(1896 - 1923) Inducted in 2002
Bay mare 
Trenton - Insomnia

There has never been a more versatile mare than Wakeful. She won top class races of five and a half furlongs to three miles.


TRAINER: Hugh Munro

OWNERS: TLesley Macdonald

RACE RECORD/STAKE MONEY: 44 starts: 25 wins, 12 seconds, 4 thirds/£16,690

Major Wins 

  • Sydney Cup
  • Oakleigh Plate
  • Doncaster Handicap
  • Melbourne Stakes (three times)
  • Caulfield Stakes (twice)
  • AJC and VRC All-Aged Stakes


Wakeful was bred at the famous St Albans Stud near Geelong, and acquired by Leslie Macdonald for the bargain price of 310 guineas at the dispersal sale of the stud in 1900.

Unraced as a two and three-year-old due to leg soreness, Wakeful did not make her race debut until the spring of 1900. After her first two starts, Wakeful was still a maiden, but Macdonald and trainer Munro (father of Derby and Jim) had confidence in her ability, and entered her for the big autumn races of 1901.

Wakeful carried all before her. At her first three starts she won the Oakleigh Plate, Newmarket Handicap and Doncaster Handicap, and two days after her Doncaster triumph ran a close third in the Sydney Cup. The following year she made no mistake in the Sydney Cup, carrying 9st 7lbs (60.5kg) to victory in record time. At the same meeting she also won the Autumn Stakes over a mile and a half, the All-Aged Stakes over a mile, and the AJC Plate over three miles. Altogether in her career, she won 10 races now classified as Group 1.

Wakeful's finest hour came in defeat; in the Melbourne Cup of 1903 which was to be her last race. Asked to carry 10st (63.5kg), she went down by less than a length in a desperate struggle with Lord Cardigan, four years younger and carrying the featherweight of 6st 8lbs (41.5 kg). The Sportsman newspaper described the moment: "Those who had the great fortune to be there on Tuesday can never forget it even if they live to be a hundred. It stirred the very soul".

Wakeful was retired to stud immediately after the Cup. Her best progeny was Night Watch, winner of the 1918 Melbourne Cup.

Wakeful was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2002.

Image Source: Australian Racing Museum Collection