The Dulcify Stakes is a 1600 metre set weights plus penalties race for three-year-olds run by the Australian Turf Club in September or early October. It is held at Randwick as part of the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.
The Dulcify Stakes has been around for many years but was run as a handicap until the weight conditions were amended to set weights and penalties in 2019. The name was also changed from the Dulcify Quality to the Dulcify Stakes. In 2019 it was moved from Randwick to Rosehill, moved fom the end of September to the middle of September, and the distance was dropped from 1600m to 1500m. This followed an announcement in June 2018 by Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys that he wanted New South Wales to be recognised as the ‘sprinting capital of Australia.’
It is isn’t the first time the race distance has been changed. In 1988 it was held over 2000m and was won by Sakana. In 2001 it was run over 1600m then back to 2000m for two years them was run over 1600m again in 2004. From 2005 to 20 2010 it was held over 1800m then in 2011 and 2012 it was increased to 1900m. In 2013 it came back to 1600m until 2018, and in 2019 the further reduction to 1500m was made.
With the change in conditions and timing, the race now serves as a lead-up race for the Group 2 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) and $1 million Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m).
Who was Dulcify ?
Dulcify was foaled in New Zealand and had a good pedigree as he was sired by the Irish 2000 Guineas winner Decies out of Todman mare Sweet Candy, but because he was plain-looking with a parrot-mouth he was gelded early and spelled. He went on to win 10 of his 21 starts over a 14 month period in a brilliant racing career with the most tragic of endings.
Raced by Allan Maller and Bill Rigg, trainer Colin Hayes said he was the greatest horse he ever trained.
His first race was as a three-year-old in 1978 where he made an immediate impression by winning at Morphettville at odds of 300-1. Next he ran second in the SAJC Derby. There followed a brilliant season where he won the Victoria Derby, the AJC Derby, the STC Rosehill Guineas, and the VRC Australian Cup where he defeated reigning champions of the turf Manikato and Family of Man.
In 1979 as a four-year-old he won the Craiglee Stakes and Turnbull Stakes, then defeated a particularly strong field in the W.S. Cox Plate by a massive 7 lengths . A week later he also took out the Mackinnon Stakes. then was sent out 3-1 favourite in the 1979 Melbourne Cup. During the race he was galloped on and fractured his pelvis and had to be put down. The crowd was stunned and many left in tears in what was regarded as the saddest Melbourne Cup.
He was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2014.
Dulcify Stakes Facts
Last filly to win: Moqueen (2016)
Fastest time (1500m): Just Thinkin’ (2019) 1:29:42
Dulcify Stakes & Wakeful Stakes: Ambience (2015)
Dulcify Stakes & Spring Champion Stakes: Hampton Court (2014)
Leading trainers (since 1999): Gai Waterhouse with 4 wins (Just Thinkin’ 2019; Hampton Court 2014; Viking Legend 2009; Theseo 2006)
Interesting trivia: Race not held in 2007 due to equine influenza.
Past winners of the Dulcify Stakes
Winners of past Dulcify Stakes include Subzero (1991) who went on to win a Melbourne Cup.