It is run in the first week of December. The race was first run in 1976 and has been known by various names until 2007, when it came to be known by its present name.
Note: This race should not be confused with the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes run at Randwick in September.
History of the Race
The Kingston Town Classic debuted as the Marlboro 50,000 in 1976 and went by that name through the 1979 edition. The name was the Western Mail Classic from 1980 – 1983 and was known by that name when Kingston Town won in 1982. The current name came about in 2007.
The race has always been run as weight for age, open to horses of either gender aged three years and above. It is run in an anti-clockwise direction.
The race was deemed a Principal race for the first three years. When the current classification system came about in 1979, it was immediately declared a Group 1 race.
Races often change names due to sponsorship reasons and the Kingston Town Stakes supplies a prime example. No one likes Diabetes, but that was an unfortunate choice all the same. Fewer still like vegetables, so that was another bad choice.
Rothwells Stakes 1984 – 1987
Winfield Stakes 1988 – 1991
Beat Diabetes 2 Stakes 1992 – 1994
Fruit ‘N’ Veg Stakes
Just as the race names change, the trip is often modified for various reasons, but mainly in the attempt to attract the best quality field possible.
The Kingston Town Classic came along after the country switched to the metric system, so there has never been any of those pesky fractions, and in the case of the Kingston Town Stakes, the distance variations were never extreme.
1800 metres: 1976 – 1998
1600 metres: 1999 and 2000
1800 metres: 2001 and 2002
2000 metres: 2003
2004 to present: 1800 metres
The current prize money for the Kingston Town Classic is $1million. Historical figures for the early races proved elusive, so it is simply speculation that leads us to say the earlier races were not up to that level. Since Group 1 classification requires prize money of at least $350,000, it is natural to believe that the race has always paid that much or more.
The Kingston Town Classic is held at Ascot Racecourse in Perth. Ascot lacks the glitz of Flemington and Randwick and offers a more laid-back experience. One of our favourite images of Australian Thoroughbred racing connected with Ascot is when the horses and riders head down the long back straight of the triangularly configured course with the picturesque Swan River in the background. It exudes a country track vibe, but offers major quality racing as well.
Ascot Racecourse first held races in 1848.
There are adequate parking facilities for members and the public. There are shuttle buses and the Circle Route for scheduled service. There is a stand for taxis and ride-shares outside Gate
2020 Kingston Town Classic Winner Truly Great
Truly Great is a Western Australia horse, pure and simple. He was prepared for the race by the notable Western Australia trainers Grant and Alana Williams. As of December 2020, Truly Great has made 12 jumps and has won the Group 3 R J Peters at Ascot in November of 2020.
Prior to that Group 3 win, he had been in lesser races with mixed results.
A true Western Australian horse needs to have been ridden by William Pike. Pike made, including trials, 11 starts on Truly Great, but it is Chris Parnham who took the win in the R J Peters and the Kingston Town Classic.
The most notable recent winner was Arcadia Queen in 2018. She was on a quality sufficient to prompt ownership Peters Investments to take her away from Grant and Alana Williams after her Kingston Town Classic win, gift wrap her, and then present her to Chris Waller. She had one win for Waller, who gave her back to the Williamses.
Arcadia Queen rewarded the Williamses by delivering strong results, including wins in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes and Group 1 MacKinnon Stakes in 2020, and a strong fifth in the 2020 Cox Plate.
Other famous winners include Vo Rogue in 1988 and Better Loosen Up in 1989.
The first winner was Family Of Man in 1976, with a repeat in 1978.
Of course, there was the race’s current namesake, Kingston Town in 1982.
Consecutive winners were Summer Beau in 1996 – 97, Old Comrade in 2000 and 2001 and Playing God in 2010 – 11.
One measure of a horse that races in Western Australia is how they fared in the Kingston Town Classic and the Railway Stakes.
Four horses have filled that double.
Better Loosen Up in 1989, Old Comrade in 2001, Modem in 2004 and Sniper’s Bullet in 2009.
The Kingston Town Classic has attracted eastern raiders due to its nice prize money. The local bloodstock has dominated the race most years. By naming the race after the legendary Kingston Town, Perth Racing made this the marquee race of the Perth Summer Carnival, which was a savvy marketing move indeed.
The successful gallopers from Victoria and NSW often look at the race as a chance to provide a capper to a successful spring campaign and the locals view it as a chance to prove their mettle and possibly consider heading east for the autumn racing.
|Year||Kingston Town Classic Winners|
|1999||St. Clemens Belle|
|1989||Better Loosen Up|
|1985||Rant And Rave|
|1978||Family Of Man|
|1976||Family Of Man|