Tontonan Stakes Race Information

The Tontonan Stakes is a 1400 metre open handicap race for horses four-years-old and upwards run by the Victoria Racing Club in September. It is held at Flemington as part of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.

  • Race Type: Listed
  • Distance: 1400 metres
  • Conditions: Open handicap, 4YO & upwards
  • Track: Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, Victoria
  • Prizemoney: $175,000
  • Date: Saturday 16 September 2023

Tontonan Stakes Race History

See the 2023 The Sofitel Preview and results

See the 2022 The Sofitel Preview and results

See the 2020 Tontonan Stakes Preview and results

The race was first held in 2011 when it was won by the Robert Hickmott trained Niblick ridden by Steven King.

It is raced as The Sofitel.

Who Was Tontonan ?

Foaled in Australia in 1970, Tontonan was sired by Showdown (GB) out of Forego who was a half-sister to the 1967 Victoria Derby winner Savoy. Ken Cox, the owner of Stockwell Stud had bought the British stallion  Showdown in 1966 and when the colt was born with conformation issues the studmaster George Smith saw something special in the young horse. He convinced his boss to keep the colt and they formed a partnership to race him. Tontonan was sent to Bart Cummings to train and he won his first two starts in Victoria before being beaten by Imagele in the Todman Slipper Trial.

Two weeks later Imagele was a short-priced favourite to win the 1973 Golden Slipper as he was unbeaten in six starts.  In one of the most dramatic moments in Slipper history, Imagele clipped the heels of another horse and fell bringing down two other runners, and Tontonan won, ridden by jockey Roy Higgins. Imagele suffered cracked ribs and his jockey Kevin Langby lay unconscious.  Ron Quinton who was riding Iago was not hurt while Baron Bold’s jockey, Chris Gwilliam, suffered concussion. The three-horse fall overshadowed the victory by Tontonan from his wide gate, but a fortnight later he was sent out as favourite in the A.J.C. Sires’ Produce Stakes at Randwick and won. As he was led away to be hosed down after the race he was favoring his front legs – an indication of the shin soreness and leg problems that were to affect his career.

As a three-year-old he won the Oakleigh Plate and the Ajax Stakes before he set a weight carrying record for a 3yo in the Doncaster Handicap, defeating stars Toltrice and Coolalinga He then won the All Aged Stakes and  J.T. Delaney Quality. His only loss that season was in the VRC Newmarket.

As a four-year-old he had five races, where he won the Craiglee Stakes, John F. Feehan Stakes and Chirnside Stakes and was runner-up to his stablemate Cap d’Antibes in the Marlboro Cup. His continuing leg problems ended his racing career and he went on to become a police horse in Victoria.

Tontonan Stakes Facts

Last mare to win; none

Multiple winners: none

Fastest time (1400m): Theanswermyfriend (2017) 1:22:62

Leading jockeys: Craig Williams with 3 wins (Rox The Castle 2019; Theanswermyfriend 2017; Bon Aurum 2016).

Leading trainers: Robert Hickmott with 2 wins (Fawkner 2012; Niblick 2011)

Interesting trivia:

Past winners of the Tontonan Stakes

Winners of past The Sofitel/Tontonan Stakes include horses that go on to win major spring races.

Year Winner Second Third
2023 Kalino Umgawa Detonator Jack
2022 Scallopini Pinstriped El Rocko
2021 Harbour Views Cherry Tortoni Ayrton
2020 Travimyfriend Windstorm Morvada
2019 Rox The Castle Travimyfriend Romancer
2018 Violate Dollar For Dollar Eclair Calling
2017 Theanswermyfriend Mr Sneaky Count Da Vinci
2016 Bon Aurum Ulmann Hi World
2015 Disposition Akavoroun Pressing
2014 Late Charge Under The Louvre Extra Zero
2013 Shoreham Dany The Fox Garud
2012 Fawkner Testacana Playwright
2011 Niblick Rockpecker Utah Saints