We’re intimately acquainted with Australia’s racing majors: the Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup, Melbourne Cup and Golden Slipper.
In recent years, enormous prizemoney and promotion has elevated The Everest to the top of many peoples’ minds when it comes to Australia’s best races.
But the feature race of the The Championships, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, is not a race that should be forgotten in this conversation.
Queen Elizabeth Stakes: The Championships
Before Racing NSW turned the bulk of their attention to new Spring races such as The Everest and the Golden Eagle, The Championships was the jewel in their crown.
They brought the concept together in the early-2010s, and naturally, they needed a big feature race as the signature event. The Group 1, 2000-metre weight-for-age Queen Elizabeth Stakes got the nod. Prizemoney was increased from $500,000 to $4 million in 2014.
But the Queen Elizabeth Stakes had a very long and proud history before this…
Queen Elizabeth Stakes: The History
The race has been through a variety of iterations over it’s long history, and became the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 1954 when Lizzie herself visited Royal Randwick. It replaced the AJC Plate (1874 – 1954), which was previously the Queen’s Plate (1851 – 1873).
Distance and conditions varied a lot over the nearly 170-year history of the event. It became the 2000-metre event in 1986 and has remained as such since.
Queen Elizabeth Stakes: Winx
In recent years, the Queen Elizabeth has been the autumn target of champion mare Winx, who has won the past three editions. The final race of her career was the 2019 event, before a capacity crowd, where she cruised to a 1.5 length victory at odds of $1.06.
She was even more impressive in 2018, winning the race by 3.8 lengths… at the juicy odds of $1.24! This win saw her equal Black Caviar’s record of 25 straight wins.
And her first win, in 2017… by an incredible 5.3 lengths.
Queen Elizabeth Stakes: More Joyous
Speaking of champion mares, the 2012 Queen Elizabeth was the stage for Gai Waterhouse’s More Joyous to cap an incredible autumn campaign. After winning the G2 Canterbury Stakes and the G1 Queen Of The Turf at Rosehill, More Joyous took out the G1 Doncaster Handicap at Randwick… and returned just seven days later to do this in the Queen Elizabeth.
Queen Elizabeth Stakes: Might And Power
The superstar front-runner’s exploits in Melbourne’s Spring Carnival majors are well-known, but his incredible performance in the 1998 Queen Elizabeth shouldn’t be forgotten.
Here, legendary caller John Tapp recalls Might And Power’s 10.5 length demolition job.
Queen Elizabeth Stakes: Tulloch
We go back a long way now and unfortunately, don’t have any footage on hand!
Only five horses have won the Queen Elizabeth Stakes three times. That list includes the mighty Tulloch, who won in 1958, 1960 and 1961.
Tulloch wins his third Queen Elizabeth Stakes, in 1961.
Queen Elizabeth Stakes: Phar Lap
We can’t go past this name, can we?
Big Red won the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (the the AJC Plate) in 1930. It was actually one of a lazy 18 races he won in 1930, including the VRC St Leger, the Chipping Norton, the AJC St Leger, the Chelmsford, the Hill Stakes, the AJC Spring Stakes, the Craven Plate, the Cox Plate, the Melbourne (Mackinnon) Stakes and the Melbourne Cup…