The Thousand Guineas is one of 30 Group 1 races set to take place during the course of the 2021/22 season and will jump in the afternoon of the 13th of October. This is everything that you need to know about the event.
The Details of the Race
The Thousand Guineas is a 1,600-metre race held under set weight conditions and is open only to fillies. Held at Caulfield on the same day as the Caulfield Guineas, it bears plenty of similarities to that race and is distinct only by virtue of the restrictions on gender.
The race was first held in 1946, the first year after the conclusion of the Second World War, and hasn’t missed a year since – though it has jumped around the calendar fairly regularly. Date aside, however, the race itself has undergone very little in the way of modification since it was first to run. Virtually the only change of any note was the adoption of the metric system in 1972 which saw the distance go from one mile to 1,600 meters (a reduction of a little under ten meters), while in 1979 it became a Group One after previously being listed as a Principal Race.
The prize pool for the race sits at $1 million as of 2021, putting it around mid-tier relative to other Group 1 races in Victoria. First place takes home a very handy $600,000 of that total.
Notable Winners of the Thousand Guineas
Horses competing in the Thousand Guineas are, at just three years old, still in the early stages of their careers, and a number of winners of the event have gone on to bigger and better things after taking it out. One of the earliest examples of this came in 1960 when Wenona Girl won in what would ultimately be one of 22 Principal races – of which 15 later became Group 1s – in a Hall of Fame career. Three years later, 1963 produced what may not have been the two most memorable winners of the race, but certainly one of the most memorable races itself when Heirloom and Anna Rose could not be split after the mile and were forced to share the spoils in a dead heat.
More recently, Alinghi took it out in 2004 in a season that would end with her being named the Australian Champion Three-Year-Old Filly, while a couple of years later the prodigiously talented Miss Finland won it in the same year that she won the Golden Slipper Stakes. Atlantic Jewel was a popular winner in 2011 in a short career which saw her win 10 of her 11 starts, while two years ago, Flit won by the barest of margins after starting a short-priced favorite.
This Year’s Event
It might not be the biggest race on what is a packed Victorian racing calendar, but the Thousand Guineas regularly dishes up quality fields and allows talented young fillies a chance to show their wares on the big stage. As it has since 2014, it will this year be run on the first day of the Caulfield Carnival – a subset of the broader Victorian Spring Racing Carnival – making it one of the earliest events in what is always a big few weeks of racing. And with so much talent likely taking to the Caulfield Racecourse, it could easily prove to be the race at which a future star is born.
How To Get The Most Out of Golden Eagle Day
The Golden Eagle race may have only been run twice in history, but with a $7.5 million prize pool, it has unsurprisingly become a momentous occasion very quickly. Tens of thousands of fans flock to Rosehill Gardens while many more watch on from home or elsewhere, and this is how to make the most of your day wherever you spend it.
For the Racegoers
Golden Eagle Day is the biggest race day in the western part of Sydney, and as a result, the Rosehill Racetrack puts on a suitably good show. There are pop-up bars and food trucks to enjoy, while the Spring Fashion Stakes competition also gives fashion lovers among the crowd (of which there are plenty) a chance to show their stuff.
As with virtually every event at the Spring Racing Carnival, the dress code is classy. This is not a time for jeans and sneakers – it’s one for fancy suits and fascinators. It’s time to dig deep into that wardrobe, or even part with a few hard-earned dollars to find an appropriate outfit for the day. Of course, in order to enjoy your day you want to be feeling good in what you’re wearing, so that’s objective number one, but you want to make sure that you make it through the gates as well.
With all the entertainment on offer, it’s hard not to have a good time at Golden Eagle Day, but make sure you capitalize on all of that entertainment as much as you can. Keep a keen eye on the races, of course, while you should also ensure you don’t miss out on the aforementioned array of quality food trucks and the various bars scattered around Rosehill.
For Those Staying Away from Rosehill
Don’t feel like getting all dressed up to watch the horses? Fair enough, and there are plenty of other ways to enjoy Golden Eagle Day, be that from the comfort of your own home or at another venue. If you fall into the former of those two categories, there are a number of ways you can make your experience even more enjoyable than it would be at the races themselves.
For starters, stock up on all of your favorite food and drinks – there’s no need to be limited by what’s on offer at Rosehill. Create as comfortable a set-up as possible in your living room, turn the TV up loud, invite a few friends around and enjoy the day your own way.
Alternatively, if you aren’t going to Rosehill there will no doubt be plenty of venues punters will flock to in order to watch on, whether you live in the middle of Sydney or somewhere a little less metropolitan. Heading to a pub or bar to watch the races is a great way to soak up some of the same atmospheres that you would get at the racetrack, and you don’t have to worry so much about what you’re wearing.
Golden Eagle Day has rapidly become one of the biggest days on Sydney’s racing calendar, and there is a whole range of ways in which you can enjoy it. Whether you’re heading to Rosehill or not, the above tips should help to ensure that you get as much out of the big day as possible, wherever it is you may be watching from.
166 Years Of Victoria Derby History
When the Victoria Derby was first held, the Victorian Gold Rush was in full swing, Charles Darwin was a few years away from positing his theory on evolution, and Abraham Lincoln was just beginning to rise to prominence in American politics. 166 years later it is still going strong and remains the premier staying race for three-year-olds in the country, so let’s take a look at the history of one of the biggest races in the country.
The Beginnings of the Victoria Derby
Rose of May was the first winner of the Victoria Derby back in 1855, beginning a trend of fillies winning in the early days of the event. A filly took out the first three incarnations of the event and continued to win fairly regularly until 1923 – though since then they have been in a drought which has now lasted nearly 100 years.
The Victoria Derby, which was initially run over 1.5 miles and listed as a Principal race, was won for the first time by the same horse in consecutive years in 1867 and 1868, a record which remains to this day – unsurprising given the race is for three-year-olds only. That horse, Fireworks, managed the rare feat due to a change in date which saw the race held on New Year’s Day in 1868 for the first time, meaning the winner qualified as a three-year-old on two occasions.
The race continued under the same conditions for many years, developing its reputation as a result of the quality of many of the winners. Briseis, a future Melbourne Cup winner, took it out in 1876, while 30 years later the famed Poseidon won it in the same year that he won both the Melbourne Cup and the Caulfield Cup. In 1929, the most famous horse of them all added his name to the list of winners when Phar Lap took it out, and by this stage, it was clear that this was one of the premier races in the nation.
The Victoria Derby becomes a Group 1
Having been listed as a Principal race for well over 100 years, the development of Group races saw the Victoria Derby become a Group 1 race in 1979 – to the surprise of no one given the quality of horses typically running in the event. The change came just six years after the race was extended to 2,500 meters as a result of the layout of the Flemington track, after having been either 1.5 miles or 2,400 meters for 117 years.
12 years later, Star of the Realm ran what remains the quickest time since that extension of 100 meters occurred, motoring home in 2:33.60. The brilliant Efficient has been among the numerous champion winners of this race in the years since, having taken it out in 2006, one year before he won the Melbourne Cup, but it was perhaps last year’s race which was the most memorable of them all.
From Football Coach to Champion Trainer
The 2020 Victoria Derby saw an incredible sporting story unfold when the Denis Pagan trained Johnny Get Angry was first past the post. Pagan, of course, was a long-time coach of AFL teams North Melbourne and Carlton, and he unexpectedly etched his names into the annals of horse racing when his relatively unfancied equine protege clicked his heels and scooted to victory.
It will be difficult for the 2021 edition of the event to compete with last year’s incredible result, but as we’ve seen over the course of 166 years, this race has a habit of turning heads. The next incarnation of one of the most iconic races in the country will take place on the 30th of October, three days before the Melbourne Cup, and if past history is anything to go by, the winner may well end up with victories at both events to his or her name.