Dato Tan Chin Nam

The major Moonee Valley lead up for the Cox Plate is Saturday’s Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes named after Malaysian Entrepreneur Dato’ Tan Chin Nam. Dato’ is one of Malaysia’s wealthiest men responsible for the Shangri La Hotels and various shopping centres and malls. In Australia, he is known as one of the most successful race horse owners of all time having won the Melbourne Cup 4 Times. Dato’ teamed up with Bart Cummings in the early 1970’s and one of the first horses he raced here was dual Melbourne Cup Winner Think Big who saluted in 1974-75. The combination of Bart and Dato’ became a force and his Black and White Checks with Yellow Sleeves became synonymous in winning most of Australia’s Great Races. Dato’ realised ever owners dream in owning a Champion not once but twice. Firstly, Saintly, the ‘Horse from Heaven’ who won a Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup came along followed by International Superstar So You Think who won 10 Gr 1 Races including 2 Cox Plates and various big races in Europe including the Eclipse Stakes and Irish Champion Stakes.

Other outstanding horses raced by Dato Tin Chin Nam include; Melbourne/Caulfield Cup Winner Viewed, Oaks Winner Faint Perfume, Doncaster Winner Catalan Opening, Guineas hero God’s Own and Star Mare Allez Wonder. Dato’ also owns the Think Big Stud in NSW. He was honoured by Moonee Valley in the re naming of the Feehan Stakes to the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes a Group 2 WFA event run over 1600m.

The Race:

First run in 1948 as the Glenroy Stakes, the race was re named the following year to the JF Feehan Stakes which it remained until 2005 when re named the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes. It has always been run at about 1600m and been graded a Group 2 race since 1979. It became a WFA event in 1975. Since becoming a WFA event, 4 horses have gone back to back in the Dato’/Feehan; Lawman (1981/2), Lad of The Manor (2005/6), Whobegotyou (2009/10) and Tassie Star The Cleaner (2014/15). Damien Oliver is the most successful jockey with 4 wins and it’s been a great race for favourites lately with 9 of the last 12 winners being the main elect. Shorengo in 1968/69 & 70 is the only 3 time winner at a time when it was a Handicap Race.

Since 1975 only Fiorente in 2013 has won the Dato’/Feehan and gone on to win the Melbourne Cup. In that same period, 8 horses have completed the Dato’/Cox Plate Double and what a great band of horses they are; Strawberry Road, Rubiton, Our Poetic Prince, Better Loosen Up, Sunline, Northerly, El Segundo and Fields Of Omagh. 3 of these stars won Gr 1 International Races which elevates the worth of the Dato’ to a lofty level. Here’s a more detailed look at a few of these stars.

  • Strawberry Road – A champion 3 and 4 year old who would become both an International Superstar and a Great Stallion. Strawbs raced until he was 7 under 4 different ownerships and with 4 different trainers. He had 45 starts for 17 wins. In Australia he won the; AJC & Queensland Derby, Rosehill Guineas and Cox Plate. He then won in Germany, France and America. At stud he sired 233 Winners including 3 Breeders Cup Champions…he was a phenomenon.
  • Better Loosen Up – Like Strawberry Road raced until he was 7 and had 4 different trainers. Incredibly, like Strawbs, he also had 45 starts and won 17 of them and he also won overseas! He won 8 Gr 1 races in Australia including the Cox Plate, Australian Cup and the MacKinnon Stakes. He is probably best remembered however for being the only Australian horse to win the prestigious Japan Cup. This tough warrior earned over $4.7 Million.
  • Fields Of Omagh – Raced from 3 years of age to 9. His last start was a win in the 2006 Cox Plate at incredibly his 45th start! ‘Fields’ loved the Valley and had a remarkable record in both the Cox Plate and the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes. His Cox Plate record was; 5th (2002), 1st (2003), 2nd (2004), 3rd (2005) and 1st (2006). His Dato’ record was; 1st (2002), 4th (2004), 3rd (2005) and 5th (2006). This amazing gelding won just shy of $6.5 Million. Fields of Omagh was by Rubiton who in 1987 won both the Dato’ and Cox Plate.

It will be interesting to see how this year’s winner fares going forward to the Cox Plate held 6 weeks later.

Dato’s Great Horse Saintly winning the Melbourne Cup


Until next week…good punting.