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50th Running of Apollo Stakes

February 8, 2023

Memorable Racing Moments

Possibly named for the Apollo space missions of the time, the Apollo Stakes has its 50th running this year. Racing through Time looks back at some key moments from the history of the race.


The Apollo Stakes was not necessarily named for a horse or a person. Instead, it seems to reflect the concerns of the day, that is, the recent Apollo space missions. The race began in 1974 as an AJC race at Randwick and Warwick Farm, then shifted to Rosehill in 2006. It continues on the ATC form racing now in February. The first winner was Misty Ville (NZ) with Kevin Langby aboard. She came through by a neck from Princess Eulogy.

Winx racing in the Apollo Stakes, 2017, Bradley Photographers


The Apollo Stakes has had some exciting dual winners over its history. They include Juggler (1996, 1997) and Sunline (NZ) (2000, 2001). Winx became the first triple winner in the race, including the Apollo Stakes in her consecutive wins in 2016, 2017, and 2019. Her 2019 win made it 30 consecutive wins.

In 2002, Ha Ha winner of the Golden Slipper in the previous year became the only three-year-old filly to win the Apollo in this century.

Tuesday Joy (NZ) started in 2008 but was beaten into second by Racing To Win. In the next year, she raced into success with Blake Shinn on board. Hurried Choice and Gallant Tess filled the places




Hugh Bowman has the most wins of any jockey in the race. This was helped by the three wins of Winx. He has also won aboard Desert War (2007), Racing To Win (2008), Danleigh (2010), and Alizee (2020).

Dittman returning to scale aboard Naturalism after winning the AJC Derby, 1992, Bradley Photographers

L. Dittman has four wins, starting in 1979 aboard Scomeld. He had success again in 1985 with Red Anchor (NZ), and then in the 1990s he piloted Triscay (1991) and Naturalism (NZ) (1993) to success.

Other successful jockeys in the Apollo Stakes include Blake Shinn, Darren Beadman, Jim Cassidy, and Ron Quinton. Matthew Privato won as an apprentice aboard Key Dancer in 1990. Most recently, Rachel King became the first female jockey to win the race which she did aboard Colette in 2021.


In 2012, Rain Affair ridden by Corey Brown, was at the peak of his career, scoring his ninth win in succession when he led throughout and comfortably defeated Shoot Out and Danleigh in the Apollo at Rosehill.



Chris Waller has four wins in a row in the Apollo Stakes. As well as the success with Winx, he trained Endless Drama (IRE) to the win in 2018. Gai Waterhouse dominates in the Apollo with six wins. These started in 1995 when she won with Pharoah (NZ). Juggler gave her two wins in 1996 and 1997. Golden Slipper winner Ha Ha won the Apollo in 2002. Grand Armee (2005), Desert War (2007), and Tuesday Joy (2009) rounded out her success.

Les Bridge has one win in the race. With W. Harris in the saddle, Drawn took the race by half a head from Heat Of The Moment and Rising Prince in third.

Drawn winning the Apollo Stakes, 1986, C. J. Bickley & Son © Bradley Photographers


The Cummings family is well known in the winner’s circle. Bart Cummings added the Apollo Stakes to his successes first with Just Ideal in 1978 and again in 1989 with Beau Zam (NZ). James Cummings took the race in 2021 with Colette for Godolphin. His father Anthony Cummings also saddled up that year as the trainer of Prince Fawaz. He was aiming to become the longest-priced winner. The biggest blowout in the past was in 1990 when T. J. Smith and Matthew Privato won with 25/1 chance Key Dancer. Prince Fawaz was at $71 with TAB. It was a strong field with the likes of Kolding, Dreamforce, Colette, and Verry Elleegant. Prince Fawaz was a group 1 winner though had not shown much promise in recent trials. Though he started well he couldn’t hold off Colette and Kolding (NZ) and Verry Elleegant (NZ) from the Chris Waller stable.


Article written by Hannah Hibbert, ATC Archivist

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