Caulfield Stakes

The Caulfield Stakes is a $400 000 Group 1 weight for age race for horses aged three years or older. It is run over 2000m at Caulfield every October.

It is a significant lead up to both the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).

The quality of the race has dropped somewhat in recent years, with horses generally preferring the Turnbull Stakes. However, recent winners more than hold their own in the honour roll.

The race now known as the Caulfield Stakes was first run in 1886 as a 9 furlong (1800m) contest, won by Isonomy. In 1887, the distance increased to 10 furlongs (2000m). This was short-lived, though, as the race returned to 1800m in 1889, where it remained until 1967. Since 1968, the race has been run over 10 furlongs or 2000m.

Notable winners have included Wakeful (1901, 1902), Eurythmic (1920, 1921, 1922), Heroic (1925), Manfred (1926), Gothic (1928), Amounis (1930), Chatham (1933), Hall Mark (1934), Ajax (1938), Tranquil Star (1942), Bernborough (1946), Comic Court (1950), Rising Fast (1954), Redcraze (1956), Lord (1958, 1959, 1960), Sky High (1961, 1962), Winfreux (1965, 1966, 1967), Gunsynd (1972), Hyperno (1980), Kingston Town (1981, 1982), Bonecrusher (1986), Might and Power (1998), Northerly (2001), Lonhro (2002, 2003) and So You Think (2010).

In 2011, the reigning Caulfield Cup winner Descarado returned to form to defeat Avienus and Lights of Heaven, while 2012 saw eventual Cox Plate winner Ocean Park defeat Mackinnon Stakes winner Alcopop and Sincero.

Incredibly, there were three dead heats in the race in a 15 year period. The most famous of these was in 1960, when the judge couldn’t split Lord and Dhaulagiri. Lord was aiming for his third win in the Caulfield Stakes, but had to share the honours. In 1970, Arctic Symbol and Gay Poss hit the line locked together, while Zambari and Guest Star were deadlocked in 1975.
The Caulfield Stakes provides ballot exemption for the Caulfield Cup, with Douro Valley in 2008 the last horse to back up in the Caulfield Cup. Fourteen horses have done the double: Eurythmic (1920), Manfred (1926), Amounis (1930), Tranquil Star (1942), Columnist (1947), Peshawar (1952), Rising Fast (1954), Redcraze (1956), Sometime (1963), Gay Icarus (1971), How Now (1976), Mighty Kingdom (1979), Tristarc (1985) and Sydeston (1990).

Also, being two weeks before the Cox Plate over a similar trip and under the same conditions, it provides a perfect springboard. Thirteen horses have done the double: Young Idea (1936), Ajax (1938), Tranquil Star (1942), Amana (1943), Rising Fast (1954), Gunsynd (1972), Family of Man (1977), Kingston Town (1981, 1982), Bonecrusher (1986), Almaarad (1989), Might and Power (1998), Northerly (2001) and So You Think (2010).

Logically, horses come here from the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m), while other lead up races include the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) and the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m).