The 1200 metre Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes is for fillies and mares of any age that race under weight-for-age conditions at Morphettville Racecourse in Adelaide, South Australia in late April or early May.
Morphettville does things a bit differently in terms of prize money, so in 2023 the race was offering a prize pool of $502,250. The winner Ruthless Dame collected $275,675 for beating 13 competitors while jumping from the 12th barrier.
Robert Sangster Stakes Race Details
Race Distance: 1200m
Prize Money: $500,000
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When Is The Robert Sangster Stakes: 11/5/24
What Time Is The Robert Sangster Stakes: TBA
Where Is The Robert Sangster Stakes: Morphettville Racecourse
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More Details About The Robert Sangster Stakes
Now aged four, Ruthless Dame is a New Zealand daughter of Tavistock that has accumulated almost $1.2 million from 12 jumps for 3 wins and 3 placings. Her earnings received a hefty boost in late October when she took second in The Invitation at Randwick.
A Group 1 weight-for-age race typically involves age restrictions, so the Robert Sangster Stakes is a bit of an outlier in that regard, although it is not the only race that is open to all.
The race is now the main event at a meeting that offers two Group 2 races – the Queen of the South Stakes and the Tobin Bronze Stakes. The Group 3 D. C. McKay and the Listed grade Without Fear Stakes are included. There were five additional races at the 2023 meeting, a couple of Benchmark 64 handicaps and three handicaps.
The South Australian Jockey Club (SAJC) oversees the race and there was a time when the Group 1 Australasian Oaks was run at the same meeting, but no longer, as of recent times.
History of the Robert Sangster Stakes
The current race name pays homage to the late Robert Sangster. Sangster was the principal of Swettenham Stud whose contributions to racing resulted in the name Swettenham Stud Stakes being used from the race inception in 1983 through the year 2004. Robert Sangster died in 2004 and never saw his name above the barriers.
From 2010, various bookies claimed the naming rights, beginning with the Sportingbet Classic in 2010, the William Hill Classic in 2015, the Ubet Classic from 2016 - 2018 and from 2019 forward, the TAB Classic.
Most recently, it has been the Furphy Robert Sangster Stakes.
The race grade was Special for the first year of 1983. The next two jumps were at Listed grade and Group classification lasted from 1986 through 2003. It was Group 2 for 2004 and Group 1 beginning in 2005.
The race was staged in February until it was moved to the autumn due to the SAJC moving the Adelaide Cup Carnival.
The trip for the race has never varied from 1200 metres other than in 2002. That year, it was held at the now-shuttered Cheltenham Park and stretched to 1250 metres.
Trainers from Victoria and NSW will take their horses there to race, with big time trainers Lee Freedman winning three consecutive 2005 – 2007 and Mick Price spreading three wins out from 1998, 2004 and 2009.
Venue for the Robert Sangster Stakes
Located in the Adelaide suburb of the same name, Morphettville Racecourse opened in 1876. It now consists of two courses, the “course proper” and the secondary course is known as “The Parks.”
The main course is long and flat, with a circumference of 2307 metres with wide turns that are slightly cambered.
The track currently hosts four Group 1 races, all run during autumn racing. There are four Group 2 and nine Group 3 races. Just the Group 3 SAJC Spring Stakes is run in August or September.
The shape of the course somewhat resembles that of Flemington, with the exception that the one turn is not quite so severe.
A chute on the southeast side of the course offers a good straight run for the start of 1200 metre races. The gallopers make one turn and then hit the home straight to arrive at the finish line on the northwest side of the track.
Racing History of the Robert Sangster Stakes
The Robert Sangster Stakes is a newer race in terms of history when compared alongside the races from the mid-19th century.
We observe some better types on the list of winners, even before the race made it to Group 1 grade in 2005. The quality of the winners took a leap in 2005, beginning with Alinghi and continuing through Black Caviar (2012), Platelet (2013), Shoals (2018) and Snapdancer (2022).
Here is a closer look at the fillies and mares that have won the race. We will be looking for major race winners, high earners and dams that contributed to Australian Thoroughbred racing.
The winner of the first edition of the Robert Sangster Stakes in 1983 was Ranee’s Palace.
She was the product of New Zealand sire Rajah Sahib and British dam Palace Gate. We could not find a racing record for her, which probably says as much about South Australian racing as it does about her ability.
We found only two named foals – one unraced by Wolverton, a good Irish sire that won in France before shipping to New Zealand in 1981. Her other sire was the true notable Sir Tristam, another Irish stud of strong credentials and six Australian offspring that won anything from $1 million to $2.7 million, but that service did not supply any earnings.
The 1984 winner, Vatican Lass, could have used some divine intervention, but the only win we found for her was the Sangster Stakes and none of her three foals left any record of significant accomplishment.
In 1985, the last of two years where the race was Listed grade, the winner was Showport.
She was another with only the Sangster Stakes for a major win and her stud record was respectable at least, with five colts and two fillies. She was served by Luskin Star to supply Luskin Show, but the Luskin part was the only thing of note for this 1986 foal.
The winner in 1986, when the race was raised to Group 3 for the first time, was Lost Art.
She had racing results similar to those of the first three winners, but she attracted better stallions, such as Western Symphony (three foals), At Talaq, Danzatore, Rubiton and Canny Lad. Her eight foals accounted for nine wins, with four of the nine earning some money.
Judging by what we are finding to this stage of the Robert Sangster Stakes history, we are willing to risk missing something to have a look at the 1990 winner Leica Western.
Her sire was the Group 1 winner Best Western, with lines to Bletchingly and Biscay. She left a form line of 17 jumps for 7 wins and 4 placings for $172,000 – by far the best of the list to this stage.
All five of her progeny, three fillies and two colts, earned money by racing, with the best earning Leica Smile winning $222,000.
Apple Danish by Danehill was the Robert Sangster Stakes winner in 1997. We suppose it would be fair to call her handy for her 28 jumps for 5 wins and 9 placings for earnings of $350,000.
After racing, she was a frequent consort to Street Boss, supplying that good stallion with four foals. Her best was a 2004 gelding by Encosta De Lago, but her contribution was more a case of quantity, with 14 named foals, for which we could find a total of five wins.
The familiar name of Dantelah graced the winners list in 1999.
A New Zealand filly, her 33 jumps for 8 wins and 14 placings brought her earnings in just under $1 million. She was a Group 1 winner in 1999 in her next jump following the Sangster win. Following the Oakleigh Plate victory, she ran second in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington, so she was obviously a better type. She ran the metro tracks for the entirety of her career, except for a jump in New Zealand, another in Hong Kong and one in Dubai.
She supplied three foals to Zabeel and three to other sires, but there was nothing that surpassed her in terms of racing success.
Another better type, the 2001 winner Umaline posted a record time for the race. She never won above Group 2, but her line of 41 jumps for 5 wins and 10 placings was certainly respectable.
Her stud production consisted of five fillies and two colts. Two of those offspring earned above $150,000.
In the singular year when the race jumped at Group 2 grade, the winner was French Bid.
She made only nine jumps for four wins to earn $334,000. Line up for Group 1 races, the Australia Stakes and The Goodwood, she finished eighth of 10 and stone motherless in The Goodwood.
She was the supplier of eight named foals, five of which won races, a total of seven wins.
In 2005, the first year the Robert Sangster Stakes was a Group 1 race, the winner was Alinghi.
She was by Encosta De Lago and she needed just 16 jumps to record 10 wins and 5 placings to earn $3.4 million. Her first Group 1 win was the prestigious Blue Diamond Stakes in 2004, followed by her next, the 2004 Thousand Guineas. After winning the Sangster in 2005, she won the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap, leaving Fastnet Rock a length behind.
Her six foals by Snitzel, Redoute’s Choice, Hussonet and Deep Impact did not make even a shallow impact from racing.
Alinghi was the Australian Champion Three Year Old Filly in 2005. We should note that another reliable source put her line at 18 jumps for 11 wins and 5 placings for earnings of $4.1 million.
The following year, 2006, delivered Ellicorsam as the winner.
She was no Alinghi, but she managed to win $773,000 from 20 jumps for 10 wins and 2 placings. She won the Winterbottom Stakes in 2004 when the race was still Group 2 grade. The Robert Sangster Stakes was her second-last jump. She won easily, but in her last jump, The Goodwood, she failed to place, running 17th.
Of her five named foals, the best was a filly from 2013 by Testa Rossa named Ellicazoom that won $543,000.
Fifteen jumps for 5 wins and 3 placings represent the line for the New Zealand mare Universal Queen, winner in 2007. She earned $605,000.
Her six foals were nothing special, despite the services of Redoute’s Choice (three foals), Fastnet Rock, More Than Ready and Pierro.
The winner in 2009 was Bel Mer.
She had only the Sangster for a Group 1 win, but she supplied nine named foals, the best of which was a 2014 gelding named All Too Royal by All Too Hard that won eight races for $381,000.
The 2012 winner was Black Caviar.
All we will say of her here is that she made 25 jumps for 25 wins for just under $8 million. Much has been written and said by us and others.
Retired from racing following 2013, she has now supplied seven foals, but those seven combined have not won what Black Caviar won from one of her major wins.
The following year, 2013, the winner was Platelet.
She made 32 jumps for 10 wins and 14 placings to earn $1.3 million. She had a Group 1 win in The Goodwood in 2013 and was second in the Sangster and The Goodwood in 2014.
She has supplied four foals, the most recent in 2020, but none have enjoyed distinguished racing careers.
Jumping forward, we find the 2018 winner Shoals.
She needed just 15 jumps to post 7 wins and 5 placings for $2.5 million.
This daughter of Fastnet Rock added the 2017 Empire Rose Stakes and the 2018 Surround Stakes to her list of Group 1 wins.
None of her three foals, the most recent of which was in 2021, have done anything of note racing.
The next notable to win the Robert Sangster Stakes was Snapdancer in 2022.
Her sire was the notable Choisir.
Now retired, Snapdancer made 20 jumps for 7 wins and 7 placings to earn $2 million. Her other Group 1 win was the Memsie Stakes at Caulfield. In that race, she beat I’m Thunderstruck into second with Cascadian third.
She has yet to deliver any offspring.
The Robert Sangster Stakes has delivered some handy types until it achieved Group 1 status. It is difficult to imagine anything better than Black Caviar and she was in a class of her own.
As is often the case in racing, the better racers often do not turn into the better breeders, but such could be said of other species, where ability of one type or another seems to skip a generation, so it is quite possible that one or more of the offspring of the fillies and mares that won the Robert Sangster Stakes delivered some better racers.
She was second to Weekend Hussler in the 2007 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes, just to supply some gauge of her ability.
Robert Sangster Stakes Past Winners
|2015||Miracles Of Life|
|2003||Our Egyptian Raine|
|2000||Rain Dance Lady|
|1998||Spirit Of Love|
|1989||Tree Of Renown|