stakes started to attract better gallopers.
WH Stocks Stakes Past Winners
|2021||So You Assume|
|2018||I Am A Star|
|2017||I Am A Star|
|2016||Dont Doubt Mamma|
|1984||Change The Tune|