Chipping Norton Stakes

The Chipping Norton Stakes is a $350 000 Group 1 weight for age race for horses aged three years or older. It is run over 1600m at Warwick Farm every March.

The race is occasionally run at Randwick if the Warwick Farm course is deemed unsuitable. However, it is a race which has its home at Warwick Farm, having been named after the neighbouring suburb of Chipping Norton.

First run in 1925, when it was won by Wallace Mortlake, it was initially run as a 10 furlong (2000m) contest. Upon the introduction of metric distances in 1972, it was increased to 2100m, before being reduced to 1600m in 1980.

When the graded system was introduced in the 1979-1980 season, it was initially run as a Group 2. However, it gained Group 1 status in 1986.

There have been numerous horses who have won more than one edition of the Chipping Norton Stakes – Lough Neagh (1933, 1936, 1937), Katanga (1944, 1945), Carbon Copy (1949, 1950), Carioca (1953, 1955), Tulloch (1958, 1960), Apollo Eleven (1973, 1975) and Super Impose (1991, 1992) among them. However, the undisputed king of the Chipping Norton Stakes is Tie The Knot, who won four of them between 1999 and 2002.

Other horses to have won the Chipping Norton Stakes include Amounis (1927), Phar Lap (1930), Rogilla (1935), Tranquil Star (1941), Bernborough (1946), Comic Court (1951), Delta (1952), Sky High (1962), Rain Lover (1969), Emancipation (1984), Our Waverley Star (1987), Octagonal (1997) and Lonhro (2003).

In 2011, the veteran Danleigh managed to fend off Centennial Park and Sacred Choice, while 2012 saw Shoot Out get the better of Danleigh with Trusting third.

2007 saw one of the more intriguing Chipping Nortons in recent years. Only five nominations were initially received for the race. Although these five were all Group 1 winners – Eremein, Desert War, Confectioner, Grand Zulu and Mentality – prizemoney paid down to eighth, so there were a number of late nominations. These included Waltham Cross, who ran in a Class 2 at Benalla prior to the Chipping Norton, Bay Princess, who was struggling in maidens at Bathurst and Quirindi, and Timuana, who had been well beaten in a Canterbury maiden the start before. Another late nomination was He’s No Pie Eater, a winner of the Wellington Boot who was first up. Incredibly, at $81, He’s No Pie Eater came home to beat Desert War and Mentality. He would win the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at his next start before tragically breaking a leg at trackwork.

The traditional lead up to the Chipping Norton Stakes is through the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) and the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m), while horses can also come from the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

From here, the most common paths are to the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) via the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) – or for the mares, through the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) and the Group 1 Queen of the Turf (1500m) – or to the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) through the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m).