Australian Cup legends revisited

27 March 2024 Written by VRC

The TAB Australian Cup has captivated racing enthusiasts for more than 150 years. As we gear up for the 162nd running of this historic race, we revisit some milestone moments. From Fiorente's memorable win in 2014 to Niconero's Group 1 triumph 15 years ago, and Lonhro's legendary victory two decades ago, each of these moments has left an indelible mark on Australian racing history.

10 years since Fiorente’s Flemington triumph

In 2014, Fiorente triumphed at Flemington once again, clinching victory in the 2014 Australian Cup. The win marked a historic moment for trainer Gai Waterhouse, who finally claimed the coveted weight-for-age Group 1 title after several near misses. Coupled with the win in the 2013 Melbourne Cup, Fiorente’s success added another chapter to Waterhouse’s illustrious career, solidifying her reputation as one of the sport’s leading trainers. Fiorente retired soon after his Australian Cup win to stand at stud, producing many star progeny. One of these was 2023 Andrew Ramsden winner, Lunar Flare (retired last year). Fiorente sadly passed away in May of last year at the age of 15 after battling an ongoing chronic illness.

15 years since Niconero’s Group 1 glory

Fifteen years have passed since Niconero secured his fifth career Group 1 victory in the 2009 Australian Cup. After triumphing on the racetrack, Niconero embarked on a new chapter, transitioning from racing glory to a peaceful retirement at Lindsay Park Euroa. He now spends his post-racing life as a paddock companion for yearlings and spelling racehorses. Read about his and other fellow retirees here.

 20 years since Lonhro’s legendary victory

Two decades have passed since Lonhro etched his name in racing history with a memorable victory in the 2004 Australian Cup. In an illustrious career spanning 35 starts, Lonhro was victorious in 11 Group 1s and 24 at Group level, amassing a total of 26 wins. Among his notable triumphs are the Caulfield Guineas, Caulfield Stakes (twice), Mackinnon Stakes, Chipping Norton, George Ryder, Queen Elizabeth, CF Orr, Chipping Norton, and George Main Stakes. However, his most remarkable feat arguably occurred in the 2004 Australian Cup (2000m). His jockey, Darren Beadman, angled for a run at the 300 metre mark which closed soon after, inconveniencing him greatly and pocketing the son of Octagonal. Beadman patiently eased his mount to the outside of runners and in the final 200 metres, wore down three-year-old Delzao to secure a historic win The 2004 race is not only remembered for the equine stars, but also for the epic call by commentator Greg Miles. He retired from racing in 2004 and then headed to stand at stud for Darley in 2008. An incredible 15 seasons later the Champion Sire was retired from stud duties in 2023 and remains in residence at Kelvinside Stud in the Hunter Valley.