The Hobart Cup is a Group 3 race run over 2400 metres at Elwick Racecourse in Hobart, Tasmania. The race jumps in mid-February.
The race runs under handicap conditions and offers prizemoney of $250,000.
Hobart Cup Race Details
Race Distance: 2400m
Prize Money: $250,000
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When Is The Hobart Cup: 11/2/24
What Time Is The Hobart Cup: TBA
Where Is The Hobart Cup: Hobart Racecourse
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More Details About The Hobart Cup
A competent horse named Ho Ho Khan won the race in 2022 and he won it so handily that it could be argued that he raced a day earlier than the rest of the field, if it is not too hyperbolic to say his four-length victory was that easy.
Ho Ho Khan is credited with more than $1.75 million in earnings from 35 jumps for seven wins and six placings. He raced in Hong Kong, earning, to this stage, more than $7.8 million HKD (about $1.4 million AUD). He has made just three jumps on the mainland and much of his racing was in Tasmania and New Zealand.
The Hobart Cup is his most recent win, for which he earned $150,000.
As a staying race, it would be reasonable to expect some of the horses competing in the race to be aimed at the major staying events on the mainland.
Two Melbourne Cup winners have come out of the race. Those were Piping Lane in 1972 and The Assyrian, from way back in 1882.
In days past, the race jumped on the Australia Day holiday in January. It is now run as part of the Tasmanian Summer Racing Carnival.
A Listed grade race, the weight-for-age Thomas Lyons Stakes (1400 m) is run at the same meeting.
History of the Hobart Cup
The Hobart Cup was first run in 1875 and has continued through the present uninterrupted. Not even two World Wars and one Equine Influenza outbreak has prevented the Hobart Cup from being awarded to the fastest 2400-metre galloper on the day.* That asterisk in the above sentence is there because the trip for the Hobart Cup has varied. It was originally a 3200-metre race, but after three runnings, it was chopped to 2600 metres. It was first run as a 2400-metre race in 1886 and that trip persisted through 1972.
The odd distance of 2380 metres was used from 1973 – 1989. After spending 15 years at 2400 metres, the race was reduced to 2100 metres for 2005, and then stretched to 2200 metres for 2006 – 2012.
The current and hopefully permanent change back to 2400 metres came about in 2013.
The race grade has had several modifications.
The race was Principal grade from inception through 1979. It went off as a Group 3 grade race beginning in 1980. It was lifted to Group 2 in 2004, but by 2006, it was again a Group 3 race.
We rarely see race grades lowered, but it does happen.
Venue for the Hobart Cup
The official name of the track used for the Hobart Cup is Elwick Racecourse. It is located in the Hobart suburb of Glenorchy. Most simply refer to the track as Hobart Racecourse. The current sponsored name is Ladbrokes Park Elwick, something anyone at the race or watching the race would have any trouble discerning, as the Ladbrokes name is plastered on just about every flat surface to be found and also some curved surfaces, too.
The track opened in 1874.
It is egg-shaped, like some of the big metro tracks on the mainland.
The track has a circumference of 1990 metres, so for this 2400-metre staying race, the gallopers at the head of the home straight, pass the finish line, and then make one complete trip of Elwick’s circumference.
Racing History of the Hobart Cup
The racing history of the Hobart Cup is a long one.
Only a few of the winners have names that seem familiar. Nothing against Tasmania, but being located off the coast of Australia, seemingly within metres of Antarctica, is not the sort of destination we envision when we think about warm breezes and cold libations enjoyed at a race meeting.
There was a dead heat in 1920, with Nadir Shah and Trusty Blade sharing the Hobart Cup.
The first dual winner did not appear until Roonsleigh won the race in 1927 and 1928. The next dual winner was almost 30 years later, when Seriki was triumphant in 1955 and 1956. It was a shorter wait for Macdalla, the 1964/65 winner. Brallos won the race in 1976 and 1977. The last galloper to win the race twice was Geegee’s Blackflash that won in 2015 and 2012.
We will be examining the winners, but we will proceed back in time from most recent to the older races, as experience has demonstrated time after time that record keeping for Australian races from the 19th and most of the 20th century was not as detailed as we might hope.
As usual, we will be looking for the better winners that either won major races or made major contributions to racing bloodlines.
Double You Tee was the 2021 winner.
The now-eight-year-old gelding by Written Tycoon won nine races and nearly $840,000. Seven of his wins were minor Benchmark grade races. The Hobart Cup was by far his best win. He did race on the mainland and he was often well placed, even if it was only minor races.
The name of the 2020 winner was irresistible. No, that was not the name of the winner. That was Toorak Affair.
Our thought process was – Toorak Handicap, Toorak Affair. Most of our thought processes are short like that.
Toorak Affair was a mare by Toorak Toff. She won 14 races and placed in 8 to win about $490,000. The Hobart Cup was her best win and the now nine-year-old mare does not report a progeny record.
We found a better type in the 2015 winner, Geegees Blackflash.
This gelding was by Clangalang, a two-time Group 1 winner of the Australian Derby and the Epsom Handicap. Geegees Blackflash was not quite as good, but he managed to collect over $1.1 million in prizemoney from 69 jumps for 22 wins and 27 placings. Like many that came after him, Geegees Blackflash raced exclusively in Tasmania.
The 2014 winner, Epingle, was a mare by Pins, hence Snippets as the grandsire. On her dam’s side, Epingle has ties to Zabeel, Sir Tristam and other good northern hemisphere stallions.
She had 6 wins and 16 placings from 37 jumps. Her stakes totaled about $785,000. She raced on the mainland. Her win in the Hobart Cup was over 2015 winner Geegees Blackflash. She won at Group 3 grade at Gold Coast and she often booked Hugh Bowman to steer.
A better type to win the Hobart Cup was a gelding by Ireland’s Montjeu named Growl that won nearly $1 million from 36 jumps for 8 wins and 10 placings. He won at Flemington and Caulfield, including a Group 2 win in the Winning Edge Presentation Stakes at Caulfield. He hung around to try the Caulfield Cup next up, where his 13th place finish certainly rated him properly. His next try saw him running a distant second to Desert War in the Group 1 MacKinnon Stakes.
A gelding named Blutigeroo won the Hobart Cup in 2007.
He made 46 jumps for 12 wins and 7 placings, earning over $2 million.
His big win was the Group 1 BMW Stakes, where he beat Railings by a comfortable 1.3 lengths. This was during his best patch of racing, where he won a handicap at Caulfield, crossed the ditch to win the Hobart Cup, returned to run fifth in the Group 1 Australian Cup, and then the BMW. After a fifth in the 2007 Group 1 Sydney Cup, he did not win again until he moved back in grade and won the Listed Canberra Cup.
Blutigeroo tried the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, but he was far out of the placings.
In 2004, the winner was the gelding Zacielo.
We mention him primarily because he was sired by Zabeel.
Zacielo did get into some better races, but his only other significant win was the Group 3 Launceston Cup. When he did try some better races, his finishing position was more often than not determined by the number of gallopers in the field.
The 2002 winner, St. Andrews, preceded Zacielo in winning the Hobart Cup and the Launceston Cup in consecutive jumps.
We discovered a mare in the 1997 winner, Palos Verdes.
She had a French sire, but she did have ties to Biscay and Star Kingdom, thanks to her dam Raumancer.
Her racing returned just $344,000, but she gave the Thoroughbred racing industry a 2001 colt by Pins named El Segundo that won almost $4 million by winning the 2007 Cox Plate, 2005 Yalumba Stakes, 2006 Underwood Stakes and C F Orr Stakes, four Group 1 wins in all.
Palos Verdes had four other foals by Pins, but none seems to have made much impact.
We found a better gelding in 1993’s Frontier Boy.
He made 75 jumps, something that predisposes us to like him. He had 12 wins and 9 placings. He had a Group 2 win at Flemington in the St. Leger in 1990 and he won the Group 3 St. Leger at Morphettville in 1991. He won the 1991 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington when it was a Group 2 grade race. He tried the 1990 Melbourne Cup, but was so far behind Kingston Rule that it almost requires charity to say he was in the race.
We are to a point where record keeping was not as thorough as it now is, so we are going back to 1976 and 1977, the years Brallos won the race. His lines were predominantly British, but this gelding made little impact on the sport.
We have to spend at least some time with the 1972 winner, Piping Lane.
It was a good year for Piping Lane, 1972 was, as that was the year he won the Melbourne Cup and the Cox Stakes. He was $41 for the Melbourne Cup, so he must have made a few punters happy. Very few, though. He was a Tasmania native, so we suspect he was the best from the state, yet after those wins, the most he could fetch at sale was $6,000.
Piping Lane was just the third Tasmanian horse to win the Melbourne Cup; the other two were Malua (1884) and Sheet Anchor (1885).
Looking back further, we find the dual winner Macdalla.
He won the Hobart Cup in 1964 and 1965.
There was not much further that we could discover about Macdalla, other than he was a gelding and thus saved us for looking for progeny records.
The previous dual winner of the race was Seriki in 1955 and 1956.
Somewhat oddly, we could not find much about this horse. Yes, that was a long time ago and it was a Tassie race, but it would be natural to think that a galloper that won a major Tasmanian race would have left more evidence of its existence.
The first dual winner of the race was Roonsleigh in 1927 and 1928.
For history for this horse, simply read the above paragraph about Seriki.
We have to save some space for the 1883 winner, The Assyrian.
His win in the 1882 Melbourne Cup and his 1883 win in the Hobart Cup place him in the exclusive group of two horses, the other being Piping Lane, to win those two cups.
As we get further back in time, we see nothing that seems worth investigating, so we will conclude with the very first winner.
That was Ella in 1875.
This fine mare by Australia’s champion Yattendon had ties to some of the better lines from that time, with links to Sir Hercules and Emancipation, but the only other race with which we can credit her is the 1975 Launceston Cup.
Most of the Hobart Cup winners we examined were geldings that were raced, in many instances, until their legs fell off.
The good ones we found were The Assyrian, Piping Lane, Palos Verdes and Blutigeroo.
A staying race in Tasmania is not going to get any of the better racers to make the journey and only a few times did we find a Tasmanian horse that made truly significant impact on the mainland.
Hobart Cup Past Winners
|2022||Ho Ho Khan|
|2021||Double You Tee|
|2017||Count Da Vinci|
|2013||Hurdy Gurdy Man|
|2009||Gotta Keep Cool|
|2005||Our Dashing Dane|
|1991||Have A Heart|
|1971||Trial And Error|
|1934||Song Of Solomon|
|1884||King Of The Vale|