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The Mares of the Hill Stakes

In celebration of the 100th running of the Hill Stakes this Saturday, we take a look back at some of the legendary mares who dominated the race.

September 30, 2021

TAB Epsom Day this Saturday is Everest Carnival’s biggest day of racing, with three Group 1 races, and over $4 million in prizemoney.

But Saturday also marks a momentous occasion in our history – the 100th running of the Group 2 Hill Stakes.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF the hill stakes

The Hill Stakes was first run at Rosehill Gardens in 1921 under the auspices of the Rosehill Racecourse company, after Theodore John Marks (after whom the Theo Marks Stakes is named) took over Rosehill Gardens’ Chairmanship in 1919 and approved the addition of the Hill Stakes to the form. The race moved to Royal Randwick in 2012.

Despite its long history, only eight mares have won the Hill Stakes. In celebration of this milestone moment, we take a look back at the mares who conquered it.

THE ICONIC MARES OF THE HILL STAKES

Valicare with Jim Munro aboard, unknown photographer

1926 – Valicare

The first mare to win the Hill Stakes was Valicare in 1926. She had recently burst onto the racing scene, setting the turf talking by winning her first seven races including the Rawson Stakes, Doncaster Handicap and All Aged Stakes. Further wins in her career would include the AJC Oaks, Carrington Stakes and Warwick Farm Stakes.

She was owned by AJC Committeeman Pat Osborne and trained by Bayly Payten. Payten was the son of champion horse trainer, Tom Payten. Bayly would dominate the Sydney trainer’s premiership between 1940 and 1948. His horses included Siren, Katanga, Hadrian and Feminist.

 

Eternal Youth with Jean MacPherson, 1969, unknown photographer

1968 – Eternal Youth

The next notable mares to win the race was Eternal Youth who won the Hill Stakes in 1968. Though she had exciting breeding, sired by Todman and her dam from the Delville Wood line, her main Stakes win would be in the Hill Stakes.

She was ridden by Neville Voigt who apprenticed with Harry Plant. Voigt had his first winner in January 1962 and by the time he finished his apprenticeship in May 1965 he had ridden 120 winners and was Dux of the Apprentice School. As a senior jockey, he was consistently successful, however never won a jockey premiership.

 

Emancipation winning the All Aged Stakes, 1984, unknown photographer

1983 – Emancipation

In 1983, Emancipation crossed to win for the mares. Sired by Bletchingly through the Star Kingdom line, Emancipation had a successful racing career and continued to do well at stud. She won 19 races including the Doncaster Mile, George Main Stakes, Chipping Norton Stakes, Canterbury Stakes and the George Ryder Stakes (twice).

She became known for her battles on course with Sir Dapper. The rivalry built during 1984 when the pair met over a series of three races during autumn. Emancipation had the better of the matches, guided by Ron Quinton, leading jockey of the time.

 

Slight Chance racing in the Flight Stakes, 1992, unknown photographer

1994 – Slight Chance (NZ)

Slight Chance (NZ) took her moment in the Hill Stakes in 1994 to win another for the mares.

Trained by Bob Thomsen, Slight Chance won six Group 1 races during her career including the Flight Stakes, VRC Oaks and Queensland Oaks. She had run a game third behind Super Impose in the 1992 Cox Plate which had assembled one of the strongest fields.

At stud, she also had some success. Her first foal was by Danewin and named Salgado. Another called Dane Shadow by Danehill was a top class sprinter who would become the sire of many outstanding gallopers.

Gai Waterhouse at presentation of the Rosehill Guineas, 2001, Bradley Photographers

2001 – Mulan Princess (NZ)

Mulan Princess (NZ) was trained by Gai Waterhouse. Her win in the Hill Stakes in 2001 started a run of successes for Gai as horses she trained went on to win the race in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006.

The 2004 race was won by Natural Blitz, with So Assertive, trained by Gai coming in fourth.

Mulan Princess had other successes during her racing career including in the Premier’s Cup, the Newcastle Cameron Handicap and the P J Bell Handicap. At stud, she would be the dam of stakes winner Royal Descent who had wins in the Australian Oaks, Warwick Stakes and Adrian Knox Stakes.

 

Verry Elleegant in the Hill Stakes, 2019, Bradley Photographers

2019 – Verry Elleegant

The most recent mare to conquer the Hill Stakes was Verry Elleegant in 2019. Samadoubt had led all the way but in the last moments of the race Verry Elleegant nosed him out. It was a James McDonald, Chris Waller pairing to bring her back to form.

She had had Group 1 success in the Vinery Stud Stakes and the Heineken 3 Australian Oaks and would go on to win the TAB Chipping Norton Stakes, Ranvet Stakes, Kia Tancred Stakes and Winx Stakes. Verry Elleegant continues to take to the field and is aiming for the Horse of the Year accolade.

The other two winning mares were Riverina Charm in 1989 and Miss Marielle in 2009.

Who will take out the 100th running of the Yulong Hill Stakes this Saturday? View the full fields here, and tune into Channel 7, Sky Racing, or our live stream to catch this historical milestone.

Don’t forget to show us how you’re celebrating at home using the hashtag #FunOffTrack

Click here to read more about some other iconic winners of the Hill Stakes.

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