The Perth summer racing carnival includes The Gold Rush (formerly the A J Scahill Stakes), a Group 3 weight for age race for horses three years old and over.
Held in December, the excitement builds up on a day when the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic is also held at the Ascot Racetrack.
The Gold Rush Race Details
Race Distance: 1400m
Prize Money: $1,500,000
How To Bet On The Gold Rush
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When Is The Gold Rush: 16/12/23
What Time Is The Gold Rush: TBA
Where Is The Gold Rush : Ascot Racecourse
How To Live Stream The Gold Rush
To live stream The Gold Rush, TAB Account Holders can watch the race live.
More Details About The Gold Rush
The Gold Rush made its debut in 2022, but the officially registered name of the race is still the A. J. Scahill Stakes. Scahill was a committee and vice chairman of the Western Australian Turf Club and one of the founders of the WA TAB.
History of The Gold Rush
The first A. J Scahill Stakes was held in 1978. It was a Principal graded race for the first year. As the ARB deployed the Group classification system beginning that same year, the next year saw the race being reclassified as a Group 3 grade race.
Weight-for-age racing presents the chance for a race to be won multiple times by one horse, but in the jumps since the race began in 1978, only Watermans Bay has won more than once.
The better names to grace the winners list include some true champions, including Takeover Target, Vega magic and Kementari. This is something we might not have anticipated for a WA race, especially a Group 3, but the trip and the date of the race is ideal for the prime eastern gallopers to have a holiday in Perth and possible take part in some of the other races.
Now, with prizemoney of $1.5 million, more than seven times the old purse of $200,000, the fields for the race should show an exponential increase in ability.
There was 2003, where many WA races traditionally held at Ascot in Western Australia had to shift to Belmont, but that was the only year The Gold Rush (formerly A. J. Scahill Stakes) had to move.
The first two jumps of the race were 1200-metre trips. Every other year has been 1400 metres, except 1983, where it was 1450 metres, almost leading us to think the race was sent to Queensland for a year.
Venue for The Gold Rush
Ascot Racecourse in Perth, Western Australia is not to be confused with Royal Ascot in England or Ascot Racecourse in New Zealand.
The Australian Ascot is one of our favourite venues because we can go there without needing to dress as though we were going to a Royal funeral.
Plus, the visual of the horses racing down the back straight with the post-card-pretty Swan River in the background is one that stirs the soul.
Ascot claims that there was racing there as early as 1848. It is a tri-oval design with turns that vary, instead of being a uniform tri-oval.
The three Group 1 races staged at Ascot are the Kingston Town Classic, the Railway Stakes and the Winterbottom Stakes. These three, along with six Group 2 and nine Group 3 races are spread throughout the spring and autumn racing seasons, but the better races are in November and December.
For 1400-metre races such as The Gold Rush, the racers start near the end of a short chute at the east side of the course, run a sweeping turn, hit the back straight, and then one more turn before hitting the home straight and finishing at the stands at the south side of the course.
Racing History of The Gold Rush
The race dates back to 1983, but it was not until Watermans Bay won in 2014 and 2015 that we found the one and only multiple winner of the race. This is slightly rare for races run under weight-for-age conditions.
We suspect that the history of the race is experiencing a profound change now that the prizemoney has been increased from $200,000 to $1.5 million. Money tends to change things, but the past winners will not be changed. The other thing that has not changed is that despite the big leap in prizemoney, the race remains a Group 3 grade race.
While the registered name of the race has not changed, we suspect that, run in December, the race will appeal to the big names from the east who can enjoy an opportunity to make good bank without skipping any of the big autumn or spring carnivals. After The Gold Rush, they can have a short spell before prepping for autumn carnivals.
There may be some instances from when the race was worth far less when better types from the east jumped and there may be some of Western Australian gallopers heading east to test their mettle after establishing credentials racing in Western Australia.
Those are the sorts of details we hope to uncover, along with any Group 1 winners, WA horses that had success in the east and any progeny records reporting better-than-average offspring.
The first winner of the race was Burgess Queen in 1978.
A Western Australia bred mare, she won five of the worthwhile races in WA and she had seven other minor wins, yet only made $96,000 from her racing.
She was served by top stallions such as Snippets, Canny Lad and Rubiton. She supplied eight foals, three of which combined earned less than their mum.
Burgess Queen was the first horse to win the race and the only horse to win it when it carried the Principal race grade before the race was made Group 3 when the ARB brought in the Group classification system.
Junction Girl was the winner in 1979.
Sketchy records from those years indicate she won 17 races, but it is valid to conclude those were minor races, otherwise, she would not be so vaguely remembered.
She supplied three foals, but none of those, all fillies, amounted to anything notable.
Next came 1980’s Hakim Boy.
He won WATC races as a three-year-old and he would have been four when he won The Gold Rush. He was exported to Pakistan in 1987, something we have never before seen reported. He supplied many offspring, all of which are listed as Australian horses, but none of them amounted to anything, many were unplaced or exported. We are just happy to report that he did not end up on the menu.
The 1981 jump of the race was won by Blazing Bags.
She was a part of those foals dropped in 1976, but she wasted the blood of her sire Baugette and other top gallopers. Her best racer as a dam was a 1993 filly named Burning Embers by Zoffany. Burning Embers won about $268,000 from 18 jumps.
Latin Saint was the winner in 1982 as a seven-year-old. He won races in WA between 1979 and 1982 and he scored a Group 3 win in NSW by winning the Premier Stakes in 1982.
He was a flop at stud though, his best earning just over $30,000 and needing 60 jumps in the bargain.
A horse named Haulpak's Image was the winner in 1983.
He was one of those we appreciate for making lots of jumps, enough to be considered gelding material, but he was kept entire. He won 21 times with 19 placings from 71 jumps.
The only named we recognised looking back five generations into the pedigree of Haulpak's Image were Nasrullah, Nearco and Hyperion.
We did not locate any progeny records for Haulpak's Image, but it is difficult to imagine he had anything left in his tank after 71 jumps.
A handy mare named Eastern Temple was the winner in 1985 and she entered the race carrying Group 1 bona fides from winning the 1984 Railway Stakes.
Served by Marscay, Snippets and Sovereign Red, Eastern Temple’s offspring were anonymous.
A better type was a horse named Heron Bridge was the 1986 winner of The Gold Rush. He was an entire by Tudor Bridge that won 26 races and placed in 16 from 63 jumps. He was five at the time of the win and he had experienced Group 1 success when he won the 1984 VRC Newmarket Handicap.
A Group 1 winner of the Railway Stakes was the mare Miss Muffet, winner of The Gold Rush in 1988. She shared a sire, Haulpak, with the 1983 winner, Haulpak’s Image.
None of her foals did anything, despite some good servicing by Rubiton and other good stallions.
Another winner of the Group 1 Railway Stakes to notch victory in The Gold Rush was 1990’s Medicine Kid. He won 16 times and managed to escape the gelder’s emasculator for 85 jumps. He must have been faster than his record might suggest.
We did not locate a progeny record for Medicine Kid, so maybe he preferred alternative relationships, as there are some stallions that remain confirmed bachelors their entire lives.
A 1986 colt named Pago Escort won The Gold Rush in 1992, but other than winning the race, his greatest distinction was that his sire was the remarkable Pago Pago.
Like father, like son-but not in this case. Pago Pago earned more from one of his better wins than Pago Escort won for his 67-jump career.
The 1996 winner, Island Morn was a better type, with Group 1 wins in the Railway Stakes in 1994 and the Group 1 Diabetes Stakes that same year. That second Group 1 win is commonly known as the Kingston Town Classic. He raced in the east and won the Memsie Stakes when it was still a Group 2 race.
Island Morn supplied a slew of foals. A remarkable percentage made some money. There was one that won over a million in Turkish money, or maybe it was Azerbaijani money, but the current exchange rate is $0.86 AUD, so this was decent prizemoney.
Bold Extreme won in 1997.
We thought we caught a whiff of Bold Ruler in that name, but it was not the case. Right before his win, he took out the Group 1 Railway Stakes as the capper for a three-race win streak. The Gold Rush was his last win or place, but he kept going for another 15 jumps and hopefully made hay money.
We have been finding mostly average types to this point, Group 1 winners notwithstanding and give or take a few better breeders, but we are compelled by space to leap forward to 2008, when The Gold Rush was won by Takeover Target.
This gelding by Great Britain’s Celtic Swing out of Australia’s Shady Stream won over $6 million with eight Group 1 wins all over the country and went into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2012. He was the world’s highest rated turf sprinter in 2006.
The sole dual winner of the race came along in 2014 and 2015 as a gelding by a U.S. sire.
Watermans Bay won over $1 million. His second win in The Gold Rush was his last jump. In his prior jump, he very nearly knocked off Buffering in the 2015 Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes.
The well-known Vega Magic crossed first in 2016.
He was a gelding by Ireland’s Lope De Vega out of Admirable.
He won over $4 million with 14 wins and 4 placings from 27 jumps. The 2017 Group 1 The Goodwood was his first Group 1 win. He beat Black Heart Bart and Tosen Stardom to win the Memsie Stakes, which by this year was well established at Group 1 grade. His second in the first edition of The Everest to Redzel paid him over $1 million. His second try in The Everest found him stone motherless. He ended his career with a Group 3 win at Ascot in 2020, the Roma Cup.
A full brother to the great Arcadia Queen, Arcadia Prince was the 2018 winner. He was nowhere near her equal as a racer, even though he was a year older than his famous sister.
Kementari was a notable winner of the race in 2020.
He was by Lonhro and his above $4 million in earnings suggest that he met expectations. He was a Godolphin horse, so he had to win or risk being on the menu.
He beat good horses Pierata and Trapeze Artist to win the 2018 Group 1 Caulfield Guineas, was still in the frame when Winx and Happy Clapper put him into third in the 2018 Group 1 George Ryder Stakes. He was one of just five willing to accept the challenge of racing Winx.
After Kementari came Valour Road, a pretty good one, and finally, 2022, the first year the race was run as The Gold Rush, with prizemoney more than seven times what the original A J Scahill Stakes paid, The Astrologist took the post from $4.20 favourites Vilana and Kissonallfourcheeks when jumping form the fifth barrier with top WA hoop Willy Pike steering a $19 winner home.
Now that it is The Gold Rush, it might be common to see some of the better gallopers from the east going west for a shot at big prizemoney, but even back in the days of the A J Scahill Stakes, better horses showed up for the race.
The Gold Rush Past Winners
|2003||Hot Shot Brother|
|2001||Lizzy Long Legs|
|1991||Strip The Moon|