The William Reid Stakes is a $400 000 Group 1 weight for age race open to all horses. It is run over 1200m at Moonee Valley every March.
Named for William Reid, a Victorian banker who was a prominent racehorse owner of the early 1900’s, the William Reid Stakes was first run in 1925 when it was won by The Night Patrol. He won again in 1926.
The race has been run in different timeslots during summer and autumn over the years. For much of the 2000s, the race was run in mid-February, a bridge between the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1200m) and the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m). In 2011, it was moved to its new position in late March.
The move has cemented the link between the William Reid and the Newmarket Handicap, as can be seen the last two years. In 2011, the champion mare Black Caviar held off Crystal Lily – a repeat of the Newmarket – with Hinchinbrook third. And in 2012, the Newmarket trifecta ran the trifecta in the William Reid, with Newmarket third Foxwedge upsetting Hay List and Buffering, who had run 1-2 at Flemington.
While there have been some great winners of this race, none compares to Manikato, who won an incredible five editions of the William Reid Stakes between 1979 and 1983 – a feat which has not been matched in any other Group race in Australia. He also won the Freeway Stakes twice over the same track and distance and under the same conditions, with that race subsequently renamed the Manikato Stakes. However, when he won his five William Reids, the race was a Group 2. It was elevated to Group 1 status in 1986.
Among the other notable winners were Heroic (1927), Gothic (1929), Heros (1934, 1935), Tranquil Star (1946), Comic Court (1951), Flying Halo (1952, 1953, 1955), Golden Doubles (1957, 1958), Winfreux (1968), Dual Choice (1972), All Shot (1973, 1974), Toy Show (1977), Family of Man (1978), Vo Rogue (1988), Zeditave (1989), Hareeba (1995), Cape of Good Hope (2005), Miss Andretti (2007) and Apache Cat (2008, 2009).
From here, horses are likely to head to Sydney to contest the Group 1 T J Smith Stakes (1200m) before heading to Brisbane for races like the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) and the Group 1 Doomben 10 000.