Hotham Handicap Race Information

The Hotham Handicap is a 2500 metre quality handicap race run by the Victorian Racing Club in late October or early November. It is held at Flemington as part of the Melbourne Cup Racing Carnival.

  • Race Type: Group 3
  • Distance: 2500 metres
  • Conditions: Quality handicap
  • Track: Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, Victoria
  • Prizemoney: $200,000
  • Date: Saturday 31 October 2020

Hotham Handicap Race History

See the 2020 Hotham Handicap Preview

This is a very important race for horses that are still trying to obtain a Melbourne Cup run, as it is the last chance to be exempt from the ballot. This means if the winner has nominated for the Melbourne they will gain automatic entry even if they were at the bottom of the order of entry. It also means they will only have a three day break between runs.

The race has a long history as it was first run in 1869 as a Principal Race over 1.5 miles (about 2400m) when it was won by a horse called Aurora. In 1972 it became the current distance of 2500m. In 1979 it became a Group 3 race and the name was changed from the Hotham Handicap to The Dalgety, then in 1981 it was upgraded to a Group 2 race. It had many name changes – Crown Quality (1994-1995), Ten News Stakes (1996), Lean Cuisine Quality (1997). Saab Quality (1998-2008), Lexus Stakes (2009-2018) and Lexus Hotham Handicap (from 2019) recognising its original name. In 2005 it was downgraded to the current Group 3 status.

In recent years the international horses have gone well in this race as they try and boost their Melbourne Cup hopes. It is held on Victoria Derby day where all nine races are Group races. The headline race is the Group 1 Victoria Derby but there are three other Group 1 races – the Coolmore Stud Stakes, the Kennedy Cantala Stakes and the Empire Rose Stakes, two Group 2 races – the Wakeful Stakes and the Linlithgow Stakes, and two other Group 3 races – the Carbine Club Stakes and the Begonia Belle Stakes.

Lead-up races include the Geelong Cup, ATC ST Leger Stakes, Moonee Valley Gold Cup, The Bart Cummings and races like the Cranbourne Cup.

Useful Facts

Last mare to win: Pindi (1994)

Last 3YO to win: C&G – Metford (1897); Filly – no filly has won

Multiple winners: Chagemar (1983 & 1984), Dark Felt (1942 & 1943).

Fastest time (2500m): Coshking (1989) 2:33:3

Hotham Handicap & Melbourne Cup: Shocking (2009), Brew (2000), Think Big (1974), Baystone (1958), Foxzami (1949), Sirius (1944), Dark Felt (1943), White Nose (1941), King Ingoda (1922).

Interesting trivia: In 1956 there was a triple dead-heat for first between Ark Royal, Fighting Force and Pandie’s Sun.

Past winners of the Hotham Handicap

Winners of past Hotham Handicaps include Downdraft (2019), A Prince Of Arran (2018), Signoff (2014), Maluckyday (2010), Shocking (2009), Maybe Better (2006), Brew (2000), Sea Legend (1986), Chagemar (1983 & 1984), Allez Bijou (1982), Reckless (1976), Think Big (1974), Scotch And Dry (1972), Tails (1969), River Seine (1963), Better Boy (1955), Foxzami (1949), Dark Marne (1947), Sirius (1944), Catalogue (1939), Spear Chief (1938), White Nose (1931), Shadow King (1929), King Indoga (1922) and Nimblefoot (1870).

Year Winner Second Third
2020 Ashrun Sound Brimham Rocks
Future Score (dh)
2019 Downdraft Carif Azuro
2018 A Prince Of Arran Brimham Rocks Jaameh
2017 Cismontane Vengeur Masque Pentathlon
2016 Oceanographer Tom Melbourne Tally
2015 Excess Knowledge Zanteca Havana Cooler
2014 Signoff Big Memory La Amistad
2013 Ruscello Let’s Make A Deal Araldo
2012 Kelinni Dare To Dream Exceptionally
2011 Niwot Macedonian Anudjawun
2010 Maluckyday Linton Once Were Wild
2009 Shocking Hume Irazu
2008 Moatise Light Vision Cape Cover
2007 Sculptor The Fuzz Desert Master
2006 Maybe Better Irazu Vanquished
2005 Strasbourg Bush Honey Mr Celebrity
2004 Don Raphael Catchmeifyoucan Winning Belle
2003 Big Pat Fawaz Dance On Wood
2002 Requiem Miss Meliss Piachay
2001 Maythehorsebewithu Spirit Of Westbury Touch The Groom
2000 Brew Mr Nelson Yammer
1999 The Warrior Rose O War Seasquill
1998 Star Binder Second Coming Prince Iluka
1997 Backslapper Grandmaster Buzzoff
1996 Few Are Chosen Centico My Kiwi Gold
1995 Coachwood Dupain Sir Kingi
1994 Pindi Starstruck Coachwood
1993 Tennessee Jack Maraakiz Notwithstanding
1992 Big Barron Val D Arno Sir Winston
1991 Rasheek Dr Grace Alhabel
1990 Mount Olympus Kingston Rule La Tristia
1989 Coshking Gopak Sea Legend
1988 Copatonic Tawrrific Centose