Background To The National Distance Championship

This year’s National Distance Championship final, of course, holds especial interest in seeing whether champion all-distance bitch Xylia Allen can break Miata’s prize money winning record. No easy task, especially given that the race is a bit of a hoodoo for those who have previously been at the top of the prize money tree.

For example, Zoom Top, who held the prize money mantle between 1968 and 1974, ran third in her only Championship final, in 1969. Whip Tip, who held the record briefly in October 1988, ran second in that years’ final. Bold Trease, who held the record for just 24 hours in 1988, had run fifth in the 1986 final. The ‘hoodoo’, if that what it was, was broken when Miata took out the 2012 final.

Inaugural Running

The first event took place on 22 March 1969, over 790 yards (722 metres) at Wentworth Park. All eight finalists were from either NSW or Victoria and, in a roughly run race which saw local hope Diamond Au Go Go fall, Victorian stayer Amerigo Lady scored by two lengths from fellow Victorian Holding with Zoom Top third.

Tracks & Distances

Eleven tracks across six states have held the final with Angle Park and Wentworth Park hosting the ace seven times apiece.

Wentworth Park 1969 (722 metres), 1988, 1992, 1994, 1999, 2005, 2008 (720 metres)

Sandown Park 1970, 1980 (718 metres), 2001 (715 metres)

Hobart 1971 (674 metres), 1978 (730 metres), 1983 (725 metres), 2012 (709 metres)

Harold Park 1972, 1977 (732 metres)

Gabba 1973, 1975, 1986, 1991 (704 metres)

Angle Park 1974, 1976, 1982, 1989, 1997, 2003, 2010 (731 metres)

Olympic Park 1979, 1987, 1990, 1995 (732 metres)

Launceston 1981, 1985 (722 metres), 2000 (743 metres), 2006 (720 metres)

Cannington 1984, 1993 (740 metres), 1998 (700 metres), 2004, 2009 (715 metres)

Albion Park 1996, 2002, 2011 (710 metres)

The Meadows 2007, 2013 (725 metres)

When Is The Race Run

It was been held in February, March, April, or May until 1993. Then it was September or October until 2000. Since 2001 it has been in either August or September.

Biggest Winning Margins

Kobble Creek blitzed a field by 11 lengths in 1999, Just A Charm (1991) and Texas Gold (2005) both won by 10 lengths, Mary Marella won by eight and three quarter lengths in 1979, and Bolta’s Gift (1976) and Boomeroo (2002) won by seven lengths.

Closest Winning Margins

Pace Galore scored by just half a head in 1992, He’s Some Boy a head 1973, Clean Machine 1990, Sargood (1970), Bayroad Queen (1982), Mantra Lad (2008), and Dashing Corsair (2011) all won by a neck.

Most Successful Trainers

Jason Mackay with Classy Customer (2004) and Texas Gold (2005) and Ron Ball with Boronia Blossom (1995 & 1996) are the only two mentors with a double to their names.

Dual Winners

Boronia Blossom in 1995 and 1996.

Reserve Winners

None. Kippy Kya ran third to Flashing Floods in 2007 after replacing Cash Express.

Dual Finalists

Miram Miss (fourth 1969, unplaced 1970), Gaytilla (sixth 1974, third 1975), Kabisa Gem (fifth 1975, third 1976), Katie’s Disco (second 1979, unplaced 1980), Miss Coroneagh (third 1981, fourth 1982), Supreme Carmen (second 1984 & 1985), Tashla (third 1984, unplaced 1985), Julep (scratched 1988, Won 1989), Boronia Blossom (Won 1995 & 1996), Paradise Street (Won 1998, second 1999), Miss Brook (fourth 2006, second 2007), Fallen Zorro (third 2008, seventh 2009), Dashing Corsair (fourth 2010, Won 2011)

Beaten Stars

Zoom Top (third 1969), Ragsie (third 1972), Yodel High (third 1973), Ascapella Miss (second 1974), Kawati Boy (sixth 1978), Mercia Bale (unplaced 1980), National Lass (second 1986), Bold Trease (fifth 1986), Toni’s Comic (fifth 1987), Whip Tip (second 1988), Kirsty’s Charity (second 1990), Keon Star (third 1995), Northern Legend (third 1996), Shape Shifter (second 1997), Ringside Fire (seventh 1997), Dalalla (third 1999), Fine Horizon (sixth 2000), Irinka Barbie (second 2003), Royal Riddle (sixth 2006), Miss Grub (fourth 2007), Miagi (fifth 2008), Bobby Boucheau (fourth 2011), Irma Bale (second 2012), Bell Haven (fourth 2012), He Knows Uno (fifth 2012), Destiny Fireball (fourth 2013)

Notes

From its inception in 1969 and until 1976, a series of heats and quarter finals were usually held in NSW and Victoria, and later in Tasmania (1971) with the top point scorers coming to the host state for, usually, a pair of semi-finals. The eight top point scorers through these semi-finals would then go to make up the final field. In 1973, Queensland and South Australia were added to the contenders, with Western Australia included in 1976.

Since 1977, each state has conducted its own series and sent the winner to contest the final in the host state.

Tasmania is the only state yet to win a distance championship. So far, its best performers have been Old Hobbs and Summer Idol, second and third respectively in 1971, Coven Vista second 1977, Miss Coroneagh third 1981, Lygon Leader second 1983, Level Charm third 1985, Eskimo Chaveaux third 1987, Classic Xena second 2000, Go Johnny Go third 2001, Fallen Zorro third 2008, Sitka third 2010, Jethro third 2012, and Lashing Jill third 2013.

Corcoran (Angle Park 1974, 731 metres), Dusty Ginny (Hobart 1978, 730 metres), Boomeroo (Albion Park 2002, 710 metres), Texas Gold (Wentworth Park 2005, 720 metres), and Bothing (Launceston 2006, 720 metres) all set new track records in winning their respective finals.