The Coolmore Classic is a $600 000 Group 1 quality handicap for fillies and mares aged three years or older. It is run over 1500m at Rosehill every March.
First run in 1973, when it was won by Miss Personality, it became a Group 2 in 1980 before being upgraded to Group 1 level in 1984. It was the first feature at the highest level strictly for fillies and mares, outside of the classics for three year old fillies. There are now five on the calendar – the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m), the Group 1 Queen of the Turf (1500m), the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) and the Group 1 Winter Stakes (1400m).
It has had a number of names – the Fillies and Mares Classic, the NSW Thoroughbred Breeders Classic, the Marlboro Classic, the Rosemount Wines Classic, the Orlando Wines Classic, the Winfield Classic before finally becoming the Coolmore Classic in 1997.
Notable winners include Sheraco (1982), Emancipation (1984), Bounding Away (1987), Skating (1993), Assertive Lass (1997), Sunline (2000, 2002), Shamekha (2004), Tuesday Joy (2007), Typhoon Tracy (2009) and Alverta (2010).
In 2011, Aloha proved too good for Jersey Lily and Melito, while 2012 saw Ofcourseican fly home to defeat Secret Admirer and King’s Rose.
The Coolmore Classic tends to attract a big field, with the handicap conditions giving every mare their opportunity to get valuable black type for their pedigree page ahead of a stud career. As such, it can often throw up odd results, although classy mares tend to still prove superior.
Therre are numerous lead up races, such as the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m), the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m), the Group 3 Frances Tressady Stakes (1400m), the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) and the Listed Wiggle Quality (1400m).
It is commonly linked with the Queen of the Turf, run two weeks later under weight for age conditions. It is run over the same course and distance. However, only two horses have done the double – Favoured (1974) and Camino Rose (1999). The Queen of the Turf tends to attract a smaller field and thus is a different type of race.
Mares that run here are also likely to progress to the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) later in the autumn. Skating (1993) and Sunline (2002) are the only two Coolmore Classic winners to go on and win the Doncaster Mile the same year.