Ascot Racecourse has been home to the Group 3 Roma Cup, a 1200-metre weight-for-age sprint for two-year-old and above horses held during May.
Prizemoney for the race is $200,000. The winner’s share is $109,600 by Western Australia arithmetic and it was claimed by Amelia’s Jewel in 2023.
Roma Cup Race Details
Race Distance: 1200m
Prize Money: $200,000
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When Is The Roma Cup: 6/4/24
What Time Is The Roma Cup: TBA
Where Is The Roma Cup: Ascot Racecourse
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More Details About The Roma Cup
She is northern hemisphere by her lines, although the breeder is Western Australia based Amelia Park Racing & Breeding.
She has recently become aged four, as of early September 2023 and has amassed a fortune of above $2.3 million from just nine jumps for seven wins and two placings. Both placings were second and Amelia’s Jewel was less than half a length out both times.
Her second in The Quokka at Ascot cost her, as the top spot in the $4 million dollar (now $5 million) race is $2 million, with second paying $600,000. The Quokka is a slot race similar to The Everest, but at an entry price just a third of what a slot in The Everest requires. Her win in the Group 1 Northerly Stakes supplied $830,000 worth of consolation.
We would expect to see this one testing her mettle in the east, but we could certainly appreciate her staying in the west, making nine more jumps, and retiring with $5 million in the bank.
There did not seem to be a video replay available, although we did learn that there is a Roma Turf Club in Queensland that stages its own Roma Cup, racing on dirt like the Yanks!
The other top race at the meeting is the Group 3 Gimcrack Stakes. The Roma Cup and the Gimcrack Stakes are accompanied by seven other races. The Listed grade Perth Stakes was the other better race of the meeting. The meeting, as of 2023, offers $900,000 in prize money spread across nine races.
History of the Roma Cup
The race was inaugurated in 1966 and other than sponsors attaching their names on the race, the only name for the race has been the Roma Cup.
From 1966 though the advent of the ARB’s Group grading system, the Roma Cup was graded as a Principal race. It jumped at Group 3 grade for the first time in 1980.
The first jump in 1966 was a trip of 1-1/4 miles, roughly 2,000 metres. The race shortened to 1 mile (1600 metres) for the next two years. It was actually given as seven furlongs (1400 metres) from 1969 through 1972.
Metrication put the race at 1400 metres in 1973 and 1600 metres in 1974. It was once again made into 1400 metres from 1975 – 1979, with the current trip of 1200 metres installed in 1980.
Belmont Park Racecourse in Perth was the original venue. The race shifted to Ascot in 2017, although it does appear as though it was back at Belmont for the 2022 edition.
Venue for the Roma Cup
Even though the Roma Cup has spent most of its jumps at Belmont, moving to Ascot in 2017 seems like a promotion of sorts and is the course we will claim as the venue.
In a way similar to how there is a Roma Cup in Queensland, there are Ascot racecourses in England and New Zealand, but the Ascot in Perth is the one that means the most to us.
For the record, there was once an Ascot Racecourse in Sydney that was shuttered in 1941.
Ascot Racecourse in Perth was opened in 1848 and these days find it as a modern track with good drainage and amenities. The circumference is just over 2000 metres and the course is an ovular triangle with three straights of varying length and three turns, each unique from the others.
Ascot offers three Group 1 races – the Kingston Town Classic, Railway Stakes and Winterbottom Stakes. There are six Group 2 races and nine Group 3 races as of 2023.
Of those 18 Group grade races, all except the Group 3 WA Champion Fillies Stakes and the WA Oaks (both 3YO filly races) are open gender races.
For 1200 metre races, the gallopers jump from the far side of the course, running the back straight, and then the home turn to the finish at the opposite side from the jump.
Racing History of the Roma Cup
We will be looking for Roma Cup winners that won at higher grade, both in Western Australia and any that tried eastern racing. We will also look for the better earners and breeders.
One thing the Roma Cup offers us is seven multiple winners. In this instance, it means winning twice, as none has won more times than two.
We will begin with those dual winners.
The Roma Cup jumped seven times before two wins were notched by Clear Mak in 1973 and 1974.
Clear Mak had New Zealand ancestry on the side of his dam, Very Clear. The lines of sire Polmak were entirely northern hemisphere.
This horse won the Belmont Sprint in addition to his two Roma Cup wins and we cannot determine if his lack of a progeny report was because of his not supplying any or if it was simply a case of the times and the location.
The years of 1980 – 1983 supplied four consecutive jumps with two winners.
The first was Tangiers in 1980 and 1981, followed by Wild Side in 1982 and 1983.
For Tangiers, we could not fail to mention that his granddam sire was Star Kingdom, but as a Western Australian racer, Tangiers did what was possible for a WA horse, which was to win the Roma Cup and the Belmont Sprint.
Wild Side, a mare, was similar to Clear Mak in that all southern hemisphere blood was confined to the lines of her dam Fairy Slipper. She left a form line of 26 jumps for 10 wins and 7 placings. She earned $135,000 and had a Group 2 win in the 1981 WATC Sires’ Produce Stakes. Her solitary foal did nothing memorable.
The next dual winner to come along was Doctor Golly in 1992 and 1993.
The name was certainly creative. It was a nice play on the names of sire Medical Man and the dam My Golly.
We learned that Doctor Golly was a gelding that made 68 jumps for 18 wins and 21 placings and that this racing earned $303,000. We counted nine stakes race wins, but Doctor Golly never raced beyond the borders of Western Australia.
A dual winner in 2009 and 2011, a gelding named Grand Nirvana won more than $1.1 million from 51 jumps for 10 wins and 15 placings. He was in the 2010 jump of the Roma Cup but was beaten into third by Vain Raider and Idyllic Prince. He finished third in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes won by Ortensia that won the Winterbottom Stakes in 2009 at Group 2 grade.
Luckygray crossed first in the Roma Cup in 2012 and 2015.
Those wins, with two intervening years, supplies a better assessment of WA racing than we could ever supply by our devices.
Luckygray was a good gelding, earning above $2.6 million from 33 jumps for 14 wins and four placings. He was in in the Roma Cup in 2014, placing third. He was not in the field in 2013 because he was at Caulfield and Flemington for four jumps without placing. He tried the Group 1 William Reid Stakes in 2013 at Moonee Valley, but the undeniable Black Caviar was not; she left Luckygray nearly five lengths back.
Luckygray won three times at Group 1 grade when he took out the Railway Stakes in 2011 and 2013 and the Kingston Town Classic in 2012. He very nearly added another Kingston Town Classic in 2013, running second less than half a length to the winner.
Finally, the most recent dual winner was Rock Magic in 2017 and 2018.
This gelded son of Redoute’s Choice put together a solid career of 63 jumps for 16 wins and 18 placings. That racing resume earned prize money of just over $1.7 million.
Rock Magic beat two-time Group 1 winner Scales Of Justice in the Group 3 Belmont Sprint of 2016, but he collected most of his prize money by consistent third place finishes in six of his stakes races.
With the dual winners covered, we will return to the beginning of the Roma Cup winners’ list to examine some names we found interesting.
The first winner of the Roma Cup was Summer Storm.
This New Zealand horse did not offer much by way of racing or breeding success and is notable only from the perspective of winning the very first Roma Cup.
The winners following Summer Storm up to Clear Mak in 1973 were unexceptional. There were six of them that had mediocre racing results and we found just one named foal for the entire group.
Super Red, the winner in 1976, was the first that showed any sort of breeding record of note. In this case, four fillies and three colts, but only one seems to have made money by racing, and that just $2,700 from 23 attempts.
A gelding named National Boy was the winner in 1979. His other good win that year was the Easter Quality Stakes and he was a dual winner of the Belmont Sprint in 1978 and 1979.
Official Receiver won in 1984.
His stakes wins include, along with the Roma Cup, the Belmont Newmarket Handicap in 1983.
He is the top foal-getter to this stage of all the horses and one mare we have examined to this stage. Twenty named foals to his credit, but only two winners that we could identify.
Novrak was a mare that won the Roma Cup in 1985.
She only supplied one foal and her racing was typical of a WA racer and it seems as though the Roma Cup was her one claim; we only mentioned her due to the paucity of mare Roma Cup winners we are seeing.
Hanging In was the 1986 winner with wins including the Group 3 1984 A J Scahill Stakes and the 1983 Winterbottom Stakes when that race was a Group 2 grade race.
Miss Muffet was the winner in 1988.
She was a daughter of Haulpak, sire of six Group 1 winning offspring.
Miss Muffet was one of the six with a Group 1 win in the Railway Stakes in 1986. She would be considered a disappointment at stud, given her servicing by top stallions such as Rubiton, Dehere and Corporate Raider.
Century God, the Roma Cup winner in 1990, was good enough to run third in the Group 1 VRC Newmarket Handicap, finishing behind the notables Shaftesbury Avenue and Redelva, some fast company. He won the 1990 Winterbottom Stakes when it was Group 2 grade.
Eleven wins and 26 placings from 72 jumps for $385,000 is the form line for the winner in 1994, the gelding Wabasso. He added wins in the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes in 1993 and the Group 3 Strickland Stakes that same year. He was second in the Roma Cup in his attempt in the Group 3 Strickland Stakes. He won the Goodwood Sprint twice.
Defensive Play, the winner in 1995 beat 1994 winner Wabasso into second place and beat 1992/93 winner Dr. Golly in the 1995 WATC Grandstand Cup.
In 1996, Red Eye Special won and beat some of the better locals during his career. He was one of the better sires we have seen from the Roma Cup winners’ list, including four that earned above $100,000, the best of which was the 2005 gelding Late Night Flight that won eight races and just under $320,000.
Singing The Blues, winner in 1997, supplied some excitement by winning the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield in 1998 from $17, but it helped that the short favourite, General Nediym was not racing to form that day.
A good Western Australia mare name Tribula was the 2003 winner.
She made 56 jumps for 14 wins and 7 placings for $511,000. Her stud output, five fillies and one colt, were inconsequential.
Modem, a gelding, won in 2004 while building a form line of 47 jumps for 13 wins and 13 placings for prize money just over $971,000.
Group 1 wins in the Railway Stakes and the WATC Fruit N Beg Stakes helped his line. He was in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes in 2005, finishing behind Regal Roller and Super Elegant.
The next in the short list of mares to win the Roma Cup was Avenida Madero in 2005 who was heavily tipped. She lost the 2005 Winterbottom Stakes to Miss Andretti, but there were many that finished behind that legendary sprinter.
She was the best foal producer of the lot to this stage.
Three fillies and six colts, nine in all, supplied five that won above $200,000 in a range from the $239,000 of Mankind to $798,000 for Graceful Girl, with Respondent hard on her with $709,000.
The list of mares grows by one courtesy of 2006 winner Is Amazing.
She was good by WA measures and she supplied eight foals, although none were great stakes getters.
The mare streak continues with 2007 winner No Questions.
She was not noteworthy, even by Group 3 Western Australia standards.
The 2008 winner was El Presidente, a gelding that compiled a short form line of 14 jumps for 10 wins and two placings for just over $1 million in prize money before being sent off due to injury. The Roma Cup was his last win, with only one more jump to follow. His big win was the Group 1 Railway Stakes in 2007.
A better mare with a distant connection to Star Kingdom, Power Princess won the Roma Cup in 2013.
She made 31 jumps for 12 wins and 9 placings for $844,000. She was third to Black Caviar in the 2012 Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes, well behind, of course.
Another mare, Magnifisio, was the winner in 2014.
She won more than $1.5 million thanks in large part to her Group 1 win in the 2014 Winterbottom Stakes.
The gelding Vital Silver won in 2019. He had second place finishes in Group 1 races, losing to Loving Gaby in the Manikato Stakes and Hey Doc in the Winterbottom Stakes.
The 2020 winner was the gelding Vega Magic.
By far the best to jump in the Roma Cup, Vega Magic earned above $4 million from 27 jumps for 14 wins and 4 placings.
When he won the 2017 Memsie Stakes, he beat Black Heart Bart and Tosen Stardom. Voodoo Lad was another of the better types beaten by Vega Magic. To win the 2017 Listed Regal Roller Stakes, he beat Brave Smash and Santa Ana Lane. His big payday came from running second to Redzel in the inaugural edition of The Everest.
The winners of the Roma Cup have been mostly unexceptional and Western Australia racing often seems as though the horses race each other over and over again, trading wins and placings at Belmont and Ascot.
A few have tasted better success, including winning above $1 million, racing effectively on the big eastern venues, or getting a few good foals, but for the most part, the winners have stayed in WA and were probably better served for it.
Roma Cup Past Winners
|1997||Singing The Blues|
|1996||Red Eye Special|
|1987||Beau's Your Uncle|