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Turf Deli Spring Racing Carnival - Ever Changing Names

Turf Deli Racing News

Ever Changing Names

This week we are off to Caulfield for the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes over 1400M. Or at least we think so. It can be a bit hard to tell in some years because this race tends to change its name more often than not.

This is the race that you will often hear trainers warmly refer to in interviews about their up and coming spring stars as "that Group 1 1400M race - whatever it is called this year".

And for good reason too...

Over the last twenty years this race has changed names so many times it is a running joke amongst punters, who have a much more sophisticated sense of humour than simple vaudeville mother-in-law gags.

This race has changed name, and changed name, and changed name - from the Marlboro Cup, to the Show Day Cup, over to the VicHealth Cup, up to the Eat Well Live Well Cup, around to the Dubai Racing Club Cup and finally the bouncing ball landing on today's title of the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.

Back in the good old days we used to get a Show Day Holiday, which was a nice excuse to have a day off work on a Thursday and head to the races. That's after you had quickly nicked past the Showgrounds and picked up a racing show bag, crammed full of betting goodies. Included was a cheap plastic horse shoe, your very own horse poop scooper, a trifecta bet calculator (vital in the days before flexi bets were allowed) and a Fine Cotton disguise kit - so you can play the Ring In game at home and confuse your parents. Which child is that ? However, the horse colouring book and texta set was always a big disappointment as it was such an uninspiring colour range (grey, bay, chestnut, brown, black).

We have to say we do miss the golden age of tobacco company sponsorship. In those golden, smoky, hazy days, when the jockey came back to scale and said the horse was "having a good blow", he didn't mean he was puffed and would improve on the run - he meant he was out the back sucking back on a cancer stick before the mounting yard presentation.


It is not commonly known that there is a actually a bitter and fierce competition raging between this Caulfield race, and the staying race on Derby Day at Flemington, as to who can change names the most.

You know that staying race - the last chance to qualify for the Melbourne Cup ?

One of the most important and most closely watched races on Derby Day ?

Does the Lexus Stakes ring a bell ?

How about the Saab Quality ?

Or even the Lean Cuisine Quality (serious !) - that was a time honoured race - simply heat for 5 minutes in the microwave and voila !.

Or even the Ten News Stakes or the Crown Quality or the Dalgety or the Hotham Handicap or...


Finally though the Melbourne Racing Club seem to have settled on the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.

We have to say one thing we don't think racing clubs in general really make the most of is the long history and tradition involved with racing.

Ask around your friends, pretty much everyone has a grandfather who was a bookie or a trainer or the like.

Sure there are a few statues around the place, and the Walk of Fame of Cup winners as you enter Flemington from the car park is a nifty idea, but so much more could be done with racing's fine history.

You should enter a racecourse and be flooded with the century or more of history that goes with these events.

Caulfield did re-brand itself as Classic Caulfield for many years, with promotions containing lots of sepia footage and wise, knowing old men in pork pie hats - scratching their heads wondering what race they were watching this week.

However, Caulfield has had to move with the times and more recently moved away from Classic Caulfield and more towards weekly promotions to draw a crowd - so more like the "3 party pies for 99 cents" Caulfield (just taking the piss by the way, the party pies were yummy - thanks).

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