Straight off, we will be following the protocol of other and referring to the race as the WA Champion Fillies Stakes or the WA Champion Fillies. Everyone calls the race these or somethings similar and we are not going to type Western Australia every time we want to mention the name of the race.
The WA Champion Fillies Stakes is a Group 3 race presented by Perth Racing that is held in November after the Melbourne Cup and the other big eastern spring races have concluded.
WA Champion Fillies Stakes Race Details
Race Distance: 1600m
Prize Money: $200,000
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When Is The WA Champion Fillies Stakes: 16/11/24
What Time Is The WA Champion Fillies Stakes: TBA
Where Is The WA Champion Fillies Stakes: Ascot Racecourse
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More Details About The WA Champion Fillies Stakes
It is run over 1600 metres at Ascot Racecourse in Perth by three-year-old fillies competing under set weight conditions.
The win was worth $116,000 for Searchin' Roc's when she won in 2021.
She last ran in the 2022 Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes, where she had a bad day and finished 13th out of the field of 16. She is now four for years of age and has six wins and three placings from 13 jumps for more than $670,000 in earnings.
We could not locate a replay of the 2021 race.
Nor could we find a replay of the 2020 jump.
If Conor is reading this, it is time for him to get on the job, although we do thank him for the replay of the 2019 race won by Tuscan Queen, the now six-year-old mare that is closing on $600,000 from 10 jumps for six wins and one placing.
History of the WA Champion Fillies Stakes
The WA Fillies has a history dating back to the first year after the end of World War II, 1946.
The race has been a stable presence in Western Australia racing. It has always had the same name; it has always been the same trip and with the exception of 2003, when the race had to shift to Belmont, has always been run at Ascot Racecourse in Perth.
It was a Principal grade race from the first jump through 1978. It was promoted to Group 2 in 1979, where it remained through 1996, only to be demoted to Group 3 the following year.
The race has moved around on the calendar a bit.
It was run twice in 2001, once in April and again in November. It was run twice in 2011, the first in February and the second in November.
Those circumstances could have supplied an opportunity for the winner from February or April to win again in November, but that did not occur.
If it had happened, it would make a great trivia question, something along the lines of, “Name the horse(s) to win a three-year-old fillies-only race twice.”
The other piece of historical information we can add is that the race was not held in 1977 or 2007.
Venue for the WA Champion Fillies Stakes
With the above noted exception of 2003, the WA Fillies has always been run at Ascot Racecourse in Perth.
It is one of the oldest courses in Australia and there are those who refer to the track as the Grand Old Lady of Australian racecourses.
There might be some blowback from fans of Royal Ascot in Great Britain and at one time, there was an Ascot Racecourse in Sydney that operated from 1904 to 1941, when the Second World War found the track being used as a military camp. After the war, the track did not reopen. It was demolished and is now part of the Sydney Airport.
There is yet another Ascot racecourse in New Zealand.
The Western Australia Ascot Racecourse claims to have opened in 1848, so it is hard to see logic to the slogan, but perhaps Flemington and Randwick, both of which opened earlier, are not grand or old ladies.
Ascot has been, is and most likely will always be one of our favourite venues. There is something about the view from the stands, as the horses thunder down the riverside straight that makes us want to lose about 30 kg of weight and about 30 years of age and become hoops, just so we could see the view of the Swan River from the back of a horse.
Ascot stages three Group 1 races, six Group 2s and nine Group 3s. Twelve of the 18 Group races at Ascot happen in November or December. Two jump in October and the remaining four jump in March or April.
The track is a gentle triangular oval. We say gentle because the curve that forms the southernmost point by the finish line is very gentle curve.
For 1600-metre races such as the WA Fillies, the runners start from a chute off the course proper that provides a short straight to the long turn that leads into the riverside back straight. They must navigate the turn, the tightest on the track, after the long straight, which leads to the home straight in front of the stands, almost one complete circuit.
Racing History of the WA Champion Fillies Stakes
If Australian Thoroughbred racing were viewed in a fashion similar to how Australian Rules football is viewed, racing in the eastern states of Victoria and New South Wales would be the AFL, while racing in Western Australia would be the VFL.
That is not meant to be derogatory toward Western Australia or the VFL.
When we look at the list of horses that have won the WA Champion Fillies Stakes, it is nothing like the list we see for some Group 3 races such as the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington.
There are no High Castes, no Ajaxes, Hyrdrogens, Rising Fasts or Mights And Powers.
We will be looking for fillies that went on to win better races, even some of the major Group 1 miles in Victoria and NSW. We will also be looking for winners that went on to successful stud duty.
The winner of the first race in 1946 was Burabudy.
We mention her only for winning the first jump of the race. She did not leave much of a racing or progeny record.
The next winner in 1947 was Lady Lucia.
We do know that she won six better races in WA, with two wins in the Strickland Stakes in 1947 and 1949. She got onto the radar with her 1946 win in the West Australia Derby.
We skipped a few to arrive at 1951, when the winner of the race was Chestnut Lady. Like one of her predecessors, Chestnut Lady won the Strickland Stakes. She won the Winterbottom Stakes in 1954. She even had a win in South Australia – the Adelaide Guineas.
The 1953 winner of the WA Champion Fillies Stakes was Copper Beech.
She won six races in WA, including the WA Oaks and the Karrakatta Plate. She was a versatile galloper that won over trips of 1000 m all the way out to 2400 m. Her 1964 colt, Artello Bay, by Martello Towers won the 1971 Perth Cup.
The winner for 1958 was Countess Blanche.
Like many of the earlier winners, Countess Blanche won races in WA, but we mention her here because her dam was the 1949 winner of the race, Jennie.
The years of 1961 and 1962 supplies something interesting.
Carol Vista won in 1961 and Astra Vista won in 1962.
Neither was a great racer. The interesting part is that two winners in consecutive years were by the same sire, Port Vista, although they were out of different dams, so were half-sisters.
We found a familiar name in the 1968 winner La Trice.
She won seven races in WA, including the Railway Stakes, two Winterbottom Stakes and two Lee Steere Stakes. Had she waited about 20 years, we would be writing about her as a three-time Group 1 winner.
A better type we found was the 1972 winner, Starglow.
Like most of her predecessors, Starglow won races in WA, but she threw in a win in the AJC The Galaxy in 1974. She beat Zephyr Bay, an eastern galloper that set course records in The Oakleigh Plate and the Challenge Stakes.
We found a legitimate Group 1 winner in 1974’s Fondness.
Along with her win in the 1974 WA Fillies, she won the 1974 Group 1 SAJC South Australian Oaks.
The 1975 winner was Not Amused.
The WA Fillies was her only good win. We mention her here because her sire was Martello Towers, the son of 1953 winner Copper Beech.
Not Amused is the best breeder we have uncovered to this point in the history of the WA Champion Fillies Stakes. She supplied just three named foals, but one was 1981’s Concrete by Cantabrian. Concrete won 10 race and earned almost $240,000.
Bynsaab won in 1976.
Served by Pago Pago on two occasions, she supplied the 1981 horse Movie maker that won over $235,000 and 1984’s Surfside Lady, winner of nearly $70,000.
A good race mare named Brechin Castle won in 1979.
She won many WA races and finished second in some of those same races. Two of her second place runs were in Group 1 races – the WA Oaks and the Western Mail Classic.
After making 48 jumps for 19 wins and 9 placings, she was a successful breeder, the producer of eight named foals. The best of her offspring was 1989’s Palace Reign by Beau Sovereign that won over $560,000 in the early 90s from just 22 jumps.
The 1981 winner, All There Is, was a rare one that won a jumps race in the U.S. in 1977. We have seen flats gallopers move to jumps, but this is the rare instance of a jumper turning into a galloper.
Frivolous Lass won in 1982.
The WA Fillies was her only notable win. All of her offspring were by Bletchingly, but three mares and one horse produced little when the record of Bletchingly is factored in.
The 1983 winner, Taj Bell, managed a win in Victoria when she won the Group 3 Tranquil Star Stakes that same year.
She was a good breeder, supplying 12 foals, but none of those amounted to much in terms of money earned.
We have jumped ahead to 1992, the year Chancery Star won the WA Champion Fillies Stakes.
She was not the best racer. She supplied two foals, including 1995 filly Kim Angel by Serheed that won over $560,000 in Australia and another $1million + in Singapore (about $1.3 million AUD at current exchange rates.
Prime Again won the race in 1993.
She made 29 jumps for 10 wins and 3 placings to earn more than $445,000. The WA Fillies was a Group 2 race at the time.
Prime Again was a prodigious broodmare. She supplied 13 foals, with one of those winning more than $400,000 and another winning more than $530,000.
Dance Hi from 1995 won five races, but her greater contribution was nine named foals. One of her offspring was a gelding that made 97 jumps. Her best, though, was the 2007 gelding Barakey that won over $820,000.
We have a better type in the 199 winner Kim Angel.
She won the Group 1 WA Derby in 1998 and she earned over $560,000 in Australia and over $1 million in Singapore. She was mostly a duck when it came to offspring. She supplied three and all earned money, but nothing notable.
Tribula, the winner from the second jump of the race in 2001, was the winner of almost $530,000, but it required 48 jumps for 14 wins and 7 placings to reach that figure. She supplied six foals, but none amounted to anything significant.
The 2004 winner was Stormy Nova.
She had seven wins and four placings from 14 jumps, earning a bit above $300,000.
Her main contribution, though, was Superstorm, a 2016 gelding by Sebring that won almost $3 million. Another of her offspring won more than $425,000. Two others won $296,000 and $103,000.
Catechuchu was the winner in 2006. She won almost $650,000 by winning five races, including two in Melbourne at Caulfield, one at Randwick and one at Sandown, making her the most successful of any WA Fillies winners that ventured east.
Spirited One from 2008 enjoys the claim of having been the first to win the Jungle Mist Classic and the Jungle Dawn Classic in the same year, also 1998.
Dreamaway won in February of 2011, the second and final time the WA Champion Fillies Stakes was run twice in the same year.
She had a Group 1 win in the 2011 Group 1 West Australian Derby, where she beat a $1.5 million winner named Playing God.
Dreamaway earned over $800,000 from 30 jumps for six wins and six placings. In the Derby, she beat the $1.5 million winner by 1.5 lengths. Dreamaway was by More Than Ready, so she was possibly an underperformer, but not by much.
Eight Till Late was the winner in November of 2011.
She was by Lonhro, with all the connections that implies, but she made only three jumps with just the one win.
Encosta De Lago supplied the 2013 winner, Miss Rose De Lago.
Miss Rose De Lago won over $925,000 from 35 jumps for 9 wins and 10 placings. She won Group 3 and a Group 2 race in Melbourne and had many good runs on the Victoria metro tracks.
A big winner was 2014’s Delicacy.
She notched Group 1 wins, three of them, in 2015 by taking out the South Australian Derby, the Schweppes Oaks and the West Australian Derby.
Delicacy won more than $2.1 million from just 19 jumps for 12 wins and 5 placings. She is deceased, having supplied just one unraced filly by Pierro.
Another $1 million + winner was Perfect Reflection from 2015.
She won at Group 1 when she crossed first in the 2015 Kingston Town Classic.
The notable name of Arcadia Queen appears on the list of WA Fillies winners for 2018.
She won almost $4 million from just 16 jumps for eight wins and four placings.
Arcadia Queen won at Group 1 by taking the Kingston Town Stakes at Ascot in 2018, the Caulfield Stakes in 2020 and the MacKinnon Stakes in 2020. Her last jump in February of 2021 found her second half a length to Probabeel.
The 2019 race was won by Tuscan Queen.
She won more than $580,000 from just 10 jumps for six wins and one placing.
Many of the winners of the Western Australian Champion Fillies Stakes list the win as the best of their careers.
A few won at Group 1 level and a few raced in the east with some success, but we cannot help coming away with the impression that many of these fillies were never meant to be racers, they just raced to prove their worth as breeders.
WA Champion Fillies Stakes Past Winners
|2020||Watch Me Dance|
|2013||Miss Rose De Lago|
|2012||Fuddle Dee Duddle|
|2005||Hi On Love|
|1991||Oh Pretty Woman|
|1990||Strip The Moon|
|1989||Lady Of Battle|
|1981||All There Is|
|1959||Queen Of The May|