The Bobbie Lewis Quality is a Group 2 graded race hosted by the Victoria Racing Club in September of each year. The Bobbie Lewis Quality Handicap is run over a distance of 1200m at Flemington Racecourse with total prize money of $200,000.
The Bobbie Lewis Quality is run under handicap conditions and is open to horses that are four years and older. Like many sprint races held at Flemington Racecourse for the VRC the Bobbie Lewis takes place up from the Flemington straight giving a true test of speed.
History of The Bobbie Lewis Quality
The Bobbie Lewis Quality had its first running in 1974 where the inaugural race was won by a horse called Citadel.
Despite being launched as The Bobbie Lewis Quality the 1200m sprint race has been renamed multiple times due to sponsorship rights. The race has also been known as the Pat Lalor Quality in 1996, The Sebel Of Melbourne Quality 1200 in 1997 followed by the Gateway Suites Quality between 98 and 2000.
In 2001 the race was renamed the Bobbie Lewis Quality and raced under that banner until 2009 where the Hong Kong Jockey Club took over sponsorship and the race was known as the HKJC Stakes that year. In 2010 the race once again became the Bobbie Lewis Quality and has remained that to this day.
The grading for the Bobbie Lewis Quality has also changed over the years having originally been a Listed Race in 1974. The race was actually downgraded between 1979 and 1985 to a Principal Grade race before it was reinstated as a Group 3 in 1986 and upgraded to a Group 2 in 2015.
The Bobbie Lewis Quality is run on an action packed day of racing held at Flemington with i being one of 4 Group Races held on the same day. The Lewis Quality is run on the same day as the Makybe Diva Stakes, Danehill Stakes and the Let’s Elope Stakes.
Strong contenders in the race usually head for major races during the autumn racing carnival which include the Group 1 Emirates Stakes and Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes. It is also a lead up race for horses entering the Yallambee Stakes, Toorak Handicap, and Newmarket Handicap.
The Aurie's Star Handicap, held on the first day of the spring carnival is usually a warm up race for horses that gain acceptance in the Bobbie Lewis Quality.
Unlike some races in the Victorian region The Bobbie Lewis Quality has always been run at Flemington Racecourse where it’s first run in 1974 was witnessed by thousands of punters who were betting with TattsBet watched Citadel win the inaugural running.
Race Venue For The Bobbie Lewis Quality Handicap
Flemington Racecourse hosts the Bobbie Lewis Quality in September of Each Year.
Flemington Racecourse is over 180 years old with thoroughbred racing in the region first recorded back in 1840. The Flemington track is located on low alluvial flats next to the Maribyrnong River towards the south of Melbourne CBD.
The site of the racecourse comprises 1.27 square kilometres of Crown land which was originally leased to the Victorian Turf Club for horse racing in 1848.
In 1864 the Victorian Turf Club merged with the Victoria Racing Club and in 1871 the Victorian Racing Club Act was passed and gave the VRC legal control of Flemington Racecourse and provided them with a home for racing for the next 150 years.
Probably the most famous race held at Flemington Racecourse is the Melbourne Cup which is held the first Tuesday in November of each year. The first running of The Melbourne Cup was recorded in 1861.
To this day the Melbourne Cup stands as the richest handicap race as well as the richest 3200m race in the world with $8m available in Prize Money.
Probably one of the most famous aspects about Flemington Racecourse is it’s 1200m straight where runners are able to showcase their natural speed without having to face any turns or bends.
This straight is known as the Straight Six and can host racing between 1000m and 1200m. The Bobbie Lewis Quality is run over a distance of 1200m and starts from the maximum distance down the straight.
Previous Winners of The Bobbie Lewis Quality
The Bobbie Lewis Quality isn’t generally hasn’t been the main target for trainers and horses previously with most winners usually going on to contest the Newmarket Handicap, Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes or even the Toorak Handicap at Group 1 level.
As the race is therefore seen as a stepping stone race there have been many quality fields with great race horses competing and winning the Bobbie Lewis Quality before heading on to bigger targets.
A perfect example of this was in 2014 when the Grey Flash Chautauqua won his first Melbourne Metro title when winning the Bobbie Lewis Quality under the ride of Dylan Dunn for the Hawkes Racing Team.
Chautauqua would go on to become one of the greatest sprinting talents in recent years and would follow on from his Bobbie Lewis Quality win by winning the Gilgai Stakes and TJ Smith Stakes in the same season.
The mighty Grey would then go on to become a formidable force in Horse Racing winning a total of six Group One races and amassing over eight million dollars in prize money.
There have been many other notable winners of The Bobbie Lewis with the likes of Redkirk Warrior, the great Hareeba, Dothraki and Faatinah all winning editions of the 1200m contest at Flemington.
However there have also been two horses that have gone one better than most by winning the race and then returning the following year to repeat the feat.
The first was Bon Hoffa who won The Bobbie Lewis Quality in 2007. Carrying just 53kgs the then five year old was steered by Vlad Duric to victory for the Wendy Kelly stable. It was an impressive win for Bon Hoffa who went on to claim further black type titles through the season.
The Hoff would return in 2008 and once again take out The Lewis Quality when carrying 56kgs. It was an impressive win for Bon Hoffa who was able to navigate a path through the packed field and climb over the top of them late to win.
More recently and the second dual winner of The Bobby Lewis Quality was Zoutori who won the race in 2019 and returned in 2020 to regain his crown. The question he and trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra face is will they return and attempt to be the first three time winners of the race.
Conclusion of The Bobbie Lewis Quality
Overall The Bobbie Lewis Quality is never going to be any runner or trainer's main target however for the punter it does provide an excellent opportunity to see the best sprinters launching their spring campaigns.
Especially for punters the Bobbie Lewis gives a great opportunity to see talented runners compete down the Flemington Straight and establish clear formlines for the bigger races to come in Spring.
The Bobbie Lewis Quality is a great race that provides talented runners a great conduit to Spring and the chance for horse racing fans to understand where the key horses are during their preps.
|Year||Bobbie Lewis Quality Winners|
|2012||We're Gonna Rock|
|1995||Cut Up Rough|
|1981||Soldier Of Fortune|
|1979||Bit Of A Skite|