The Caulfield Cup as a breed-shaper

As one of only two Group 1 2400-metre handicaps in Australia, the Caulfield Cup occupies an interesting place in the history of the country’s breeding and bloodstock industries.   

As we often do in this column, let’s kick off with a quiz question. Who is the most recent Caulfield Cup (Gr 1, 2400m) winner to then go on and be a Group 1-producing sire?

Before we answer that, it is worth considering that eight of the past 23 winners of the Caulfield Cup have gone on to careers at stud and just two of those ended up producing a top-flight winner of their own.

The answer is a bit of a tricky one, as the stallion, 2006 winner Tawqeet (Kingmambo), ended up plying his trade in the breeding barn in Argentina.

Carrying the Shadwell colours for a newly returned David Hayes, American-bred Tawqeet arrived in Australia in 2006 and broke through at Group 1 level in the other Group 1 2400 metre-handicap, The Metropolitan.

Two weeks later, he caused a minor upset to win the Caulfield Cup under Dwayne Dunn, becoming just the fourth horse to win both The Metropolitan and the Caulfield Cup in the same year, and the most recent. He never won another race, and in 2008 he was relocated to Argentina, where he stood at Los Aquacates.

From his South American base, he produced 125 winners, including six stakes winners. Among those horses were Holly Woman, the winner of the 2018 Gran Premio Maipu (Gr 1, 1000m) and Calcolatore, who won the 2017 Gran Premio Internacional Dardo Rocha (Gr 1, 2400m).

The other Caulfield Cup winner since 2000 to produce a Group 1 winner as a stallion is Elvstroem (Danehill) who has produced 352 winners from 622 runners, among them 13 stakes winners. His Group 1 winner was Emirates Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) victor Hucklebuck.

Elvstroem stopped serving in Australia in 2015, but continued his career in Europe until 2020. He has also produced 136 winners as a broodmare sire. His own dam Circles Of Gold (Marscay) was a runner-up in a Caulfield Cup, but we’ll have more on her later.

There are three further Caulfield Cup winners this century who have produced stakes winners as stallions, Diatribe (Brief Truce), Dunaden (Nicobar) and Mongolian Khan (Holy Roman Emperor); while fellow winners Best Solution (Kodiac), Boom Time (Flying Spur) and All The Good (Dieses) also progressed to the breeding barn.

Sire records of Caulfield Cup winners since 1950

Horse Year won Cup Runners Winners SW G1 winners
Best Solution 2018 17 6 0 0
Boom Time 2017 4 0 0 0
Mongolian Khan 2015 143 63 1 0
Dunaden 2012 65 17 1 0
All The Good 2008 22 4 0 0
Tawqeet 2006 173 125 6 2
Elvstroem 2004 622 352 13 1
Diatribe 2000 147 69 1 0
Fraar 1993 406 266 7 0
Hayai 1983 26 11 0 0
Mighty Kingdom 1979 128 70 2 0
Sobar 1972 69 39 1 1
Beer Street 1970 80 50 1 1
Bunratty Castle 1968 163 103 3 0
Tobin Bronze 1967 86 68 8 1
Sometime 1963 6 5 1 0
Even Stevens 1962 182 121 7 3
Summer Fair 1961 128 83 1 0
Tulloch 1957 112 72 2 1
My Hero 1953 61 41 1 1
Peshawar 1952 69 39 1 0


Stallions emerging from Caulfield Cup victories was quite rare in the 1990s and 1980s, with just one from each of those decades, Fraar (Topsider) (1993) and Hayai (Skyhawk) (1983). Fraar was the best of that pair at stud, with seven stakes winners.

You have to go back to the 1972 hero Sobar (Sobig) to find the last Caulfield Cup winner prior to Elvstroem to end up as a Group 1-producing sire. Among his 39 winners was WATC Derby (Gr 1, 2400m) victor Venus And Mars, while he was also the broodmare sire of Oakleigh Plate (Gr 1, 1100m) victor, Mookta.

The Tasmanian Beer Street (Lanesborough), the Caulfield Cup winner in 1970, was the sire of Stradbroke Handicap (Gr 1, 1350m) winner Watney, while 1967 winner Tobin Bronze (Arctic Explorer) pursued a stallion career in the United States, with eight stakes winners, including Grade 1 winner Trojan Bronze.

The other three Caulfield Cup winners since 1950 who produced Group 1 winners of their own as stallions are Even Stevens (Fair’s Fair) (1962), Tulloch (Khorassan) (1957) and My Hero (Neptune) (1953). All in all, there were 13 horses between 1950 and 2000 who won that race and then went on to stud, among them 1963 winner Sometime (Summertime), who ended up in Japan.

When it comes to Caulfield Cup-winning mares, we are dealing with an even more select number.  Only five mares have won the race in the past 30 years and only 14 since 1950. There is just one mare in this year’s race, Montefilia (Kermadec), who contests the Cup for the third time.

The most recent mare to win the race was Verry Elleegant (Zed) in 2020. Her breeding career commenced in Ireland this year, when she successfully got in foal to Sea The Stars (Cape Cross).

Jameka (Myboycharlie), the winner in 2016, has had one runner to the track to date, the metropolitan winner Sir Bailey (Impending), while Southern Speed (Southern Image), the victrix in 2011, was sold to Japan at the end of her racing career, from where she produced three winners.

Ethereal (Rhythm), who is the last horse to win the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup double in 2001, produced six winners from seven runners, including Listed winner Seraphim (Rip Van Winkle), and two stakes placed progeny. Group winners Supera (Savabeel) and Eleanora (Makfi) are out of Ethereal’s daughter Sopra Tutto (Van Nistelrooy), while Listed winner Ethereal Star is in turn out of Eleanora, furthering that legacy.

Arctic Scent (Blazing Sword) led home a mares’ quinella in the 1996 Caulfield Cup, but sadly was unable to produce a foal before her premature death.

In contrast, the horse she defeated that day, Circles Of Gold, left a huge legacy as a broodmare, not only as the dam of Elvstroem and Haradasun (Fusaichi Pegasus), but as the grandam of Group 1 winners Highland Reel (Galileo) and Cape Of Good Hope (Galileo), and the great grand dam of French Group 1 winner Angel Bleu (Dark Angel).

Mannerism (Amyntor) was the winner of a 1992 Caulfield Cup made famous by Shane Dye’s ride on runner-up Veandercross (Crossways). She left her mark as a broodmare with two Group winners, Dandify (Danehill) and Manner Hill (Danehill), while she is the great grand dam of two further stakes winners, Fituese (Deep Field) and this month’s Kalgoorlie Cup (Listed, 2300m) winner Be Optimistic (Blackfriars).

1991 Cup winner Let’s Elope (Nassipour) also produced a pair of stakes winners, Ustinov (Seeking The Gold) and Outback Joe (Elvstroem), while her grand-daughter Let’s Make A Deal (Red Ransom) and great-granddaughter Swat’s That (Shamus Award) are also group winners.

Imposera (Imposing), the victrix in 1988, didn’t produce a stakes winner, but is the most recent Caulfield Cup-winning mare to feature a Group 1 winner in her maternal descendants, that being her grandson Teranaba (Anabaa).

The 1976 winner How Now (In The Purple) has proven a highly influential presence in Australasian pedigrees, with Group 1-winning pair Racer’s Edge (Rory’s Jester) and True Steel (Jeune) among her female-line descendants along with nine further stakes winners.

Other mares who have won the race since 1950 and who have had multiple stakes-winning descendants are Leilani (Oncidium) (three), Analight (All A’Light) (four) and Regal Wench (Atout Maitre) (two), while 1942 winner Tranquil Star (Gay Lothario) still bobs up in the female line of stakes-winning pedigrees to this day.

Circles Of Gold is not the only future Group 1 producer to finish in the placings of the race. Rising Romance (Ekraar), the dam of Thousand Guineas winner Yearning (Snitzel), was runner-up in 2014, while Republic Lass (Canny Lad), third in 2002, produced Durban July (Gr 1, 1200m) winner The Conglomerate (Lonhro).

That 2002 edition also featured future Group 1 producer Prized Gem (Prized), whose son Nom Du Jeu (Montjeu) was runner-up in the 2008 Cup. If you go through the beaten brigade from the Caulfield Cup over the years you will find a host of future star broodmares, including Anamato (Redoute’s Choice), who finished 15th in 2007, and would of course go on to be the dam of nine-time Group 1 winner Anamoe (Street Boss).

Broodmare records of Caulfield Cup winners since 1950

Horse Year won Cup Foals Winners SW SW descendants
Verry Elleegant 2020 0 0 0 First service 2023
Jameka 2016 2 1 0 0
Southern Speed 2011 6 3 0 0
Ethereal 2001 9 6 1 4
Arctic Scent 1996 0 0 0 0
Mannerism 1992 12 10 2 4
Let’s Elope 1991 8 6 2 4
Imposera 1988 8 4 0 1
How Now 1976 4 3 1 11
Analight 1975 11 2 0 4
Leilani 1974 5 3 0 3
Swell Time 1973 5 4 0 0
Regal Wench 1959 10 8 1 1


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