Doomben Cup: History, Past Winners and Trends

Doomben Cup: History, Past Winners & Trends

Some of the country’s most talented middle-distance runners head to Brisbane each winter to battle for supremacy in the Doomben Cup. This prestigious Group 1 race has a prize purse of $1 million, so it always attracts a competitive field.

You can ratchet up the excitement by betting on the Doomben Cup at This Doomben Cup betting guide explores the history of the race, shines a light on notable former winners, lays out stats and trends, and explains the key Doomben Cup betting options available to punters.

Doomben Cup History

The Doomben Cup is steeped in heritage. The inaugural running took place all the way back in 1933, when William Forgan Smith was Queensland premier and Errol Flynn was making his first film appearance.

It was one of the first races to be held at Doomben Racecourse, which had just opened that year. The Doomben Cup initially took place over 10 furlongs. Pentheus, owned by a Mr. C. P. Brown, prevailed that year.

The distance was increased to 11 furlongs in 1938, and it stayed increased in prominence before Doomben Racecourse was converted into an army base from 1941 to 1944. The Doomben Cup was held throughout the Second World War, but the action took place at the nearby Albion Park sand track. It returned to Doomben Racecourse in 1946, when the legendary Bernborough saluted.

The Doomben Cup attained Group 1 status in 1980. It was run as a handicap race until 1990, when it became a weight for age event. The race distance continued to edge up over the years. It was finally set at 2000m in 2012, and it has remained that length ever since.

It has been known as the BATC Doomben Cup, the XXXX Cup and the Channel Nine Cup for sponsorship purposes at various times in its history, but it has been simply the Doomben Cup since 1992.

The only year in which the Doomben Cup did not take place was 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It returned in 2021, when Zaaki blitzed the field to secure an emphatic victory.

Two trainers share the record for the most Doomben Cup wins. T. J. Smith won it three times thanks to Lord Nelson in 1973, Cheyne Walk in 1976 and Marceau in 1978, while John Wheeler’s three victories were all courtesy of Rough Habit.

Three jockeys share the riding honours. Maurice McCarten was aboard the inaugural winner, Pentheus, in 1933, along with 1934 winner Whittingham and 1940 victor Beaulivre. George Moore won it on Rio Fe in 1949, French Echo in 1953 and Book Link in 1958, while Hall of Fame rider Jim Cassidy was aboard Rough Habit for all three of his triumphs.

Doomben Cup Race Info

The Doomben Cup is a Group 1 thoroughbred race for middle-distance horses. It is run over a distance of 2000m. The race is held at Doomben Racecourse in Brisbane each winter as part of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.

It is run under weight for age conditions on the 2000m turf track. Any horses aged three or older can enter.

The Doomben Cup is one of three Group 1 races held at Doomben Racecourse each year, along with the Doomben 10,000 and the BTC Cup, which is also known as the Kingsford-Smith Cup. It typically takes place one week after the Doomben 10,000 each year and one week before the Kingsford-Smith Cup.

Doomben Cup Day also features The Roses and the BRC Sprint, so it is an exciting event for visitors.

Doomben Cup Prize Money

The Doomben Cup prize money will increase from $700,000 in 2021 to $1 million in 2022. That represents a 43% increase, making it one of the richest races of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.

Only the Stradbroke Handicap and The Q22 now have a larger prize purse, while it will be in line with the Doomben 10,000, the JJ Atkins Stakes, the BRC Sires Produce Stakes and the Queensland Derby.

“We want to see Australia’s stars campaign during winter, and these enhancements support that,” said Racing Queensland chief executive Brendan Parnell.

Racing Minister Grace Grace hailed the decision to increase the prize money. She said it was inspired by the success of Zaaki in 2021, who lived up to his billing as favourite in the Doomben Cup betting by producing a magnificent performance.

Doomben Cup Notable Winners

There have been many notable winners of the Doomben Cup since it began in 1933, but these runners really stand out:

Bernborough (1946)

Bernborough blazed a trail of destruction across Australia when racing resumed after the Second World War. He won both the Doomben Cup and the Doomben 10,000 in 1946, along with the Newmarket Handicap, the Futurity Stakes, the Melbourne Stakes, Chipping Norton Stakes, Chelmsford Stakes, Caulfield Stakes and several other prestigious races. Bernborough was made to carry 68kg in the Doomben Cup, but he still managed to beat his rivals.

Earlwood (1959 and 1960)

Earlwood became the first back-to-back Doomben Cup winner when he saluted in 1959 and 1960. He is one of just two horses to win the Doomben Cup on more than one occasion since it began in 1933.

Bore Head (1967)

Bore Head was one of the most famous racehorses to emerge from Queensland in the 20th century. He shot to fame by winning the Queensland Cup in 1963, and he went on to win the Caulfield Cup in 1965. Many expected him to win the Melbourne Cup that year, but he was wiped out when a horse in front of him fell. Jockey Fred Clarke insisted he was on his way to victory. Bore Head returned to form by winning the Australian Cup and the Doomben Cup in 1967.

Rough Habit (1991, 1992 and 1993)

New Zealand-bred Rough Habit is the most successful horse in the history of the Doomben Cup. He saluted three times in a row in the early 1990s, while he also won back-to-back Stradbroke Handicaps. Six of his 11 Group 1 victories came at the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, although he also triumphed in Sydney and Melbourne, and he was named New Zealand Horse of the Year in 1992 and 1995.


Might and Power was named World Champion Stayer after winning the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup double in 1997. He saluted in the Doomben Cup in 1998, along with the Cox Plate and the Caulfield Stakes. Might and Power was named Australian Horse of the Year in 1998 and 1999, and he has been inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame and the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame.

Defier (2004)

Defier was one of the most popular horses in Queensland in the early 21st century. He won three Group 1 races – the Doomben Cup, the AJC George Main Stakes and the AJC Queen Elizabeth Stakes – and he was also a two-time runner-up in the Group 1 Cox Plate.

Doomben Cup 2021 Winner

Zaaki put in one of the best performances in Doomben Cup history to finish seven lengths clear of his closest rival last year. Annabel Neasham’s superstar had won the Hollindale Stakes, a key lead-up race, so he was the heavily-backed Doomben Cup favourite, and he fully justified that status.

He annihilated a talented field, giving jockey James McDonald his 53rd Group 1 win. Zaaki was the favourite for the Cox Plate last year, but he was scratched on the morning of the race due to an elevated temperature. He will return to Brisbane in 2022 in a bid to defend the Doomben Cup, and trainer Neasham says Zaaki has unfinished business at the Cox Plate too.

Doomben Cup Winner Stats & Trends

The Group 2 Hollindale Stakes at Gold Coast is the key lead-up race to the Doomben Cup. In the past 30 years, 18 Doomben Cup winners had recently made an appearance in the Hollindale Stakes, and eight of them won it. That includes Zaaki, who saluted in the Hollindale last year and went on to win the Doomben Cup. Other important prep races to check out include the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick and The Coast at Gosford.

Only five winners since 2000 came from double-digit barriers. Three-year-olds have a poor record in the Doomben Cup. Only two have ever won it, and none since Danewin in 1995. Four-year-olds have had the most success.

Recent form is important. No Doomben Cup winner since 2001 had finished lower than fifth in his or her previous start. It is also worth noting that only three favourites have won the Doomben Cup in the past decade. However, since 2010, all but one of the Doomben Cup winners started at a price of $10 or shorter.

Doomben Cup 2022 Betting

You will find a wide range of betting options on the Doomben Cup when Zaaki bids to defend his crown in 2022. TopSport offers win, place, quinella, exacta, trifecta and first four betting, and you can also include it in a quadrella.

We are already offering fixed win and fixed price betting on the Doomben Cup. Zaaki is the favourite, ahead of Ayrton and Huetor.