The Horsham and Temora Cup finals, run over the last weekend, produced two fairly rare occurrences: a track record in the former (Crump), and an equal track record in the latter (My Kinda Music). These performances followed on from the track record set in the February final of the Healesville Cup (Frosty Jay Jay).
Considering the number of major race finals conducted around the nation every year, and the number of major races which have been part of the national calendar, in some cases, for decades, it is perhaps surprising more track marks are not lowered in these events. After all, they’re supposed to attract the best talent in the country, at least as far as most Group One events are concerned, and the racing surfaces are generally ‘tricked’ up to produce fast times. Yet very few new track records are set.
The following is a list of major races down through the decades where the winner has set new track figures. I cannot claim this list is exhaustive and would appreciate anyone letting me know if I’ve missed any track record run in a major race.
At Angle Park the sprint record has fallen in the Adelaide Cup twice: in 2000 and 2001. The first was by Jack Junior, who ran the 515 metres at Angle Park in 29.32; followed by the sensational Brett Lee who scored by six lengths in a scintillating 28.88.
The Angle Park record also fell in 1975 when Bristol Sue won the South Australian Sprint Championship.
The 731 metres record at Angle Park went in the 2002 West End Draught Championship, won by Fly On Bonnie in 42.56.
The 2005 Brisbane Cup at Albion Park fell to the speedster Pororoca who downed Go Forever by just over nine lengths in 29.66.
The Perth Cup has only seen one track record in a final, by Kilby Supreme in 2004 when the Victorian ran 30.12 for the 530 metres at Cannington while the longer trip has only fallen in a West Australian Galaxy, in 2004, when Winter won in 41.57.
The 530-metre record also fell in the 1997 West Australian Derby, to Prince Of Tigers, in 30.52.
The Sandown sprint record, then 513 metres, was annexed by the brilliant NSW bitch Odious in 1975 when she won the Laurels by 10 lengths in 30.34.
Despite its lengthy history, the only time a Melbourne Cup final has seen a track record was when Hua scored in 1988, running 30.01.
The Topgun, although not a major race final, has witnessed two track records, the first by Rapid Hiker in 1995 who defeated the mighty Tenthill Doll by four lengths in a new Sandown record run of 29.80, while the second was in 2004 when Whisky Assassin sped over the course in 29.40 to win by nine lengths.
The Hobart Thousand is currently into its ninth decade but only twice has the prevailing track record gone under in a final. The first time was in 1973 when Sue’s A Credit ran 29.3 over the 500 metres on the old TCA ground; the second was in 1981 when NSW star Black Aztec won by six lengths in 28.40 over 497 metres.
The biggest major race which has witnessed the most track records in its time is the National Distance Championship. First run in 1969, the final has seen records fall in 1974 (Corcoran at Angle Park), 1978 (Dusty Ginny in Hobart), 2002 (Boomeroo at Albion Park), 2005 (Texas Gold at Wentworth Park), and 2006 (Bothing in Launceston).
The National Sprint Championship, on the other hand, has borne witness to only two record runs: 1979, Acclaim Star at Cannington and 2006 Immortal Love at Launceston.
The Launceston Cup is the only major event to have had three records at the same course in finals run at three different distances. The first was in 1973 when Mountain Rock ran 29.9 to equal the track record for 502 metres; then in 2002 Jeanie’s Queen scored by seven lengths over 522 metres in 30.36, and in 2013 Xylia Allen won by just over seven lengths in 29.09 for 515 metres.
The Launceston record also fell in 2011 when Damek won the Tasmanian State final of the National Sprint Championship in 29.94.
The Wentworth Park 520 metre track record last fell in a major race final in 2011 when Noble Pedro took out the Christmas Gift by just over nine lengths in 29.43.
Previously, Worth Doing had run 29.74 in taking out the 1988 Vic Peters Memorial Classic.
The Vic Peters Memorial, when run over 500 yards (457 metres) at Harold Park, had borne witness to future super sire Black Top equalling the track record of 26.4 in the 1962 final.
Its ‘bad age’ equivalent, the Vic Peters Bi-Annual Classic (now the Peter Mosman Memorial) saw Victorian speedster Satan’s Legend run a new record of 25.95 in 1978.
The 732 metres record at Harold Park only fell once in a major race, in 1984 when Shy Julie ran 42.67 to win the Summer Cup.
The Summer Cup of 1987 saw Sonic Wave run 42.09 to set a new record for 720 metres at the remodelled Wentworth Park.
The Sydney Cup, run on grass over 790 yards (722 metres) on the old Wentworth Park course, saw the great Zoom Top run 43.2 in the 1968 final.
The next time the distance record fell in a final was in 1978 when Cherrie Sepol flew over the course in 42.50 to win the Metropolitan Cup by 10 lengths.
In 2005, now run on sand over 720 metres, Royal Riddle equalled the track record of 42.07 in the Sydney Cup final, while two years later Miagi won by just over nine lengths in 42.03 to set new figures in the same event.
The Sandown Cup has seen the distance record fall just twice, first in 2004 to Proven Lethal (42.12) and then in 2011 Bobby Boucheau blazed over the circuit in 41.57.
Sandown’s 715-metre record fell further later that same year when Lady Arko won the Victorian State final of the National Distance Championship in 41.55 (Bobby Boucheau was fourth).
The Meadows 725-metre record has fallen just twice in major finals, the first time was in 2005 when Malfoy ran 42.34 to take out the Gleeson and Tonta, the second occasion was in 2008 when Mantra Lad scored in 42.28 to win the Victorian State final of the National Distance Championship.
The same year, Fallen Zorro ran 42.43 to take the Launceston 720 metres track mark in the Tasmanian State final of the National Distance Championship.
Perhaps the longest gap between track records in a major final is the Devonport Cup, with King’s Idea scoring in 1953 in a record 24. 9/16ths and 29 years later Wynlee Wonder ran 24.79 to set new figures.
In 1974, the Autumn Trophy final over 511 metres at the now-defunct Olympic Park saw track specialist Temlee score by 11 lengths in 29.67.
Records have also fallen or been equalled in races like the Bendigo Stayers Cup (2006, Turbo Uno), Canberra Cup (2008, Borat), Cranbourne Cup (2006, Pororoca), Darwin Cup (2009, Queen Lauryn), Gawler Gold Cup (1996, Grand Illusion), Geelong Cup (1997, Power Zone), Grafton Black and White Whisky Cup (1971, Gemini Todd; 1972, Topini Fire), Greyhound Recorder Trophy (1971, Petite Panther), Horsham Cup (2004, Brumby Lad and, of course, Crump this year), Lismore Cup (2003, Bogie Leigh), Maitland Cup (2007, Run The Risk), Nowra Puppy Classic (2007, Mountain Of Love; 2013 Ritza Hattie), Richmond Derby (2006, Cool Mat), Tamworth Cup (1974, Opal Sid), The Schweppes (2007, Buttsie Bale), and the Tweed Heads Galaxy (1988, Yannick; 1999, Mint Magic).