The Golden Slipper and Ranvet Stakes

On Saturday the 23rd March the who’s who’s of the Australian racing industry will have their eyes fixed on Rosehill Racecourse for the running of the 2024 Golden Slipper Stakes, the richest Two-Year-Old race in the world, with life changing prize money of $5 million dollars. 

Whilst not as old as some of the other prestigious races on the yearly racing calendar, it has become the pinnacle for two year olds, the race where future stallions and broodmares are made, the race that everyone wants to win.  

It was 1957 when the first Golden Slipper was run. The winner that year was “Todman” (who still has a race named after him today). The Sydney Turf Club as it was at the time (1950s) wanted to add a new feature race to its Autumn Carnival, through the suggestion of one of its founding members George Ryder, the Golden Slipper was created, a race for two-year-olds under set weights.  

By 1979 the race had achieved Group 1 status and in 1986 the prize money reached $1 million dollars making it the first race in NSW to offer a prize money purse that big. That year the race was won by the mare “Bounding Away”, her trainer Tommy Smith became the first person to be the owner, trainer, and breeder of the race winner. Famously in the year 2000 when the classy mare “Belle Du Jour” was first past the post, her owner, racing identity John Singleton shouted free drinks at the bar, and in 2001 Gai Waterhouse become the first trainer to train all 3 place getters. Covid reared its ugly head in 2020 and whilst the race went ahead and “Farnan” was the winner, he was to do it without any fanfare or spectators to cheer him home.  

The record for the most wins by a trainer is held by Gai Waterhouse, who has 7 wins to her name. She currently sits just one win ahead of her father T.J.Smth who won the famous race 6 times. Following closely behind is the Freedman brothers with 5 wins between them, then Bart Cummings and Clarry Conners with 4 wins each. This year the Waterhouse and Bott Stable saddle up 6 runners, including unbeaten favourite “Storm Boy”, as well as an emergency, which could mean the stable runs a history equalling 7 horses in the golden race. 

The importance of the Golden Slipper Stakes cannot be overlooked, not just through the prize money on offer or the value of the horses competing, but for everyone who works in the industry. The race can enhance careers, make dreams come true and it doesn’t matter if you are the biggest breeding or training operation in the country, or a small provincial trainer or back yard breeder, everyone has a chance to be part of racing history.  

The Golden Slipper Day itself is one of a kind on the racing calendar, being the only day to host 5 Group 1’s at one track. One of these Groups 1’s being the $1million Ranvet Stakes.  

The history of the Ranvet Stakes goes all the way back to 1902 when the race was first run and won by a mare called Lady Grafton. Back then it was originally called the Rawson stakes, named after the Governor of NSW at the time Sir Harry Holdsworth Rawson. In 1991 the race was renamed the Ranvet Stakes and has remained unchanged since.  The Ranvet stakes is a 2000 metre race for horses aged 3-year-old and upwards, it is a Group 1 race run under weight for age conditions. Over the years the race has been run over varying distances and even once was staged at Canterbury racecourse but for most part it has remained at the 2000 metres.   

The Ranvet stakes is steeped in history and has been won by some of Australia’s greatest trainers, TJ Smith won the race an incredible 12 times, and his daughter Gai Waterhouse has won 7 times, together with many equine legends of the turf past and present which have saluted the judge in this famous race.  

We wish all the horses and connections safe racing and the best of luck for, what is arguably, the best day of racing in the country!  





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