The Group 1 SAJC South Australasian Oaks is a 2000 metre race for three-year-old fillies running under set weights conditions over 2000 metres during late April at Morphettville Racecourse in Adelaide.
In true South Australia Thoroughbred racing protocol, the prize money for the race is $502,250. We suppose that attracts better gallopers than an even $500,000 would attract.
Australasian Oaks Race Details
Race Distance: 2000m
Prize Money: $500,000
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When Is The Australasian Oaks: 4-5-24
What Time Is The Australasian Oaks: TBA
Where Is The Australasian Oaks: Morphettville Racecourse
How To Live Stream The Australasian Oaks
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More Details About The Australasian Oaks
A New Zealand filly named Affaire A Suivre won in 2023 and collected $275,225 by nosing She’s Fit. She jumped second favourite at $7.50, so racing punters had a lovely selection of good potential dividends.
Affaire A Suivre has not won or placed since winning the SAJC Oaks and her most recent jump in the Group 3 Coongy Cup resulted in a disappointing eighth. Her other wins were a maiden at Cranbourne and the Listed Port Adelaide Guineas.
There are races all over the place with “Oak/s” in the name. Randwick has the Australian Oaks as a Group 1 at Randwick at about the same time of year.
At any rate, typing either Australian or Australasian is cruel to our rheumatic fingers, so we will be trusting our readers to know about which race we are writing when we call it the SAJC Oaks. We might also take the liberty of referring to the race as the “Schweppes.”
The race is one of four Group 1 races held at Morphettville. The others are The Goodwood Sprint, the Robert Sangster Stakes and the South Australian Derby. The Robert Sangster Stakes, like the SAJC Oaks, is restricted to the distaff gender, except the race can be tried again beyond three years of age.
History of the SAJC Australasian Oaks
First run in 1982, the race officially known as the SAJC South Australasian Oaks has been referred to as the Schweppes Oaks since 2006, when the effervescent specialty company became a long-term sponsor.
In terms of Group 1 grading, the SAJC Oaks is a younger race. The inaugural running was subsequent to the adoption of the Group classification system and was a Group 3 race for the first year, ascending and remaining at Group 1 since 1983.
The official trip for the race is 2000 metres, but there can be minor variances depending upon the position of the rail. The longest of these was 2031 metres in 2005 and the shortest has been 2000, much as we would have liked a 1999 metre race, possibly in the year 1999. The 2004 race was 2024 metres and it would be entirely fitting to have the trip as 2024 m in 2024.
The only time the race ever jumped away from Morphettville was in 2000 when Victoria Park was called into service.
Bart Cummings and Lee Freedman each won the race four times.
Cummings prepared Royal Regatta (1983), Stapleton Lass (1989), Our Tristalight (1993) and Tristalove (1994).
Freedman delivered Miss Clipper (1986), Mannerism (1991), Gatherneaux (1992) and Grand Echezeaux (2000).
It is interesting to see how these two legendary trainers accounted for eight SAJC Oaks wins over a span of 18 years.
Both men had the sort of success that found them exerting an almost magnetic attraction to the connections with the better racers. We suspect that the winners trained by Cummings and Freedman were top liners during their racing careers and possibly at stud, so we will delve into each of the eight horses in just a bit.
Venue for the SAJC South Australasian Oaks
Other than 2000, Morphettville Racecourse in Adelaide, South Australia, is the only home the race has known, other than 2000, when it jumped at Victoria Park.
The course opened in 1876. The circumference is officially 2307 metres, a bit longer than Randwick in Sydney and claiming the longest finishing straight of any Australian metro racecourse.
The major racing at Morphettville takes place in the autumn, with all four Group 1 races jumping in April. The track offers four Group 2 and nine Group 3 races.
A 2000 metre race at Morphettville features a jump from a short chute that leads immediately into a turn, offering some advantage to inside barrier draws. A long straight leads into another turn that is connected to the home turn by another straight. From there, the home straight hits the finish line in front of the stands on the northwest side of the course.
Racing History of the SAJC Australasian Oaks
The first winner of the race was Rose Of Kingston.
She had an Italian sire and plenty of British and French blood on both sides of her table. Her dam was the Aussie mare Kingston Rose. Rose of Kingston came into the SAJC Oaks with big race experience, including a third in the 1981 Golden Slipper Stakes, a win in the Group 1 version of the Oaks in Victoria and the 1981 Group 1 Champagne Stakes.
Her win in the SAJC Oaks was the only year in which a winner could be credited with a Group 3 win. Her final Group 1 win was the 1982 AJC Derby, where she beat Our Planet into second with Gurner’s Lane third.
Her racing prowess earned her Australian Horse of the Year honours for 1982, as well as Australasian Champion 3-Year-Old Filly and Australasian Champion Older Mare.
She acquitted herself well at stud, supplying six colts and one filly. The best of the crop was Kingston Rule by the U.S. Triple Crown winner Secretariat. Kingston Rule needed only 18 jumps to win over $1.5 million. He won the Melbourne Cup in 1990 in record time.
In a slight departure from our usual compilation, we will begin by focusing on the SAJC Oaks winners trained by Bart Cummings and Lee Freeman.
Our intent is to compare them as racers and breeders and try to come to some semi-objective conclusion to rank the eight horses from best to worst.
We will switch from trainer to trainer in the chronological order of the wins, beginning with Bart Cumming’s Royal Regatta in 1983. Since the span of years is such that prize money comparisons would prove problematic, we will rely on form lines, big wins and better progeny.
Royal Regatta won in 1983, the first year the race was Group 1 grade, was trained by Bart Cummings.
She was New Zealand filly by an Irish sire. All of her sire’s lines were northern hemisphere, as were most of her dam’s, with the exception of the New Zealand mares and one or two Kiwi stallions.
She never won at Group 1, other than the SAJC Oaks, but she placed well in several major races. She was sent to race in the U.S. as a six-year-old and she raced for two years winning at the age of seven years.
She compiled a form line of 47 starts for 8 wins, 17 placings and $458,000 in prize money.
She supplied four foals, including the colt Mushtak by Zabeel in 1992 that won $405,000.
The next in the sequence is 1986 winner Miss Clipper, Lee Freedman’s first SAJC winning horse.
She was, like Royal Regatta, mostly northern hemisphere, but her southern hemisphere lines were Australian rather than New Zealandian.
Miss Clipper made just 14 jumps for 4 wins and 5 placings for $126,000.
Other than the SAJC Oaks, she won at Group 3 grade.
As a breeder, she supplied five colts and five fillies. She was served four times by Rubiton and one of those four won 10 races, but all her foals combined did not come level with the stud output of Royal Regatta.
Bart Cummings’ turn was next in 1989, when Stapleton Lass won the SAJC Oaks.
She was below Miss Clipper and Royal Regatta. We could not find a form line for her and that always suggests that winning a Group 1 race was pretty much a one-off sort of happening. Neither did we identify a progeny record, another indication of a one-hit wonder.
Lee Freedman may have had the top of the lot in the 1991 winner Mannerism.
She made 38 jumps for 13 wins and 8 placings for $1.8 million in prize money. She won four Group 1 races in all, with the 1992 Caufield Cup from Veandercross being her crowning glory. The remaining two Group 1 wins were the 1992 Futurity Stakes from Planet Ruler and the 1995 Show Day Cup from Black Rouge. She beat Redelva in the 1991 Group 2 J.F. Feehan Stakes.
She supplied 13 named foals – two by Danehill, two by Marscay, two by Redoute’s Choice, two by Last Tycoon, one by Zabeel, one by Fastnet Rock – in short, all the best stallions were lining up to suit Mannerism. Her best was the 1997 filly Dandify by Danehill that won over $750,000. Another Danehill offspring, this one the colt Manner Hill, won over $364,000.
Gatherneaux that won in 1992, was also a Lee Freedman prepared filly and tips.
Her good wins alongside the SAJC Oaks were the 1992 Group 3 Auraria Stakes and the 1992 W. H. Stocks Stakes, which is now a Group 2 race.
Gatherneaux’s win in the SAJC Oaks was over the three-time Group 1 winner My Brilliant Star.
Six named foals out of Gatherneaux by strong sires such as Snippets, Last Tycoon and Palace Music got six that won some money racing, including one that earned about $121,000 in Australia and another that won $4.1 million HKD.
The sixth on our list of eight Freedman or Cummings trained SAJC Oaks winners is the 1993 winner Our Tristalight. She was trained by Cummings. She had an additional Group 1 win when she won the South Australian Oaks in 1993, before that race was lowered to Group 2 in 2005 and Group 3 in 2007.
Her 25 jumps returned 6 wins and 4 placings for $452,000 NZD.
She was a good broodmare, supplying 10 foals, nine that won some money racing, with the top Australian earner Eagle Rhythm winning over $306,000.
She shared the Irish sire Sir Tristam with the 1994 SAJC Oaks winner Tristalove, trained by Cummings. Tristalove was the better racer of the two, with 26 jumps returning 11 wins and 5 placings for $790,000. Her other Group 1 win was the Sires’ Produce Stakes at Randwick, a feather-in-the-cap sort of win.
She was a breeder of good ability, with eight named foals, all winning money by racing. The top earner was the 2000 colt Kempinsky by Danehill that won over $703,000.
Finally, in 2000, the winner was the Freedman trained Grand Echezeaux.
She was a New Zealand filly by Zabeel that made 14 jumps for 4 wins and 5 placings for $540,000. She beat Group 1 Coolmore Classic winner Porto Roca in the SAJC Oaks.
After racing, she supplied seven colts and two fillies to stallions such as Redoute’s Choice Danehill, Pine and Encosta De Lago. Her best was the 2002 colt by Danehill named Darci Brahma that won over $1.2 million NZD.
Of those eight, there were none that were disappointing, but the top of the pack would have to be Mannerism. After her, the rest could more or less fit in the same pack.
As for the rest of the list of SAJC Oaks winners, there were some better types.
Imposera was the 1988 winner that won above $1.1 million with a big win in the 1988 Caulfield Cup. She supplied eight foals, but nothing notable.
The winner for 2007, Anamato, was another good one that won nearly $1 million. She was by Redoute’s Choice and after racing, she was served by Lonhro and other good sires. Her best was a 2018 colt by Street Boss named Anamoe that made 25 jumps for 14 wins and 8 placings to earn above $12.1 million. His seven Group 1 wins includes the 2022 Cox Plate. He beat Zaaki into third in the 2022 Group 1 Might and Power Stakes.
Egg Tart from 2017 was another better type that made 26 jumps for 7 wins and 7 placings to earn $1.3 million. She had another Group 1 win when she won the Queensland Oaks at Doomben.
For now, we conclude with the 2022 winner Glint Of Hope.
She is listed as Transferred with her last jump in Australia being the Group 3 Epona Stakes at Rosehill in March of 2023.
Her other win was a maiden at a country track.
The SAJC Australasian Oaks has delivered strong winners throughout it history. Many of the fillies won multiple Group 1 races and many supplied better offspring.
Australasian Oaks Past Winners
|Affaire A Suivre
|Glint Of Hope
|Lights Of Heaven
|Send Me An Angel
|Use The Space
|Rose Of Kingston