Background To The Maturity Classic

Background to the Maturity Classic

This is arguably the premier restricted age event held in Australia. Yes, superior to the National Derby and the Silver Chief Classic. Just a look through the honour roll of the winners is a walk through a parade of champions. Then you come to those who have failed to win the race, and once again the ‘gems’ just hurtle off the page.

Inaugural Running

The first Maturity Classic was run at Olympic Park on 23 March 1970 and fell to Phantom’s Heir who used box one to full advantage to run 30 5/16 and pick up $1,250. Phantom’s Heir had run second in the Australian Cup a month earlier and went on to win the Geelong Cup.

Distances

It has been contested over 560 yards (511 metres) at Olympic Park (1970-1996), at Sandown Park over 515 metres (1997-1998), 518 metres at The Meadows (1999-2001) and 525 metres since 2002.

When Is The Race Run

In 1970 it was March, then between 1971 and 1975 it was January. Between 1976 and 1981 it was either February or March. In 1982 there were two Maturity Classics finalized, the first in March (won by Wynlee Spirit) and the second in December (taken out by Rocky Pyramid). No race was held in 1983. From 1984 to 1986 the final was in April. Between 1987 and 1999 the final was concluded in either May or June. It was back to April in 2000, then March in 2001 and 2002, before May again became the preferred date from 2003 until 2009. Since 2010 the final has been run in July.

The mixing of the dates has not dented the popularity of the race; just made it harder for owners and trainers to remember when it takes place.

Only Reserves to Win

None.

Biggest Winning Margins

I don’t have full information for all the finals, but of those I am aware of the widest winning margin belongs to Temlee, who won by nine lengths in 1974 (from box one). Satan’s Legend won by six and three-quarter lengths in 1978, Best Of Blue by six lengths in 1989, and Hall’s Northern scored in 2003 by five and three-quarter lengths.

Closest Winning Margins

Executive Class won by just a head in 1992 and Overflow Love won by half a length in 1977.

Most Successful Trainers

Graeme Bate has won five times, with Storm Glade (1985), Hay Dinney (1988), Northern Legend (1995), Shereen Bale (2011), and Barcia Bale (2012). Peter Giles has won twice, with Acacia Dee (2000) and Paddy’s Flame (2008), as has Darren McDonald, with Brett Lee (2001) and Hallucinate (2004) and Jason Thompson, with Run’s House (2007) and Aston Trivett (2009).

Some Beaten Stars

Sylvan Prince (second 1974), Bristol Sue (eighth 1974), Shelley O’Reilly (second 1977), Mile Post (seventh 1977), Belabour Prince (third 1978), Dusty Pogress (unplaced 1978), Rod’s Advice (unplaced 1980), Takbe’s Talent (unplaced 1981), Superstar (second 1982), Eaglehawk Star (unplaced 1984), Freewheeler (second 1988), Hua (second 1989), Sandi’s Me Mum (unplaced 1989), Farmer George (unplaced 1989), Worth Backing (fourth 1992), Dallas Duo (fifth 1992), Big Ginger Boy (third 1995), Cattle Drive (second 1996), Paradise Street (seventh 1996), Chicago Blue (second 1997), Now Running (third 1997), Ringside Fire (fourth 1997), Solve The Puzzle (sixth 1998), Arvo’s Express (sixth 1999), Jack Junior (eighth 1999), Trewking (fourth 2001), Bombastic Shiraz (fourth 2003), Blackjack Tom (fifth 2003), Sun Hero (fourth 2004), Pure Octane (fourth 2005), Nova Surf (dead-heat second 2009), Dyna Forte (eighth 2009), Rewind (third 2011), Kilty Lad (fourth 2011), Dyna Nalin (second 2013) and Hawk alone (third 2013).

Additional Notes

For its first three editions (1970-1972 inclusive) the race was restricted to male greyhounds. Since 1973 it has been open to both males and females.

Graeme Bate trained first and second in 2011 (Shereen Bale and Stefan Bale) and first, second, and sixth in 2012 (Barcia Bale, Desalle Bale, and Dyna Filbert).

Temlee, the winner in 1974, went on to sire Satan’s Legend (1978) and Murchison Champ (1981) while New Tears, the winner in 1987, sired Northern Legend (1995) and Brett Lee, the 2001 victor, sired Hallucinate (2004).

The race has unearthed some tremendous future stayers: Rod’s Advice (unplaced 1980), Pharaoh’s Mask (Won 1986), Northern Legend (Won 1995), Paradise Street (seventh 1996), and Ringside Fire (fourth 1997) being the prime examples.

Past Winners

1970 Phantom’s Heir
1971 Linden Lad
1972 Nulla’s Call
1973 Shan’s Tempest
1974 Temlee
1975 Warranwood Girl
1976 Aaron King
1977 Overflow Love
1978 Satan’s Legend
1979 Marajax
1980 Worthy Weston
1981 Murchison Champ
1982 (1) Wynlee Spirit
1982 (2) Rocky Pyramid
1983 not held
1984 Broken Cup
1985 Storm Glade
1986 Pharaoh’s Mask
1987 New Tears
1988 Hay Dinney
1989 Best Of Blue
1990 Eureka Man
1991 Enfield
1992 Executive Class
1993 Keystone
1994 Refur
1995 Northern Legend
1996 Royal Honcho
1997 Running Gold
1998 Adrenalin Storm
1999 Coriole
2000 Acacia Dee
2001 Brett Lee
2002 Rocka Cockatoo
2003 Hall’s Northern
2004 Hallucinate
2005 Poetic Magic
2006 Train A Journey
2007 Run’s House
2008 Paddy’s Flame
2009 Aston Trivett
2010 El Grand Senor
2011 Shereen Bale
2012 Barcia Bale
2013 Marcus Joe