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As far as the Australian horse racing calendar is concerned there are only two seasons – spring and autumn, and although The Championships were only inaugurated in 2014, they are elevating the Sydney autumn carnival into the same stratosphere as Melbourne’s spring.
Held at the prestigious Royal Randwick racecourse, The Championships is a ‘crown jewel’ for the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival. The Championships act as a grand final across a number of different weights, ages and sexes to determine who the best horses in the country truly are.
There is over $20 million in prize money on offer across a plethora of group races (including four Group 1 races on each of the two days) which draws the best racehorses from around Australia to compete in top quality races against the best the international scene has to offer.
All of our suggested online bookmakers offer markets on every race during The Championships, with plenty of markets opening in the months leading into the carnival.
The Championships in 2023 is scheduled for the beginning of April, with Day 1 set down for April 1 and Day 2 to be held a week later on April 7.
Royal Randwick plays host to The Championships each year and has been the location for many a racing highlight during The Championships. Whether it has been the almighty Winx amazing punters, or Nature Strip lighting up the turf, Randwick is truly the home of racing in NSW.
With an incredible eight Group 1 races split across the two days at Royal Randwick, race goers will be treated to a spectacular display from some of the world’s very best sprinters and stayers across a variety of distances.
Known as the premier mile race in Australia, the Doncaster Mile has drawn some of the greatest horses in the world to compete over the 1600m journey.
A handicap race for jockeys with a minimum of 50kg, the Doncaster Mile is for horses three years and over.
Some of the world’s greatest horses have competed for the Doncaster title, with Sunline, Pharaoh, Super Impose and Winx all notable winners of the race.
Originally entitled the Endeavour Stakes, the race name was changed to honour famous Sydney horse trainer Thomas John Smith.
Notable winners of the TJ Smith are three-time winner Chautauqua (2015-2017), Lankan Rupee (2014), Nature Strip (2020, 2021, 2022), Santa Ana Lane (2019) and the queen of the turf Black Caviar (2011).
The race has been a favourite backers paradise in recent years. Six of the last nine winners of the TJ Smith Stakes have jumped as clear cut favourites.
The Group 1 Australian Derby is raced under set weight conditions and is only open to three-year-olds over the 2400m distance.
More often than not roughies get the job done at odds in the Derby.
In 2022, Hitosu became the first favourite since Criterion in 2014 to claim the Australian Derby.
In the period from 2021-2007 there has been six winners priced over $11, with Explosive Jack (2021), Angel Of Truth (2019), Tavago (2016), Ethiopia (2012), Roman Emperor (2009) and Nom Du Jou (2008) some of the more notable ones to win at long odds.
The Group 1 Sires Produce Stakes is a set weight race for two-year-olds, held at Randwick Racecourse.
The 1400m feature has a prize pool of $1,000,000 and is the second leg of the Sydney two-year-old Triple Crown – following the Golden Slipper and the final leg, the Champagne Stakes.
The last horse to have won the triple crown was Pierro in 2012, when the champion two year old became just the fourth colt in history to manage the feat.
With many horses and trainers fancying their chances of winning all three of the two year old races, often the Sires Produce Stakes field has a distinct Golden Slipper taste to it.
A race steeped in history, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes has existed in Australia for well over 160 years.
Currently held on day two of The Championships as the showpiece event, the $4 million prize money makes it Australia’s richest weight-for-age race and is currently the fourth biggest purse in thoroughbred racing behind the Melbourne Cup, The Everest and the All Star Mile.
The race has undergone massive changes since the inception of The Championships.
The prize money was boosted from a relatively meagre $500,000 to the huge amount it holds today, and is recognised as the signature event of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Phar Lap, Winx, Lonhro Might And Power and Ming Dynasty are all previous winners of the group one race.
The Sydney Cup is one of Australia’s premier long-distance races.
Raced over the traditional journey of 3200m, the race forms part of Sydney’s prize event – The Championships – and is an open handicap held at Randwick Racecourse.
The Sydney Cup has a storied history with many hall of famers etched on the honour board over the past 150 years. Tie The Knot, who is one of two horses to have won it as a three-year-old, Makybe Diva and the legendary Kingston Town are among those who have claimed the cup.
The Australian Oaks is run under set weight conditions (56kg) and is only open to three year old fillies, making it one of the richest races of its type in the world.
Being such a unique event, the ATC Oaks attracts the best fillies from around the country and even some overseas visitors have graced the Randwick turf in search of Oaks glory.
Some of more well-known winners of the ATC Australian Oaks include Verry Elleegant (2019), Royal Descent (2012), Triscay (1991) and Republic Lass (2002).
The Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes, also known as The Coolmore Legacy Stakes, is a weight-for-age for fillies and mares held at Randwick Racecourse.
Prior to becoming part of The Championships in 2014 the race was held at Rosehill, over 1500m, before being switched to a mile at Randwick.
The other big change in the race’s recent history was in 2005 when the race conditions were switched from handicap to weight-for-age.
Some of the more well-known victors in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes are More Joyous (2011 & 2012), Typhoon Tracy (2010), Forensics (2008) and Divine Madonna (2007).
Named after the late Nathan Berry, the Nathan Berry Medal is awarded to the most successful jockey over the two days of The Championships held at Royal Randwick in early April each year.
Berry, who tragically passed away in April 2014 was a popular jockey in the NSW locker room and with twin brother Tommy Berry deemed one of the best jockey’s in the country, the Berry legacy is further etched into Australian Racing folklore with the Nathan Berry Medal.
The Nathan Berry Medal is awarded to the most jockey who records the most points over the two days of The Championships.
The point score is determined on a 3-2-1 basis across the eagerly anticipated 12 Group races which includes the Finals of the Country and Provincial Championships, with the winner announced at the completion of Day 2 of The Championships.
Three points are awarded to the jockey winning the race, with second and third places picking up two points and one point respectively.