The Matron Stakes is a Group 3 race of 1600 metres for fillies and mares aged three and above racing under set weight plus penalty conditions held at Flemington Racecourse in March.
The prize pool for the race is $200,000 as of 2023, with the most recent winner, Sirileo Miss, received $120,000 and while the race could not be viewed as a boil over; she beat the two shorter-priced favourites by almost four lengths.
Matron Stakes Race Details
Race Distance: 1600m
Prize Money: $200,000
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When Is The Matron Stakes: 9/3/24
What Time Is The Matron Stakes: TBA
Where Is The Matron Stakes: Flemington Racecourse
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More Details About The Matron Stakes
In her next jump in the Group 2 Sunline Stakes at Moonee Valley, the bookies sent her out second favourite, only to watch her beat the touted Revolutionary Miss by over five lengths.
She is currently spelling after her epic fail in the Group 1 Queen of the Turf Stakes, where she finished 13th from a field of 16 despite jumping third shortest.
We were unable to find a decent replay of Sirileo Miss winning the Matron Stakes, even when we searched under the current race name, Schweppervescence Trophy.
She has yet to win at Group 1 grade, but she is one good jump away from earning above $1 million from a form line of 25 jumps for 9 wins and 6 placings.
The race, as of 2023, is run at a Flemington Autumn Carnival meeting headed by the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap. Other Group grade races on the day are A. V. Kewney and VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes – both Group 2 races. Three Group 3 races round out the card – the Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap, Matron Stakes and the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes.
History of the Matron Stakes
The Matron Stakes is a relative newcomer to the scene.
It was first run in 1994 and the name refers to Matrons in the sense of mature female gallopers. The better types will not be found in this race, as there are bigger autumn prizes to be had by the better three and four-year-old fillies and mares.
The one winner that prompted our “What was this racer doing in this race” question is the winner from 2011, Pinker Pinker.
As we often observe with Victorian races, the Matron Stakes has had multiple changes of distance and name.
The trip has varied by only minor amounts though, possibly having something to do with track and weather conditions.
The race has varied between odd-sounding trips, such as 1616 metres, 1623 metres, 1617 metres, 1635 metres and 1606 metres. The race jumps two races prior to the big feature, the Newmarket Handicap, so it is possible to speculate that concern for the turf might play a role in all the shifts in distance, but since the year 2000, the race has used a standard 1600-metre trip.
The race began in 1994 as a Listed grade race, and then became Group 3 in 2005.
The name used for the race was Matron Stakes from inception in 1994 through 2008. It was the Patinack Farm Stakes in 2009 and from 2001 forward, it has been the Schweppervescence Trophy.
But, the Schweppervescence Trophy used to refer to a race from 2006 – 2010 that is registered as the Frances Tressady Stakes.
Venue for the Matron Stakes
The race has always jumped at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, save for 2007 when Flemington was getting a freshen that found many races shifted to Caulfield. The Matron Stakes did not move to Caulfield, though, it went to Sandown, which to us gives some inkling into how the race is viewed by the VRC.
Flemington, from a distance, is viewed as the most famous racecourse in Australia, mainly for being the site of the Melbourne Cup.
Over the course of a year, Flemington hosts 14 Group 1, 9 Group 2 and 14 Group 3 races. Other important races are the Epsom Handicap, the Victoria Derby and the Australian Cup.
For 1600 metres races such as the Matron Stakes, the racers jump from barriers about midway down the back straight. They then run a long, sweeping turn that takes them onto the home straight to finish in front of the grandstands at the northwest side of the course.
Racing History of the Matron Stakes
The first winner was an interesting mare named Excited Angel. Unlike many fillies and mares that make 20-something jumps and then head for stud, she raced a good gelding’s worth, making 61 jumps for 12 wins and 16 placings for a dogged $811,000 in prizemoney.
Even after 10 jumps per year for six years, she supplied 13 named foals. Her best was a 1996 colt named Aquiver, by Danehill that won almost $500,000. Excited Angel’s sire list is a Who’s Who of Australian Thoroughbred blood. Excited Angel claims Lonhro, Commands, Octagonal, Exceed And Excel and others for her pairings.
It is hard for us to recall more mare racing and breeding stamina than that displayed by Excited Angel. It is not all that often we have seen this combination of racing and breeding longevity.
The next winner, 1995’s Aunty Mary, raced even more than Excited Angel, with 75 jumps for 11 wins and 11 placings, which earned her a bit above $540,000.
In her next jump after winning the Matron Stakes, she notched a second to Pharaoh in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile, but the majority of her jumps in better races often found her trailing. Her best win was the 1994 Group 2 Villiers Stakes.
Unlike Excited Angel, Aunty Mary had a stud career limited to five undistinguished foals.
The 1996 winner, Jadeva Belle was ordinary in all regards, leaving a form line of 30 jumps for 7 wins and 11 placings for just over $208,000. None of her three offspring amounted to anything, except of course, they were undoubtedly handsome horses.
French Resort won in 1997 and she jumped in the Matron Stakes as a mare with enough ability to have claimed the 1996 SAJC Adelaide Cup and she performed nicely in other staying races.
Like earlier winners, she was meant to race, making 42 jumps for 9 wins, 12 placings and over $500,000 in winnings.
After racing, she was served by good stallions, such as Catbird, Danehill Dancer, Snippets and Rory’s Jester. Five of her six foals earned money racing, with the best being 2006’s Chartreux by Catbird that won over $470,000 from just 19 jumps. Like his dam, Chartreux won a Group 1 race in Western Australia, the Western Australia Derby.
The Matron Stakes win by French Resort was over a mare named Miss Tesla that won the race in 1998.
She also raced extensively by mare standards, with 46 jumps for 9 wins and 20 placings for just above $411,000 in prizemoney.
Miss Tessla won the Matron Stakes going away, putting a margin of three lengths between herself and Baby Boomer.
She did have a win at Group 2 grade, but never at Group 1.
Miss Tessla was of New Zealand, so little wonder that when she turned to breeding, she was served twice by Zabeel, but none of those offspring or any of the others was impactful.
The 1999 winner was Noircir.
She was by a New Zealand sire, Bureaucracy, with distant lines to Star Kingdom. She made 43 jumps for 9 wins and 5 placings.
The Matron Stakes was still Listed grade, so we are not surprised to find many average winners, with form lines and earnings that almost seem like duplicates.
She won the Hardy Brothers Classic and the SAJC Sedgwick Classic, both Group 2 grade races.
She ran a respectable third in the 2000 Group 1 Coolmore Classic, just under two lengths behind Sunline.
Dance The Night was the winner in 2000 and the only mention we will make of her is her form line of 54 jumps for 10 wins and 10 placings, for just over $208,000 in prizemoney.
Lady Marion from 2001 is another that offers form eerily similar to the previous winners. She made 33 jumps for 8 wins and 4 placings for something above $400,000 in earnings.
This consistency of form makes it abundantly evident that the racers in the Matron Stakes were not the types with blue blood lines that would be sent to the sheds after 10 races with one or two Group 1 wins.
Lady Marion had some notables in her line on her dam’s side, most notably Marscay, Biscay and…Star Kingdom.
Lady Marion was served by the crème de la crème of sires, including Lonhro, Zabeel and three by Encosta De Lago, but nothing notable by way of racing achievements.
The 2002 winner was La Zoffany.
At this stage, we are willing to tell our readers to simply pick one of the form lines we have given for earlier Matron Stakes winners and use it for La Zoffany, and possibly for all the rest.
She was by a U.S. sire named Zoffany. Zoffany won Group 1 races in England and in the U.S., although in the land of the free, Group 1 races are referred to as Grade 1 races.
We are choosing to jump ahead to the 2011 winner, Pinker Pinker.
She is most definitely the answer to what was she doing in this race.
Unlike the previous winners, she was the real thing. She made just 18 jumps for 6 wins and 5 placings to amass over $2.6 million.
Her sire was Reset sired by Zabeel. Her dam Miss Marion at first had us thinking that she was the daughter of the 2001 Matron Stakes winner Lady Marion, but that proved to be wrong.
She won at Group 2 level, but her fame resides in her 2011 decisive win in the Cox Plate. Her second-last jump supplied a second place run in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes.
Pinker Pinker is listed as deceased. She died in the year following her Matron Stakes win as the result of a severe allergic reaction to an injection, so she did not have a chance to produce progeny.
The first multiple winner of the Matron Stakes appeared as the winner in 2013 and 2014, Bonaria.
She was a 2008 filly by Redoute’s Choice that made 44 jumps for 8 wins, 10 placings and just above $951,000 in earnings. He top win was the 2014 Group 1 Myer Classic near the end of her racing career.
The three barrier trials she turned in before her jump in the Matron Stakes must have been effective, because she won by 4.5 lengths. She backed the Matron Stakes win with a win in the 2015 Sunline Stakes at Moonee Valley, and then scored a third place finish in the Group 1 Queen of the Turf Stakes at Randwick.
Noble Protector tried the Matron Stakes again in 2016, but lost her rider. She then ran second in the Sunline Stakes and third in the Queen of the Turf.
The 2016 winner was Felicienne that left a form line of 18 jumps for 5 wins and 5 placings for just above $209,000.
The 2017 winner was Circular by Ireland’s legendary sire Street Cry.
She made 20 jumps for 5 wins and 8 placings for $285,000.
Circular returned her investment by supplying Cylinder, a 2020 colt by Exceed And Excel that has won above $1.1 million from six jumps for two wins and three placings. Much of his prizemoney came from his second place finish to Shinzo in the 2023 Golden Slipper Stakes.
His most recent jump, as of late April 2023, saw her unplaced in the Group 1 Sires’ Produce Stakes at Randwick.
The second and most recent dual winner of the Matron Stakes was the 2018 and 2019 winner, Spanish Reef.
She was one of the better winners, although prizemoney inflation perhaps makes her look better than she is, but she raced 42 times for 7 wins and 8 placings, much like earlier winners, and she managed to bring in $889,000.
Like other Matron Stakes winners, she won the Group 2 Sunline Stakes in her next jump, but also like others, she was well back when tried in the Group 1 Queen of the Turf Stakes.
She tried the Sunline Stakes again after winning her second Matron Stakes, where she place second, and then managed a much-improved fifth place in the Queen of the Turf.
The 2021 winner, Sovereign Award, was very similar to the rest of the winners. Her best wins other than the Matron Stakes were the Tesio Stakes and the Ladies’ Day Vase, both Group 3 races.
The 2022 winner was Flying Mascot.
She has compiled a form line of 17 jumps for 6 wins, five placings and a bit above $565,000 in prizemoney.
She has been beaten by better types, such as Shout The Bar and Probabeel, but no disgrace there.
The Matron Stakes will never be confused with the better class of races or the better class of racers, but we think it is nice for the merely handy types to have something to do.
We found a couple of Group 1 winners, but most of the wins by the winners of the Matron Stakes have been those races on the country and provincial tracks, rather than the big metro venues.
When we did find a Group 1 winner, it was invariably in races in South and Western Australia.
Likewise, only a few of the winners of the Matron Stakes produced much in the way of offspring, which makes the exploits of the first winner, Excited Angel, all the more appreciable.
Matron Stakes Past Winners
|2020||Paint The Town Two|
|2007||Like It Is|
|2000||Dance The Night|