The George Main Stakes is a $350 000 Group 1 weight for age race open to horses aged three years or older. It is run over 1600m at Randwick Racecourse every September.
Incredibly, it is the only Group 1 weight for age race over a mile in Australia during the spring – and there is only one other race under those conditions throughout the whole season, that being the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) in the autumn. The Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) is the autumn equivalent.
It is named after George Main, a thoroughbred breeder and sheep runner from Cootamundra who was the chairman of the Australian Jockey Club from 1937 to 1946.
The George Main Stakes was first run in 1945, when it was won by Modulation. It has been a Group 1 since the adoption of the Group system in Australia.
Notable winners have included Shannon (1946, 1947), San Domenico (1950), Wenona Girl (1963), Baguette (1971), Kingston Town (1981, 1982), Emancipation (1983), Vo Rogue (1989), Shaftesbury Avenue (1990), Shogun Lodge (1999), Lonhro (2003), Grand Armee (2004), Racing To Win (2006) and More Joyous (2010).
The legendary T J Smith prepared 11 winners of this race throughout his career.
In 2011, for the first time in its history, the race was run at Rosehill over 1500m due to concerns about the Queen Elizabeth II grandstand at Randwick – it was demolished later that year. That edition saw Sincero defeat Ilovethiscity and Triple Elegance.
The 2012 race saw Shoot Out lead home a quinella for Chris Waller with the warhorse Rangirangdoo second. 2011 Epsom Handicap winner Secret Admirer was third.
Most horses that run in the George Main Stakes come from the Group 3 Tramway Handicap (1400m), the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) or the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m).
This race tends to provide a stepping stone to the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m), which is run two weeks after the George Main. It is also a lead up race to some of Melbourne’s feature weight for age races, like the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) and ultimately the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).