The Group 3 Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap is an open handicap of 1400 metres for all genders held at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne during March. Only horses with at least one win are eligible to jump.
The prizemoney for the race, as of 2023, is $200,000.
Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap Race Details
Race Distance: 1400m
Prize Money: $200,000
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When Is The Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap: 9/3/24
What Time Is The Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap: TBA
Where Is The Shaftsbury Ave Hcp: Flemington Racecourse
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More Details About The Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap
The 2023 race was won by Scallopini, an eight-year-old gelding by Snitzel.
Scallopini won the race by nearly two lengths from Savannah Cloud. He started for $6 as the third favourite.
This was his most recent race, as of mid-April 2023.
Scallopini offers a form line of 41 jumps for 13 wins and 14 placings – good for over $1.3 million in prizemoney.
The autumn meeting for the Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap at Flemington is anchored by the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap, which is run under the same conditions, but is 200 metres shorter.
Other major races on the day are the A. V. Kewney Stakes for three-year-old fillies and the VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes for two-year-olds. Both of those races are Group 2 grade. There is one other Group grade race, the Group 3 Matron Stakes for fillies and mares aged three years and above.
History of the Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap
Shaftesbury Avenue was a 1986 colt by the U.S. sire Salieri from the British mare Lady Upstage. Not one drop of Oz blood did he have.
He died during preparation in 1994, but he had the impressive form line of 28 jumps for 13 wins and 8 placings. He won over $2.2 million by winning six Group 1 races, practically owning Super Impose for three of those Group 1 wins. For the record, Super Impose returned the favour in the 1990 Group 1 Doncaster Handicap. The two racers went head-to-head on eight occasions, with the tally being four-all. Super Impose seemed to be the better handicap racer, while Shaftesbury Avenue had the upper hoof in weight-for-age races.
Other good gallopers that saw the wrong end of Shaftesbury Avenue were Redelva, Sydeston, Stylish Century and his own half-brother, Prince Salieri.
The race debuted in 2001, but made no mention of Shaftesbury Avenue until 2019, when the running name for the race became The TAB Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap.
The race has had 10 names in all. Most of those names persisted for just one jump, so it is clear that the VRC will sell naming rights whenever convenient, which is as it should be.
The race debuted in 2001 at Listed grade and stayed there through 2007, suffering the ignominy of being reduced to an unlisted open handicap for the three jumps from 2008 – 2010. It clawed its way back to Listed graded in 2011 and became Group 3 in 2014.
The trip has always been 1400 metres and the race has always been staged at Flemington, with the lone exception being 2007 at Caulfield while Flemington was getting a facelift.
Venue for the Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap
Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria, is possibly the most well-known course outside of Australia. It regularly lures the best stayers in the world for the Melbourne Cup, the race that Stops A Nation that is held on the first Tuesday of November.
Racing at Flemington can claim to have started in 1840, when racehorse owners would use the alluvial flats of the Maribyrnong River to assess the mettle of their horses.
Flemington offers 14 Group 1, 9 Group 2 and 14 Group 3 races over the course of a year. Twenty-three of the 37 Group grade races jump during the spring racing carnivals.
Other major Group 1 races include the Australian Cup, Newmarket Handicap and the Victoria Derby.
Flemington is a roomy track, with a circumference of 2,312 metres and a home straight of 450 metres. It offers an asymmetrical oval shape with just two turns, one being the tightest of all metro tracks on the west side of the track, along with the long, continuous turn on the east side that links the back and home straights.
A unique feature is known as the “Straight Six,” a long chute on the north side of the track that permits sprint races of up to 1200 metres to be run without any turning required.
For a 1400 metre race such as the Shaftesbury Avenue, the barriers are placed just ahead of the big sweeping turn at east side, which constitutes about 1000-metres of the race. Then, it is on to the home straight to finish in front of the stands.
Racing History of the Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap
The racing history of the Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap represents something of a mixed bag for us.
One the one hand, the fact that the race was declassified for several years has impacted the quality of the fields presented. Combine that with the short span of years over which the race has jumped and there is even less to be seen.
The shiny side of the coin, though, is that since the race has jumped entirely in the 21st century, there will be good records for the winners in terms of racing resumes and in terms of progeny.
The first edition of the Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap was in 2001 and the winner was Sedation.
Sedation was an average gelding, with $530,000 from 67 jumps for 10 wins and 16 placings. He had a win in 1998 where he beat Mossman, a Group 1 winner and notable sire in the Listed grade Concept Sports Stakes. His first four wins were in Tasmania, with his first better win coming at Moonee Valley in 1998 in the Group 3 C.S. Hayes Stakes. In November of that year, he had a easy win in the Group 2 Sandown Guineas. After a few more jumps in the metro venues of the mainland, he returned to Tasmania and ran out his string with a sixth of eight finish in Hobart.
The 2002 winner was Tears Royal.
He won 9 races with 9 placings for about $350,000.
His beat and final win was the Group 2 Blamey Stakes in 2002. He raced many times on metro tracks and he was lined up in three Group 1 races, but not only did he not place in any of those, he was well back.
Tears Royal remained entire, but he did not leave a progeny record, as best we could determine.
Belle Ball of New Zealand was the first mare to win the race.
Her win in 2003 was her most significant and she made just two subsequent jumps without placing. Her modest form line of 29 jumps for 5 wins and 9 placings might explain her modest output as a breeder, where she dropped four colts and two fillies. Two were by the good racer and sire Elvstroem and two were by Bel Esprit, but only two ever earned money, and that was less than $40,000 combined.
A gelding by Keltrice named Cross Current won in 2004.
He made just 12 jumps, which inclines us to think that something took him off the turf. He did make the most of his racing, winning 3 and placing in 4. His other good win was the JRA Stakes at Flemington, which was at the time Listed grade. He failed to finish in his next and final jump in the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes, where he jumped second favourite.
A gelding with northern hemisphere lines named Youth was the 2005 winner of the Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap. He made just 17 jumps for 5 wins and 3 placings. His earnings were just a bit above $336,000.
He had tried the race in 2004, running second to Cross Current. He had a Group 3 win to his credit in the 2003 C. S. Hayes Stakes at Moonee Valley. Youth was served for the win in 2005, and then made three more jumps before calling time. He had a win in Caulfield in 2005 in the then Listed grade and now Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
A 2001 filly by the better sire Flying Spur named Sojustrememberthis was winner in 2006.
She made 14 jumps for 4 wins and 5 placings – just above $200,000 in prizemoney. At that time, the Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap was known as the Chubb Stakes and was still Listed Grade.
It was to be her best and last win; she tried three more races without placing. Her best claim as a racer, it might seem, was that she was withing 10 lengths of Miss Andretti in the Straight Six at Flemington in May of 2008.
She was fair as a breeder in the attempt to pass on some good racing DNA from Flying Spur, but even though she was courted by the likes of Encosta De Lago and Street Sense, none of her six named foals had notable impact on racing.
An entire named Recapitalize was the winner in 2007.
He made 41 jumps for 8 wins and 8 placings to earn over $540,000, with his best win coming in the Group 3 Gilgai Stakes in 2004. He made to Group 1 jumps, with the only result being a claim to having been beaten badly by Takeover Target and Fastnet Rock.
He had impressive northern hemisphere lines that included Nijinsky and Northern Dancer, though, but seven named foals remained anonymous as racers.
In 2008, when the race had lost its Listed status to jump as an unlisted open handicap, the winner was the New Zealand gelding Orange County.
He is the best to date in our examination of the history of the Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap, winner of above $844,000 from 43 jumps for 9 wins and 11 placings. By 2008, the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes enjoyed Group 1 status when Orange County won from the 2007 winner Bon Hoffa.
When Orange County tried to defend the Rupert Clarke win in 2009, he was 13th of 16.
The 2009 winner was Rockpecker, a gelding with a U.S. sire. That sire, though was Made Of Gold and he Australian connections in the bloodline, including Star Kingdom, so we at last have our obligatory mention of Ireland’s greatest sire.
Rockpecker’s best win was a Group 3 grade race and he left a form line of 72-9-8-7 for $645,000. It deserves mention that when he won the Shaftesbury, he nosed Whobegotyou.
Stillme, another gelding, won in 2009 leaving a form line of 26-7-5-3.
A gelding by Lonhro, Launay, was the winner in 2011 when the race had concluded its open handicap exile and had been reinstated to Listed grade.
By gelding standards, he was lightly raced – just 32 jumps for 8 wins and 9 placings for $614,000 in earnings. Lo and Behold! Rockpecker won the race for a second time in 2012 and Lo and Behold even more, Launay added a second Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap in 2013.
An actual entire horse, albeit it a U.S. product, was the 2014 winner Mouro. His form line was 22-7-8-0 for $540,000 in winnings.
His lines included the usual U.S. suspects, such as Mr. Prospector, Raise A native and native Dancer and U.S. Triple Crown winner Secretariat.
It was the year that the Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap was elevated to Group 3 grade. He beat the Group 1 winner Mourinho for the win, although at that time, Mourinho was not highly thought of, jumping for $101 to Mauro’s favourite $5.
A gelding by Snitzel, the 2015 winner was Amorino.
He left a form line of 37-10-2-2, good enough to earn $777,000.
The 2016 winner was a gelding named Red Bomber. He made 21 jumps for 11 wins and 3 placings to collect over $600,000. For reasons we will not attempt to fathom, he jumped in the Group 1 C. F. Orr Stakes in 2016, acting as field-filler.
The 2017 winner, a gelding with the odd name of He Or She, was one of the better winners of the race.
He made 43 jumps for 10 wins and 6 placings for $826,000, his best win coming in the 2016 Group 2 Blamey Stakes. He had respectable placings in two Group 1 races – the 2016 Makybe Diva Stakes and the Caulfield Stakes, finishing third in both. He ran second to Black Heart Bart in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes, beating Lucia Valentina into third and was the only galloper other than Black Heart Bart to take on Winx in the Caulfield Stakes.
Nozomi, a gelding by the formidable sire Street Cry, was the 2018 winner. The Shaftesbury Avenue Stake was his final win, with six additional jumps supplying one placing. It was a narrow win over the winner for 2019, Violate.
Violate was a gelding by Sebring that supplied a form line of 43-4-6-4, good enough for $511,000.
Blazejowski, the gelding by Dash For Cash, was the winner in 2020.
His form line of 33 jumps for 10 wins and 7 placings supplied $609,000 in prizemoney. The Shaftesbury was his best win; most of the rest were benchmark races.
He beat Morvada by about half a length and Morvada would return to win the race in 2021.
Morvada is a nine-year-old gelding by Mossman with his status given as active. He has raced twice in 2023, as recently as early April. His current form line is 65-9-13-10 for above $851,000.
He jumped in the race in 2022, running third in the edition won by Kissonallforcheeks.
Kissonallforcheeks is a mare by Written Tycoon out of Rosie Rocket. She is still racing and has thus far jumped 28 times for 10 wins and 10 placings. That resume has earned her $1.7 million. Her best win has been the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes. She has lined up in some Group 1 races, but her jump after the Shaftesbury win saw her stone motherless in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile.
She won the Shaftesbury by the margin of 2.25 lengths, beating 2021 winner Morvada into third.
Some concept of how the Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap is perceived is that we were unable to find a replay.
The Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap is an insignificant race, or so it would seem, judging by the winners.
There were a few that won at Group 1, but other than Kissonallforcheeks, none that won above $1 million.
Neither were there any notable breeders and it almost seems unfair that a great racer such as Shaftesbury Avenue would be saddled with this race as an honourarium.
Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap Past Winners
|2017||He Or She|