The Best Horses To Win The Kennedy Oaks

The Kennedy Oaks, traditionally known as the VRC Oaks, is the biggest race in Australia for three-year-old fillies, and every year sees a number of stars of the future leave the gates on one of the last days of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. With so much prestige surrounding the race, it’s no surprise that plenty of highly regarded horses have been first past the post in the Kennedy Oaks, so let’s take a look at some of the best fillies to take it out over the 160-year history of the race.

Miss Finland

Miss Finland’s racing career might have been brief, but she more than capitalised on her limited time on the track. As a two-year-old she took out the Golden Slipper, the richest race in the world for juveniles, finished second in the Blue Diamond Stakes, and was crowned the Australian Champion Two Year Old for her troubles. It was in 2006 that she took out the Kennedy Oaks, when she showed a devastating turn of foot to leave her rivals without a hope. She continued her stellar form that season by winning three more Group 1s, subsequently winning the Australian Champion Three Year Old award in the crowning season of a short but successful career.


Research won the Kennedy Oaks back in 1988, and made history in the process by becoming the only filly to win both it and the Australian Derby in the same year. While the Australian Derby is run under similar conditions to the Kennedy Oaks – it’s a 2,400-metre race for three-year-olds – it isn’t limited to fillies and is held just four days prior to the Oaks, meaning winning both is typically out of the equation. Not so for Research, who achieved the incredible feat during a dominant season which would ultimately see her named the Australian Champion Racehorse of the Year.


Like the two horses above, Surround didn’t have an extensive career on the track, but in her 28 races she made a significant mark. She won 17 of those starts, and as a three-year-old took out 12 of 16 races run from 1,200 metres through to 2,500 metres. The longest of those was the 1976 Kennedy Oaks, which she won in the same season that she became the only filly to win the Cox Plate. She also took out the Caulfield Guineas and AJC Oaks that season, was deservedly named Australian Racehorse of the Year in 1977 as a result, and was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2014.

Light Fingers

Light Fingers’ Kennedy Oaks victory way back in 1964 was the most significant win of her career at the time, but by the time she retired it would be just one in a long list of major achievements. In her three-year-old season in which she won the race she was victorious in seven of her 12 starts, including the Wakefield Stakes and Manifold Stakes, but it was 1965 where she really staked her claim as one of Australia’s best ever racehorses. She took out the Melbourne Cup by the narrowest of margins over her stablemate Ziema in the biggest win of her career, before the next year she finished second in the great race, with these performances a major reason for her induction into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.

Given the high esteem in which the race is held, it’s no surprise that there have been a plethora of quality horses take out the Kennedy Oaks over its 160-year history. And, from Light Fingers in 1964 to Miss Finland just 15 years ago, few would argue that any of the above four aren’t in the top handful of Kennedy Oaks horses in history.

Did you enjoy what you just read? Then you'll LOVE our book!
Going Gypsy: One Couple's Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All Going Gypsy One Couple's Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All 

- See how it all began!
ORDER NOW - Wherever Books Are Sold!
Amazon - Barnes & Noble - IndieBound - Books-a-Million
Also available as an audiobook from

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.