The Newcastle Spring Stakes is a Group 3 race of 1600 metres run under set weight conditions at Newcastle Racecourse in New South Wales during mid-November. The track is properly known as Broadmeadow Racecourse and the registered name for the race is Spring Stakes.
The race is restricted to horses of any gender provided that they are three years of age, no younger, no older.
Newcastle Spring Stakes Race Details
Race Distance: 1600m
Prize Money: $200,000
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When Is The Newcastle Spring Stakes: 16/11/24
What Time Is The Newcastle Spring Stakes: 4.05pm
Where Is The Newcastle Spring Stakes: Newcastle Racecourse
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More Details About The Newcastle Spring Stakes
Prizemoney for the race jumped from $160,000 in 2021 to $200,000 for the 2022 jump.
A handy mare named Festival Dancer won the race for 2021.
She is by Choisir from Festival Princess and her pedigree contains a nice mix of southern and northern hemisphere ancestors. Some of her lines trace to top gallopers, such as Australia’s Biscay and Canada’s Northern Dancer, names we frequently encounter when researching pedigrees.
Festival Dancer is doing okay, with 18 jumps for four wins and four placings. She has won a little above $200,000 to this stage. Most of her racing has been on provincial tracks, although we are not suggesting that races at Eagle Farm are considered provincial. Her last official jump was the Group 1 Queensland Oaks. She not only finished last, but she was nearly running still when the next race started. She has done nothing by barrier trials since and we suspect that the now four-year-old mare is not long for the turf.
A replay video of Festival Dancer’s best win can be viewed at the following link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfvFOee7mP0
It was her fourth consecutive win, but the first three were minor races on country tracks.
History of the Newcastle Spring Stakes
We might want to call the race the Broadmeadow Spring Stakes, but we will stay with Newcastle Spring Stakes for the simple reason that many things have the word spring in them. There are races with similar names, most notably the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes held at Randwick around the same time.
The best way to differentiate is to use the name NJC 3YO Spring Stakes, with NJC representing the Newcastle Jockey Club.
For our purposes, we will call the race the Spring Stakes for the balance of this article.
This is a new race that made its debut in 1984.
Since this is NSW racing, this race, at least, does not have all the name variations we often see with races in Victoria. It is now and always has been a 1600-metre race.
The Group classification system was in use by the time the Spring Stakes was run for the first time and the grade then was Listed. Promotion to Group 3 grade came for the 1999 jump.
The only time the race has not jumped at Broadmeadow was in 2016. Construction work on the course in 2016 caused the race to be move to Randwick and run in February rather than on the traditional November date. In its normal slot, the Spring Stakes is one of the early races of the new racing season.
When we scan the list of winners of the race, the only one that causes us to ask what a horse of top quality was doing in the race, the only one is Shogun Lodge from 1999. This galloper earned over $4.6 million thanks to wins in major Group 1 races, such as the Epsom Handicap and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, along with others.
Venue for the Newcastle Jockey Club Spring Stakes
With the exception of the year 2016, when work on Broadmeadow Racecourse saw the race shifted to Randwick, the race has always been run on Sydney’s “other” metro track.
Even Google Maps refers to the venue as Newcastle Racecourse, so we don’t feel bad about it.
The track is located about 160 km north of Sydney, in the beach town of Newcastle. The other Group grade races staged there are the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap (here we go, recycling race names again, this is not THE Newmarket Handicap held at Flemington during the autumn racing season), the Cameron Handicap and the Newcastle Gold Cup.
Broadmeadow Racecourse is a standard oval with a circumference of 2000 metres. For 1600-metre races, horse start from a short chute on the northwest side of the track, run the back straight, make one double turn, and then head for the finish at the end of the home straight.
Racing History of the NJC Spring Stakes
As might be expected, the NJC Spring Stakes is not the venue where future Australian Racing Hall of Fame horses go to burnish their credentials. The only name we can claim to have truly recognised is that of the 1999 winner, Shogun Lodge.
As we examine the list of winners, we will be hoping to find some Group 1 winners, or perhaps a stallion or mare or two that produced significant progeny.
The winner of the first jump in 1984 was Blazing Devil.
Blazing Devil’s lines seem to have taken a detour when he failed to live up to his sire Blazing Saddles, a multiple winner, including the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes, courtesy of the speed passed on to him by Todman and Star Kingdom.
The winner from 1985 was Easter.
This horse is another of the anonymous sort, just as Blazing Devil, but at least he did not waste fine lines. He does have distant connections to some better gallopers on the side of his dam Honey Queen that includes the likes of France’s Wilkes and a couple generations further, Star Kingdom.
The 1986 winner was Imprimatur.
He did not leave a major mark on Australian Thoroughbred racing history, but he did win the 1986 Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes, so maybe he was good at races that had the word spring in the name. He also had lines similar to Blazing Devil, thanks to his sire Imposing, winner of the 1979 Epson Handicap and the George Main Stakes.
Imprimatur had three wins other than the NJC Spring Stakes and he was sire to some 30+ offspring, although the best was the modest gelding Buckaroos out of New Bond that won about $50,000 as the result of 17 wins from 86 jumps.
The 1987 winner, All Ashore, was a Group 1 winner in the 1987 Group 1 WATC Derby, with a second in the 1987 Victoria Derby and a third in the 1987 Group 1 BTC Sires’ Produce Stakes. All Ashore was a decent sire, with the 1997 gelding Beat The Tide that won over $200,000.
So far, we are finding better winners of the NJC Spring Stakes than we had expected.
Pardon was the winner in 1988, continuing the pattern of winners claiming New Zealand as their land of birth. His sire was Vice Regal and Royal Pardon was out of the good race mare Emancipation that can trace lines to Bletchingly, Ammo Girl, Biscay and Gunsynd. His northern hemisphere lines trace back to the legendary U.S. horses, War Relic and Man O’ War.
He managed to earn over $425,000 from 43 jumps for four wins and nine placings.
None of Royal Pardon’s offspring earned above $7,000.
Another Kiwi galloper was the 1989 winner Procol Harum.
He had a Group 1 win in the Caulfield Guineas and he earned more than $520,000. He was a prolific sire, with his best Aussie offspring being Walnuts, a 1994 mare out of Helen’s Choice that earned over $200,000.
Another Group 1 winner appears in the form of Coronation Day, the winner of the NJC Spring Stakes in 1992. He won the Group 1 George Main Stakes that same year and he also won the Group 2 Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick.
He was a good sire and impressed us for the sheer number of offspring, a high percentage of which won money. His best were the 1999 gelding Athelnoth ($333,000) and Paobridge ($588,000) and Billion Way, a 1994 gelding out of Candide that raced in Hong Kong and earned the equivalent of $2.8 million.
After winning the NJC Spring Stakes in 1995, Vernal never won or placed again. It was fitting that he win this race though, as Vernal is the Latin word for spring, most often used to describe the solar event Vernal Equinox.
A winner of more than $1.5 million from 29 jumps for four wins and 11 placings, the Kiwi galloper Ebony Grosve won the race in 1996. After winning the race, he would go on to win the Group 1 AJC Derby and the Group 2 Hill Stakes. November of 1997 found him winning the Group 1 MacKinnon Stakes at Flemington, followed by an eighth in that year’s Melbourne Cup.
Ebony Grosve’s best progeny was a 2001 gelding out of Wairongoa Belle named Mandela that won close to a million dollars racing in Oz and NZ.
Better still was the 1997 winner Encounter.
won above $2.1 million from 22 jumps for 11 wins and 6 placings.
Encounter won or placed in his first seven jumps, including the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes, a second in the Group 1 Golden Slipper at Rosehill followed by wins in the Group 1 Sires’ Produce at Randwick and the Group 1 Champagne Stakes at the same course, all prior to winning the NJC Spring Stakes. After winning, he recorded Group 1 wins in the George Main and the Caulfield Guineas. He would win twice more at Group 1 grade in the Futurity Stakes and the Chipping Norton Stakes.
Encounter supplied many foals, with the best being a 2002 gelding from Lady Maldine named Star Of Nittan that won more than $460,000.
Admittedly, we are finding much better quality in the winners than we expected.
Before winning the NJC Spring Stakes in 1998, a year in which only he and three others jumped, Dracula had Group 1 wins in the Champagne Stakes and the Eagle Farm version of the Sires’ Produce Stakes. Next up after winning, he won the Group 1 George Main Stakes.
Dracula’s blood (ha-ha) went far and the best seems to be another vampire inspired name in the form of Impaler, a 2000 gelding out of Catecombe that won more than $835,000.
It took longer than anticipated to reach the true notable Shogun Lodge from 1999.
We mentioned him earlier, so we will not elaborate further now, other than to say he was a gelding that won more than $4.6 million, racing up to the age of seven before dying of a heart attack in the early stages of the Emirates Stakes.
Another better winner was 2000’s Universal Prince.
He won nearly $3 million from 30 jumps for 7 wins and 10 placings.
After winning the NJC Spring Stakes, he won the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes, the second of our NJC Spring Stakes winners to make that claim. Another Group 1 win was the 2001 Canterbury Guineas. His next Group 1 win was the 2001 AJC Derby and the final win of a career highlighted by high finishes in big races was the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill.
He lined up against the likes of Northerly, Sunline and Ethereal, nearly beating each of them, losing by small margins each time.
Universal Prince was a good sire, with his best being the 2006 gelding World Wide that earned more than $600,000.
Magic Albert from 2001 was one we might have skipped, but we decided to have a look because he was by Zeditave. Magic Albert made just 13 jumps for seven wins and two placings. His best win came right before the NJC Spring Stakes when he won the Group 2 Peter Pan at Rosehill. In his jump after winning the NJC Spring Stakes, he was second to Lonhro in the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes.
It was as a sire that Magic Albert was truly magical.
His best, amongst many major stakes earners, was the 2004 gelding named Albert The Fat, a winner of more than $1.3 million.
Another big winner was 2002’s Clangalang.
He won over $2 million from just 20 jumps for 6 wins and 4 placings. One of his Group 1 wins was the ATC Derby. Another was the 2003 Epsom Handicap from Grand Armee.
His best offspring was the 2006 gelding Geegee’s Blackflash that won over $1.1 million.
Finally, another mare, the second from the list of NJC Spring Stakes winners, was Lotteria by Redoute’s Choice. She won the race in 2004, her third win from her first three jumps. She followed with a Group 1 win in the Flight Stakes, with another Group 1 win in the Myer Classic at Flemington.
She needed just 17 jumps to win eight and place in four to earn almost $1.5 million. She was served by the better stallions, including two by Encosta De Lago and two by More Than Ready, but no winners to suggest the quality of her lines.
After winning the race in 2005, Hotel Grand would record Group 1 wins in the Spring Champion Stakes and the Randwick Guineas.
While quite a few progeny of Hotel Grand would earn stakes, none was better than the 2009 gelding Fiveandahalfstar that won over $2.5 million.
We skipped the 2006 winner Mearas. The next year of 2007 was the year the race was not held due to the equine influenza outbreak.
After winning the race in 2008, Sousa recorded a Group 1 win in the Spring Champion Stakes. He left little by way of progeny.
Magic Albert from 2001 contributed a winner of the 2010 NJC Spring Stakes.
It was Ilovethiscity, a better type that won over $900,000 from 17 jumps for four wins and five placings. His sole Group 1 win was the 2011 Randwick Guineas.
Ilovethiscity was a good sire, with several six-figure-plus winners, including King Of Hastings ($565,000), Kings Consort ($625,000) and Moonlover ($423,000).
The 2012 winner was Proisir, one we would have skipped other than for the fact that his sire was Choisir. Proisir only won a few races, but he was a better sire with dozens of stakes winners, including Trillion Win, a 20016 gelding that raced in Hong Kong and won more than $1.1 million in AUD.
A 2010 gelding by Savabeel named Savvy Nature won the NJC Spring Stakes in 2013. One of those he beat was one of our all-time favourites, Happy Clapper. He won almost $900,000 but much of that money came from racing at Sha Tin, where lining up is worth $100,000.
A colt by Lonhro named Sweynesse won the race in 2014. He earned more than $600,000, but he only raced 13 times. His next jump supplied his next win in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes. If he had been able to beat Hallowed Crown, he could have had wins in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes and the Group 1 Randwick Guineas.
The best offspring by Sweynesse was the 2018 gelding Lucky Sweynesse that raced in Hong Kong and earned more than $1.7 million Aussie bucks.
When the 2016 race was delayed and run in February of 2016, the winner was Invincible Gem.
She was not the race her sire I Am Invincible was, but she won almost $1 million from 35 jumps for 6 wins and 11 placings. She won at Group 2 level and had some near misses in Group 1 races.
The winner from 2018 was a gelding named Aramayo.
Now aged seven, he is listed as active. He has won more than $1.6 million, more than half of that total coming from winning the Listed Kranji Mile in Singapore.
The mare Asiago won in 2019.
She was not great, but we like the cheese and she was by the good sire Medaglia D’Oro. Now retired to stud, she has yet to supply a foal, according to the records we checked.
Our final winner is 2020’s The Elanora,
She is by Redoute’s Choice from Yesterjoy. She is a Chris Waller horse, meaning that she does more trials than racing. That is actually unfair to Waller. The Elanora has made nine jumps, with just nine barrier trials.
Sorry, Mr. Waller.
Her last jump was the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas, where she finished seventh.
There is a replay of The Elanora winning the race in 2020, but it is almost an hour long, as it contains video from many races.
The NJC Spring Stakes had a surprising number of good racers and good breeders.
While few of the names are from the top ranks of Australian Thoroughbred racing, there were numerous Group 1 winners and many that were just a couple of strides from winning big races.
Newcastle Spring Stakes Past Winners
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