The Newcastle Gold Cup is a Group 3 race held in NSW’s second largest city at Broadmeadow Racecourse. Many people still refer to the course simply as Newcastle.
The race typically takes place in the middle portion of September and is run by the Newcastle Jockey Club.
Newcastle Gold Cup Race Details
Race Distance: 2300m
Prize Money: $250,000
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When Is The Newcastle Gold Cup: 13/9/24
What Time Is The Newcastle Gold Cup: TBA
Where Is The Newcastle Gold Cup: Newcastle Racecourse
How To Live Stream The Newcastle Gold Cup
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More Details About The Newcastle Gold Cup
It is staged under open handicap conditions for horses aged three years and above, with the minimum allotment being 54 kilograms.
The trip for the race is currently 2300 metres, so those connections seeking to test their stayers might use the race as early preparation for the Melbourne Cup, although the main attraction for trainers and connections is the ballot exemption to The Metropolitan at Randwick in October.
Prizemoney for the race is $250,000.
The race was run as the Sharp Office Newcastle Gold Cup. The winner was a Chris Waller trained galloper named Great House. Great House used his golden ticket to The Metropolitan to some advantage, running fifth - the same result he produced later in the season when he was sent out for the Caulfield Cup.
Great House took in $140,250 for beating 13 others for the win.
History of the Newcastle Gold Cup
The Newcastle Gold Cup has it origin in the year 1898.
The distance from Sydney to Newcastle would probably discourage the better types from venturing the 160 kilometres to race for little in the way of money or prestige, but the local gallopers were never in short supply.
The race has changed grades several times over its history, even experiencing the ignominy of being downgraded at one point.
The race was viewed as a Principal race from inception through 1980, receiving the Group 3 designation in 1981, two years after that classification system came into use. It was Group 3 through 1984 and it was lifted to Group 2 in 1985. It persisted at that level through 2000, but was then demoted to Group 3 beginning in 2001, where it has remained.
The organisers of the race have fiddled with the trip many times, almost as though they wanted to be the first to change the distance of a race during the race. The trip adjustments, though, have been minor.
When races were measured in miles, the Newcastle Gold Cup was initially 1-3/8 mile, which we would today call 2212 metres. At times, it was shortened to 1-1/4 mile.
The first metrically measured Newcastle Gold Cup was in 1972 and it was 2250 metres then. It was run as a 2300-metre race for the first time in 1978. Just as when it was measured under the old system, the race would be stretched or contracted by 100 metres, for reasons unknown. It was run at 2400 metres from 1992 – 2000, possibly to mimic the trip of The Metropolitan. It was back as short as 2200 metres for the 2016 edition of the race and out to 2300 metres since 2017.
As best we could determine, the name of the race has always been the Newcastle Gold Cup, although we are quite certain that myriad sponsors have attached their names to the race over the years.
Race Venue for the Newcastle Gold Cup
Newcastle Racecourse, or Broadmeadow Racecourse, according to anyone’s preference, is located in the coastal city of Newcastle. The easiest way to get there from Sydney is to head north on the M1, but if we were going by motorcar, we would probably get off the M1 at Gosford, about halfway along, and take A49 for a true coastal drive.
The track is a true oval with a circumference of 2000 metres, so for a staying race such as the Newcastle Gold Cup, the gallopers will start 300 metres from the finish line, with a nice straight to the first turn. That first turn curves into the second. The back straight is about 400 metres and the last two turns are identical to the first two in that once the turn starts, it does not stop until the home straight.
Just on the off chance it is needed, we will mention that gallops racing in NSW runs in a clockwise direction.
Newcastle Racecourse has two other Group 3 races jumping on the same day as the Newcastle Gold Cup. They are they Cameron Handicap (1400 metres) and the Tibbie Stakes (1400 metres). Another Group 3 race, this one held during the autumn, is the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap, a poor man’s version of the race staged at Flemington. All three of those Newcastle races list prizemoney of $160,000.
Racing History of the Newcastle Gold Cup
There are not many familiar names on the list of winners of the Newcastle Gold Cup. Imagine the logistics of getting a top galloper from Sydney or Victoria to Newcastle for very little stakes money on offer. The ballot exemption to The Metropolitan may have been an enticement for the local gallopers, a chance, after all, to get a slot on the big stage and hope for miracles and racing luck. Any Sydney connections that viewed the Newcastle Gold Cup as a route into The Metropolitan would have had to weigh the cost of getting a handy type to Newcastle, win the race, and be left with slim hopes in a major Group 1 Randwick race against the potential long-shot benefits.
At first glance, we notice only three names with which we were acquainted, those of Russia (1944), Hyperno (1977) and Gurner’s Lane (1982).
Multiple winners of the Newcastle Gold Cup include Duke Alwyne (1915/16) and Duo (1965/66).
Here is what we found when we examined some of the other winners, with the well-managed expectations that the early years of the race would have scant historical data available.
The winner of the first Newcastle Gold Cup was Raven’s Plume in 1898.
She was a mare by none other than New Zealand’s Carbine. She foaled in 1894 in the state of Victoria.
Records indicate that the 1901 winner was named Salute.
Searching for that horse, we found nothing by that name that would have been born in the 1890s, despite finding 31 gallopers that have been named Salute.
The only reference we found for 1903 Newcastle Gold Cup winner Oblivion was that he won the Newcastle Gold Cup.
Strabo is credited with winning the race in 1904. We found records for seven horses by that name, but none from the appropriate years. The only Australian Strabo we found was foaled in 1997.
A New South Wales bred horse named Zythos was the 1905 winner. The other race win we located for him was the Railway Stakes, but this is not the same race as the Western Australian Group 1 Railway Stakes. This Railway Stakes was one held by the RRC, which we speculate might have been the Randwick Racing Club.
Gladsome, winner of the race in 1906 was a champion middle distance mare that made an impressive 64 jumps for 27 wins, 18 of those stakes races, with 23 placings.
It is not surprising that so little remains of those early winners, but it was unprecedented to look at several for which no record of their existence could be found. This was the case with Goldlock (1908), Rocklight (1909), Lady Wilde (no Australian horses by that name) and Strathroyal (1911).
Lovers of word play would appreciate the 1913 winner, Sir Vive. This gelding would have been aged six when he won the race. His lines include Carbine for a grandsire, which means connections to Great Britain’s Musket and Toxophilite.
The first two-time Newcastle Gold Cup winner was Duke Alwyne, but despite the two wins, Duke Alwyne was nowhere to be found when we consulted the Thoroughbred pedigree database.
This dearth of breeding information is rare for older races in Victoria and metro courses in NSW, but it is necessary to remember that in the early 1900s, the City of Newcastle had only about 25 percent of its current population.
We were still encountering nil data as far ahead as 1923. In some instances, the name of the Newcastle Gold Cup winner did not match any of the database entries. In other instances, there were multiple horses by the name of the given winner, but none from the right years.
We may be skipping some of the better types, but we felt it necessary to jump to 1944, where the winner, Russia, was well known.
Russia has been used as a horse name on many occasions – we found 13 – only one of them actually from Russia. The Russia that won the Newcastle in 1944 was foaled in 1940. He was four when he won the race and he had major wins in staying races racing when he was nine. He was great as a six-year-old, when he won the 1946 Melbourne with legendary jockey Darby Munro aboard. He won the AJC Plate in 1947 and 1948, a prestigious race now known as the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Russia was a decent sire, with about nine stakes winners to his credit.
More mainly anonymous and minor winners populate the list following Russia in 1944.
The second and final multiple winner of the Newcastle Gold Cup was Duo that won a pair of the races in 1965 and 1966. Other major wins were the AJC Summer Cup and the 1966 The Metropolitan. This was the first instance we found of a galloper using a ballot exemption for winning the Newcastle Gold Cup to win The Metropolitan.
The next notable we encountered was 1977 winner Hyperno.
He improved after winning the race, with wins in races that are now considered Group 1s. Those include the BMW Stakes, the C F Orr Stakes, two wins in the Queen Elisabeth Stakes, the Australian Cup and his crowning achievement, the 1979 Melbourne Cup. He was voted the Australian Horse of the Year in 1981, so the Newcastle Gold Cup was when he was four-years-old, early in his career, otherwise, we could think of no reason for him to be wasted racing in Newcastle.
We could say much the same about 1982 winner Gurner’s Lane.
Gurner’s Lane was the seventh horse in the history of Australian racing to win the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup in the same year, 1982 in this case. He was the Australian Champion Racehorse of the Year in 1983 and we would assert that winning the Cups Double was the justification, because beyond that, he only won five other races in 41 jumps. His win in the Melbourne Cup broke the heart of many punters who had backed Kingston Town to win until Gurner’s Lane and jockey Mick Dittman snuck inside to win on the rails.
The year of 2005 gave us the only recorded dead heat in the history of the Newcastle Gold Cup. One winner was Carael Boy, an honest horse that made 86 jumps to win just under $1 million. With that many jumps, he is an automatic inductee to the mythical Pro Group Racing Hall of Fame. Carael Boy would take on any and all comers, probably trying to match race punters as they came in from the car park.
Carael Boy jumped for $21 to the favourite High Cee from $4.20.
High Cee was a modest horse, such that not even having Bart Cummings for his trainer could improve his fortunes. His best win was when he beat Danleigh to win the Group 2 Ajax Stakes at Rosehill in 2007.
The race was abandoned in 2007, the year the equine influenza outbreak in NSW forced many races to be abandoned.
Irish Import Green Moon, the winner in 2011, won the 2012 Melbourne Cup. Winning the Melbourne Cup would account for much of the $5.3 million Green Moon earned. After winning the Newcastle Gold Cup, he ran second to Southern Speed in the Caulfield Cup. He won the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes in early October, ran seventh in the Cox Plate later in the month and won the Melbourne Cup 10 days later. He never won again and when he returned to defend his Melbourne Cup title in 2013, he finished 21st.
The rest of the list offered us nothing we felt compelled to investigate, so we conclude with 2020 winner Mugatoo.
Mugatoo was another Irish import. He won over $3.3 million from just 21 starts for nine wins and three placings. His use of the winner’s ballot exemption for The Metropolitan found him running second by a head to England’s Mirage Dancer. His big win was the 2021 All-Star Mile at Moonee Valley, which accounts for $2.2 million of his stakes.
The Newcastle Gold Cup attracts good-sized fields, but most are locals. Some of those go on to better wins in the south, as several Melbourne Cup winners demonstrate.
Newcastle Gold Cup Past Winners
|2006||Bikkie Tin Blues|
|1996||My Kiwi Gold|
|1990||Our Magic Man|
|1988||Eye Of The Sky|
|1978||Over The Ocean|