The A.J. Moir Stakes was named after Alan John Moir, who served as Moonee Valley Racing Chairman from 1960-1975. Moir was a long-standing committeeman and prominent Melbourne solicitor of the Melbourne establishment firm Gillott, Moir and Winneke - now MinterEllison.
The race was first run in 1976 and won by Scamanda, a year after Moir’s tenure as Chairman at the Club came to an end, and in 1979 it was elevated to Group 2 status.
The Judge and Grey Sapphire dead-heated the race that year in 1979, one of two dead heats in the race’s history alongside Good Old Ted and Clay Hero in 1989.
From 1976-2006 the Moir Stakes was conducted over 1000m, but from 2007-2014 it changed to 1200m before returning to its original distance of 1000m in 2015 where it remains to the present day.
The race was previously run on Cox Plate Day, but in 2013 after receiving Group 1 status it was brought forward to AFL Grand Final Eve, now acting as one of the pinnacle nights over the Friday Night Racing Season.
Run at weight-for-age conditions, the Moir Stakes is a pure test of speed from the 1000m chute at the Valley, and it is now one of only two Group 1 races on the Australian Calendar ran over 1000m.
Many star sprinters have etched their names into Moir Stakes History. The Mighty Manikato won in 1982, Placid Ark in 1987, With Me in 1990 & 1991 and Shillaci in 1992.
More recently Miss Andretti won in 2007, Apache Cat in 2009, the unbeatable Black Caviar went back-to-back in 2010-2011, and Queensland’s champion Buffering remains the only three-time winner, reigning supreme in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
The race prizemoney was upgraded to $1million in 2015 and that has continued to attract the fastest and best credentialed horses in the land to The Valley.
2016 winner Extreme Choice won on resumption after winning the Blue Diamond, 2017 winner She Will Reign won the Golden Slipper, 2018 winner Viddora won the Winterbottom Stakes, 2019 winner Nature Strip was named Australian Horse of the Year for that season and 2020 winner Pippie won the Oakleigh Plate.
It was Wild Ruler for Peter and Paul Snowden who triumphed in 2021, with the son of Snitzel picking up an all-important Group 1 win before his retirement. Filly Coolangatta proved too nippy under the light weight of 50kg in 2022, with Jamie Kah steering her to victory in the 2022 edition.