One of Australia’s greatest racing bitches, 1982 Futurity winner Promises Free, has had a profound influence on the National Futurity over the last 30 years. An influence that almost certainly is far greater than any other single broodbitch for a NSW Group-class event, and, possibly, outstripping any other race in the country. And her influence even extends to six of the eight finalists in the 2014 final.
The first National Futurity, took place in 1964 as the female complement to the National Derby, inaugurated the year before. Run over 580 yards (530 metres) on grass at Wentworth Park, the winner was Cultured Girl who scored in 31.6. The winner was a litter sister to the smart sprinter The Defiance, who was an unplaced finalist in the 1964 National Derby.
From 1964 to 1985 it was held over 530 metres on the grass Wentworth Park track. The 1986 and 1987 finals were run on grass over 457 metres at Harold Park. From 1988 to 1992 it was run over 520 metres on grass at Wentworth Park, then from 1993 until 2008 it was conducted over the same distance on the loam surface. Since 2009 it has been held on the loam over 515 metres at the Gardens.
When Is The Race Run
Since 2009 and the move to The Gardens, both the Futurity and Derby have been run on the same evening in February, although the 2014 final will take place on 31 January.
Biggest Winning Margins
Tiger’s Sunset (1988) and Midnight Capers (2012) both won by seven lengths, Holiday Belle (1996) by six and a half lengths, Fine Devil (1998) by five and a half lengths, Lissiloo (2003) by five and a quarter lengths, Turbo Top (1984) by five lengths
Closest Winning Margins
The closest finish, that I’m aware of, is the 1970 final won by Tidal Mist from box one, who scored by just half a head from Bokave, with Lucky Sprite just a half length away third. Gozo Nicoloa won by a short head from Rapid Strike in 1990. Promises Free (1982) won her Futurity from Winifred Bale by a head, while Nulkaba Lass (2004) and Lukeamy (2005) won theirs by a neck.
Most Successful Trainer/s
Victorian mentor Peter Giles trained 1999 winner Crystal Light and 2002 victor Hotshow Lil.
Three trainers have won the Futurity-Derby double in the same year: Geoff Watt in 1971 with Bomber’s Gift (Derby) and Top Saba; Allen Wheeler in 1974 with Steelflex (Derby) and Tintawin, and Christine Coleman with General Jeff (Derby) and
Only Dual Winner/s
Only Reserve/s To Win
The only two I’m aware of are Winifred Bale (second 1982, Won 1983) and Creative Whisky (third 2000, fifth 2001).
Some Beaten Stars
Bristol Miss (seventh, 1972), Roo Power (fifth, 1973), Kim’s Monaro (fourth, 1974), Mercia Bale (second, 1978), Winifred Bale (second, 1982), Gwendalyn Bale (third, 1983), National Lass (fourth, 1984), Miss Cruise (sixth, 1994), Rare Deceit (second, 1996), Byrneville Kara (fourth, 1997), Kedo’s Millie (sixth, 1997), November Miss (third, 1998), Fibba (fourth, 1998), Flash Joan (sixth, 2000), Hotshow Vintage (seventh, 2000), Floodfawn (third, 2001), Springtime Magic (eighth, 2001), Kumta Chase (second, 2003), Happy Hand (seventh, 2003), Edie Beauchamp (fourth, 2005), Nova Surf (third, 2009), Whirly Storm (sixth, 2009), Tonneli Bale (third, 2011), Zara Zulu (fourth, 2012), Desalle Bale (sixth, 2012), and Punch One Out (second, 2013).
The 1967 winner Pearl Moss was a litter sister to 1967 Derby winner Mister Moss.
Night Aim, winner in 1975, won her semi-final at 100/1 ($101.00), relegating 1974 victor Tintawin to third.
Tiger’s Sunset, from Queensland, the 1988 winner, took her career record to five wins from five starts when she scored.
Expensive Lee, the 1987 winner, traces back to Tidal Mist (1970 winner) on her sire’s side.
Incredibly, an amazing 15 winners of the Futurity have 1982 winner Promises Free in their pedigree. Nine, Just Jedda (1991), November Sunset (1992), National Night (1993), Mystery Idle (1994), Lissiloo (2003), Lukeamy (2005), Jinderra Flame (2006), Bralyn Maisie (2007), and Elite Oriental (2008) all trace back to Promises Free on their sire’s side. Six, Rare Missile (1997), Crystal Light (1999), Junoseque (2000), Hotshow Lil (2002), Daydream (2010) and Crystin Bale (2011), trace back to Promises Free on their dam’s side.
This is set to continue with six of the eight finalists all tracing back to Promises Free, most by way of those incredible sires Amerigo Man and Walkabout Sid. Cawbourne Rev, Cawbourne Cobra, Queen Esther, Ritza Hattie, Rue De Kahn, and Zipping Delta all have Promises Free on their dam’s side, with the first two having her on their sire line as well.