One of the oldest group races in Australia the Ted Van Heemst Stakes holds over 100 years of history and competition.
Held in WA it is one of the showpiece races of the Perth Racing schedule and one of the final staying races of the calendar year.
History Of The Race
The Ted Van Heemst Stakes is a Group Two race run in Perth, WA and is held under weight for age racing conditions over a distance of 2100m.
With Prize money of $250,000 it is a main event on the Western Australian racing calendar and is considered the main lead up race to the Perth Cup also held at Ascot on New Years Day.
The race itself has been run under various names over the past 100 years.
First run in 1914 the Ted Van Heemst Stakes was originally named the Grandstand Plate and run over 2400m. In 1920 the race was renamed to the CB Cox Stakes and remained under that branding until 2015. In 2008 the race was reduced by 300m from 2400m to 2100m to avoid clashing with the Perth Cup which was reduced from 3200m to 2400m to attract more runners.
In honour of his admission to the Western Australia Racing Hall Of Fame in 2015 the CB Cox Stakes were renamed after Ted Van Heemst for his services to racing.
Ted Van Heemst was the the third longest serving Chairman of the Western Australian Turf Club (WATC).
Born in the Netherlands Van Heemst was a graduate of both the University of Melbourne and the University of Western Australia. In 1995 he was elected to the WATC committee and 12 months later appointed Chair succeeding Wilson Tuckey.
During his 19 year tenure Van Heemst oversaw considerable improvements in Western Australian racing including a Belmont Park property deal to improve local facilities along with forging closer ties to Asian racing clubs including the Singapore and Malaysian racing bodies.
Ascot Racecourse is the premier racecourse in Wester Australia. Located just 8km outside of Perth it plays host to Thoroughbred Horse Racing all year long and is the home of Perth Racing.
The track itself is held in high regard by the Australian horse racing community and considered the ‘Grand Old Lady’ of Australian racecourses with events dating back as far as 1848. The track itself is a 2km long circuit with modern facilities to aid drainage and ensure the turf surface remains high quality. With a 300m straight that inclines all the way to the finish post the track is considered one of the toughest for stayers in Australia.
Ascot host a number of high quality races throughout the year including three Group 1 races, six Group 2 races and 9 Group 3 races.
The Ted Van Heemst Stakes is a Group 2 feature run in December as a lead into fellow Group 2 race, The Perth Cup.
With low prize money available for the Ted Van Heemst / CB Cox Stakes the WATC has had to rely on local talent to deliver exciting editions of the race since its first run in 1914.
As part of WA’s summer carnival the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic has been seen as a race favoured by many trainers and owners as a run into the Ted Van Heemst Stakes before tackling the Perth Cup on New Years Day.
There is a rich history of runners looking to complete a double on two of these three races with the CB Cox Stakes (historically) and Perth Cup double being most favourable.
Over the years we have seen some of Australia’s finest stayers such as Saratov in 1988, Mirror Magic in 1991, Palatious in 1993, Cats Fun in 2007, and Lords Ransom in 2009 do the double. Several horses such as Ideal Centreman in 1990, Free At Last in 2004, and Early Express in 2005, went on to place well in the Perth Cup.
The inaugural race was held in 1914 won by a horse named Radnor. Eracre was the first to score back to back victories in 1925-26, followed by Maple in 1927-28, Gay Balkan in 1938-40, Royal Coral in 1965-66, and Tropical Chief in 1975-76.
The event remained a principal race until 1979 when it achieved Group 2 status. Among the most memorable CB Cox Stakes was the 2006 contest between Scenic Shot and Daka's Gem. The race was a dead heat and went down as one of the greatest in Australian racing history.
More recently in 2019 the race was won emphatically by WA trained Regal Power under the ride of William Pike. Trainers Alana and Grant Williams went on to run the 5yo gelding in the All Star Mile at Flemington which he went on to win along with $4.25m in Prize money.
The Ted Van Heemst Stakes is one of the premier races of the WA racing calendar and carries a rich racing history.
With over 100 years of racing history it is definitely a WA racing feature but will never take away from the glow off Kingston Town Classic, Winterbottom Stakes or the Railway Stakes despite being a renowned race.
|Year||Ted Van Heemst Stakes Winners|
|2011||God Has Spoken|
|2004||Free At Last|
|1964||Rack And Ruin|