The race currently runs, as of 2022, as the Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes (HKJC Stakes) is officially registered as the Maybe Mahal Stakes and is run under the auspices of the Victorian Racing Club.
The race is a Group 3 race of 1400 metres held at Flemington Racecourse on Melbourne Cup Day.
Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes Race Details
Race Distance: 1400m
Prize Money: $200,000
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When Is The Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes: 5/11/24
What Time Is The Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes: TBA
Where Is The Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes: Flemington Racecourse
How To Live Stream The Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes
To live stream the Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes, TAB Account Holders can watch the race live.
More Details About The Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes
The running conditions for the race are set weights plus penalties and the race is contested by mares aged four years and above.
The prizemoney for the race is $200,000.
The winner in 2021, a mare named Rich Hips, also won the race in 2020 and she is the only repeat winner of the race since its inception in 2005.
We did discover that she was foaled in 2018 and the daughter of Written Tycoon out of She’s Curvaceous has made 26 jumps for 7 wins and 3 placings.
She fetched $130,000 at the Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale, so she seems like a bargain for her earnings of over $550,000.
We do know that she won the 2021 Group 3 Mannerism Stakes. The second win in the HKJC Stakes was her last.
History of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes
The race started out in 2005 as the Liberty Financial Plate. After the plate was awarded to Vintner in 2005, the name changed to the Liberty Financial Stakes for the races run in 2006 and 2007.
The race jumped as the Herald Sun Stakes from 2008 through 2012, with the race becoming the Lavaszza Short Black in 2013.
Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes was first used from 2014 through 2018. The 2019 version of the race was the Jim Beam Stakes and the name reverted to the Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes in 2020.
The officially registered name for the race is the Maybe Mahal Stakes and refers to a former Bart Cummings mare by that name by Maybe Lad out of Faithfully Yours. As we have come to expect from almost every good racer, Maybe Mahal has lines connecting her to Todman and Star Kingdom on her dam’s side, along with a distant connection to Italy’s Nearco, another of those horses whose blood seems to be rampant in Australian Thoroughbreds.
Maybe Mahal was the 1977/78 Australian Champion Racehorse. She won elite Group 1 races including the 1977 and 1978 Doomben 10,000, the Lightning Stakes in 1977 and 1978, the 1978 Newmarket Handicap and the 1978 Doncaster Handicap.
This would be the ideal spot for us to interject a fact about racing and the growth of prizemoney. Maybe Mahal earned $333,000 for her career. A galloper winning the Group 1 races she won nowadays would earn over $5 million from her Group 1 wins alone. The win in any one of the races would have almost doubled her career total. We would gladly exchange the Horse of the Year trophy for the money.
From inception through 2011, the HKJC Stakes was a Listed grade race that was elevated to Group 3 grade in 2012.
The race distance has always been 1400 metres, that tricky trip that is a stretch for the true sprinters and a challenge for some milers that might need extra track past 1400 metres.
Venue for the Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes
The race has always been run at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne.
Being on the same day as the Melbourne Cup, and in 2021 the race was held as the next race after the Melbourne Cup. This would lead us to suspect that not many race fans pay attention to the race after the day of preparation for the Race That Stops a nation leaves many people emotionally and physically depleted, which is a nice way of saying pissed.
Flemington is well known throughout the world as the venue for the Melbourne Cup. Over the course of a year, Flemington stages 9 Group 1, 9 Group 2 and 14 Group 3 races.
For a 1400-metre race such as the HKJC Stakes, the racers jump from a short chute on the south side of the course proper, run the wide, sweeping turn on the east side of the track, and then run the entire length of the home straight to finish in front of the stands.
Racing History of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes
These four-year-old and older mares’ races have a certain attraction for some racing fans. We think racing connections would appreciate a race for their older mares that have not yet transitioned to stud duty, but would benefit from a chance to gain a credential that might attract the best suitors.
As such, we do not expect to find any better than handy gallopers, but we will look at the list of winners to see which, if any, won better races or produced significant progeny.
The winner of the first HKJC Stakes in 2005 was Vintner.
Foaled in 2001, she was sired by the U.S.A.’s Hennessy out of Australia’s Dame Vintage. On her sire’s side, Vintner has lines to Storm Cat, Northern Dancer and Nearctic, Bold Ruler and Secretariat.
On her dam’s side, Vintner is linked to Danzero, Danehill, Danzig and Star Kingdom.
With those lines, the expectation would be to win every jump, but Vintner was barely average. Right after switching from Tony McEvoy to David Hayes as her trainer, she won the HJKC Stakes, but it was her last of four total wins and she earned only about $175,000 from 24 jumps.
She was served by top stallions, including Street Cry, Flying Spur, Lonhro and Animal Kingdom, but only Fitou, a filly by Street Cry, amounted to anything, winning over $240,000 with nothing above Listed grade to her credit.
Storm Signal was the winner of the second running in 2006.
She made 27 jumps for 8 wins and 6 placings and she managed to turn that into over $475,000 despite never winning above Group 3. Another of her wins was the Group 3 Cockram Stakes, but when line up in the Group 2 Salinger Stakes, she was the one for which they were waiting when all the others had crossed.
She supplied six named foals, but only a 2009 colt by Fastnet Rock named Destruction won any money, and that just $130,000.
Next came Juste Momente in 2007.
She was good, not great, winner of 6 races with 4 placings from 22 jumps for $566,000. After winning the race, she slumped to 12th in the Listed Summoned Stakes, but came from the back of the pack to win her next race, the Group 1 Sangster Stakes. She did line up for several other Group 1 races, but produced nothing higher than a fourth.
The 2008 winner, Neroli, was the best to date, based on her earnings of more than $772,000 from just 21 jumps for 7 wins and 4 placings.
In her prime, Neroli busted out some keen racing. Her win of the HKJC Stakes came at the end of three consecutive wins, the second of which was the Listed Angst Stakes at Randwick. Her next win after a barrier trial was the Group 3 Millie Fox Stakes at Rosehill, a fifth in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes at Rosehill.
She broke through for a Group 1 win in the 2009 Group 1 Queen of the Turf Stakes at Rosehill, and then a fifth in the Group 1 Doncaster Handicap.
Paired with the likes of Street Cry, Exceed And Excel and Shooting To Win, Neroli has supplied the winner Enfleurage by Exceed And Excel.
The 2009 winner, Strawberry Field, was one we would probably skip but for the facts that she was by Encosta De Lago and her win in the HKJC Stakes came at the expense of a much better racer named Ortensia. Ortensia was a multiple Group 1 winner that enjoys the distinction of having won the Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot in 2009 at Group 2, and then again in 2010 when the race had been promoted to Group 1.
She had service from all the top beaus, but seven named foals, three by Exceed And Excel and one each by Capitalist, More Than Ready, Redoute’s Choice and Snitzel, never produced anything other than modest earners.
We will here declare the omission of the 2010 winner, Jersey Lily, was deliberate, as she did nothing as a racer or as a breeder.
Repeat that last sentence, but this time, insert the name of the 2011 winner, Sophie's Spirit.
A mare with the nifty name Koonoomoo won the HKJC Stakes in 2012.
The first year the race ascended to Group 3 grade, Koonoomoo was good-not-great. She won more than $460,000, but she had 35 jumps in minor races to reach that level. Winning the HKJC was the high point of her career. She was not much of a breeder; she supplied five named foals, but unfortunately, none of them was named Son Of Koonoomoo or anything similar.
Plucky Belle, the 2013 winner, had enough class to win almost $750,000 from 26 jumps for 5 wins and 7 placings. It helped her bank that one of her wins was the 2015 Group 1 Coolmore Stud at Rosehill. She backed that with a 17th in the Doncaster Handicap and it was off to the sheds for her. She has supplied nothing of note and her window of opportunity may be narrowing.
Our 2014 winner, Mahara, was about average, if we are being generous. She won five races total and her zenith was winning the HKJC Stakes. One named foal by Redoute’s Choice in 2017 left no impact on racing.
The race went to Scarlet Billows in 2015.
She was a limited racer in terms of winning; just six minor wins, the best being at Group 3, from 30 jumps for 6 wins and 4 placings. She did have enough class to line up in Group 1 races, just not enough to win a Group 1 race.
Her colt named Gleneagles by Capitalist from 2018 was doing okay and he did fetch $500,000 at the Gold Coast Yearling Sale, but he is since deceased.
Artistry was the winner in 2016.
Typical of the mares that have won the race, she was handy to the degree that she earned more than $560,000 from 24 jumps for 8 wins and 5 placings. Following her win, she won again at Group 3 grade in the 2017 Maurice McCarten Stakes at Rosehill.
In 2017, the race went to Pedrena.
She was a winner of 6 races with 3 placings from 20 jumps. Her other notable win was the Group 3 Glenlogan Park Stakes at Doomben, which followed a start that found her thrown in the Group 1 types that produced a 12th place finish in the Group 1 Sangster Stakes.
The book is still open on her breeding career, but a filly from 2018 by Snitzel has failed to fire, with just one win from five jumps before she was retired.
Cool Passion from 2018 was one of the better winners of the race.
She won 11 times, with 10 placings, from 31 jumps for more than $800,000 in prizemoney. She had a win in the Group 3 Northwood Plume Stakes and in the race following the HKJC win, she won the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes at Sandown Hills.
She was sired by Not A Single Doubt out of Hiavanna, so her lines were impressive. She would have been aged seven when she had her two successive Group 3 wins in 2018.
She is retired, but has yet to foal.
Finally, there was Teleplay in 2019.
Now aged eight, she is by Written Tycoon out of Special Episode.
Just as was the case with Cool Passion, Teleplay won the HKJC Stakes and backed by winning the Kevin Heffernan Stakes. Teleplay does not have a stud record at this point.
There are races of very similar name to the Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes held in jurisdictions around the world and while we wanted to supply a link to watch the 2019 jump won by Teleplay, there did not seem to be one.
We were tempted to insert one of the other races, just to see if the bosses are awake at the wheel, but our cooler nature prevailed.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes is a race that follows the Melbourne Cup, so it is possible to say that no one has ever seen it. Certainly no one sober.
That said, if the Melbourne Cup is said to be the Race That Stops a Nation, we should say that the Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes is the Race That Starts the Nation Back Up.
Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes Past Winners