The Thousand Guineas is staged at Caulfield Racecourse in October each year during the Melbourne Spring Carnival. It is a fillies classic, being the female-only equivalent of Caulfield Guineas.
The race, a set weights contest for three-year-old fillies only, is run over the 1600m distance and carries and attractive prize fund of $500,000. It is almost always contested by a maximum field of 16 making the Thousands Guineas betting usually a red hot market. The barrier draw can be crucial and can also have a major impact on the Thousands Guineas odds and betting in the build up to race day itself.
The Thousand Guineas marks the middle of Caulfield's three day carnival with the Caulfield Guineas and the Caulfield Cup either side of it. It had traditionally formed part of a stellar day along with the Caulfield Guineas when the champion three-year-olds of both sexes were crowned, but has been the headline act of its own day since 1988. It takes place on the Wednesday sandwiched between the two Saturday dates.
The race was first run in 1946, the winner of the inaugural running being Sweet Chime. It was an eight furlong race, became a 1600m contest in 1972 and seven years later took on its current Group 1 status.
In its illustrious history, there has been only one dead heat. That came in 1963 when Heirloom and Anna Rose could not be separated at the finish.
The names of some stars fillies are on the Thousand Guineas roll of honour, as you might expect of a top class race. Wenona Girl (1960), Toltrice (1972), Goleen (1984), Azzurro (1992), Miss Finland (2006) and Yosei (2010) are just some of the leading stars to have won the race during their careers. The 2012 renewal was won by Commanding Jewel.
The lead up to the Thousand Guineas traditionally takes in the Edward Manifold two weeks earlier at Flemington Racecourse on Turnbull Stakes Day during the Spring Carnival. Among the horses to have won both in recent years are Special Harmony (2003), Alinghi (2004) and Gallica (2008).
The natural path after the Thousand Guineas is to go on to run in the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes on Victoria Derby Day at Flemington and the Group 1 Crown Oaks, the big three-year-old fillies race staged during the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Richfield Lady (1991), Arborea (1993), Northwood Plume (1994), Magical Miss (2001), Special Harmony (2003) and Miss Finland (2006) have all taken out the Crown Oaks after winning the Thousand Guineas, while Atlantic Jewel is the most recent to follow up success in the race by winning the Wakeful Stakes in 2011.