VRC Champions Stakes

VRC Champions Stakes

Group One Betting Guide
Date: Saturday, November 9, 2024
Location: Flemington Racecourse – Melbourne, Victoria
Prize Money: $3,000,000
Distance: 2000m

HELD on the Saturday after the Melbourne Cup, the VRC Champions Stakes is one of two massive Group 1 events on the same day. Run over 2000 metres at Flemington, the $3 million weight for age event inspires a flurry of betting action. First run in 1869, the VRC Champions Stakes was once a huge pointer to higher honours, with the race seen as a last minute chance for a Melbourne Cup runner.

The race was previously the last gasp opportunity to qualify for the Melbourne Cup, but has since been shuffled around to make it the final Group 1 of the Cup carnival.

The event changed to the LKS Mackinnon Stakes in 1937, and the race’s first winner in its new incarnation was named The Trump. The Trump was a bona fide star, doing the rare Caulfield and Melbourne Cup double to add to his Mackinnon win in 1937, part of a six race streak where he was first past the post.

Four Melbourne Cup winners have been spawned from this race and used to go two ways, with some horses using it as a springboard to get into the cup, while others who have managed to do enough avoid the ballot for the race that stops a nation will use it as a tune up for the major event.

2024 VRC Champions Stakes odds

Markets for the 2024 VRC Champions Stakes are currently unavailable.

Betting sites and odds on the VRC Champions Stakes

If you’re going to have a crack at the popular VRC Champions Stakes, you need to find a bookie to take your wager. Don’t worry about looking, we have got you covered. For the best odds and specials, this is where you should be headed:

Latest VRC Champions Stakes News

Atishu bound for paddock after Champions Stakes triumph
The spelling paddock is beckoning New Zealand-bred mare Atishu following her sensational win in the Group 1 Champions Stakes at ...
Atishu blows away her rivals in Group 1 Champions Stakes
Chris Waller and James McDonald have combined with Atishu to claim the feature Group 1 Champions Stakes at Flemington on ...
Prowess primed for Champions Stakes assignment
Roger James believes he has ticked all the boxes with his multiple Group One winner Prowess ahead of the Group ...
Champions Stakes Preview 2023
A stacked nine-race card awaits punters at Flemington on Saturday for Champions Stakes Day. Check out HorseBetting's free race-by-race preview ...
Zaaki to race in Queensland
The VRC Champions Stakes will be run and won at Flemington on Saturday, with 11 runners set to do battle ...
Prowess returns to Australia with Crystal Mile victory
Roger James & Robert Wellwood and Mark Zahra have combined with Prowess to claim the Group 2 Crystal Mile on ...

Most successful trainers and jockeys in the VRC Champions Stakes

Trainers Lee Freedman and Bart Cummings
The late great Bart Cummings (right) stands alone. (Bradley Photos)

Who else but Bart for most successful trainer? The legend’s steeds have won this race a record five times. Sydney starlet Gai Waterhouse is one behind with four, while both Graeme Rogerson and Laurie Laxon have two each. The Cummings trained Rogan Josh, Let’s Elope and Gold and Black did the VRC Champions Stakes and Melbourne Cup doubles.

Some of the sheen might have come off his glittering career of late, but top hoop Damien Oliver boasts the best record of any jockey in the VRC Champions Stakes, piloting five horses home in the race. No one else has more than two, with Greg Childs, Shane Dye, Michael Clarke and Harry White sharing mantle as the most successful jockeys

Multiple training wins in the VRC Champions Stakes

Five Bart Cummings
Four Gai Waterhouse
Two Graeme Rogerson, Laurie Laxon, Annabel Neasham

2024 VRC Champions Stakes Final Field

HorseBetting will update this page when the 2024 VRC Champions Stakes field is released.

Previous VRC Champions Stakes Fields

With recent stars like Zaaki & Arcadia Queen taking out the VRC Champions Stakes, here is what the fields looked like when they won the VRC Champions Stakes.

  • No. Silks Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight
    1 Silks
    Annabel Neasham
    Jamie Kah
    2 Silks
    Peter & Paul Snowden
    Kerrin McEvoy
    3 Silks
    Young Werther
    Danny O’Brien
    Billy Egan
    4 Silks
    West Wind Blows
    Simon & Ed Crisford
    Jamie Spencer
    5 Silks
    Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes
    Ben Melham
    6 Silks
    Enver Jusufovic
    Ben Allen
    7 Silks
    Joseph O’Brien
    Blake Shinn
    8 Silks
    Chris Waller
    Michael Dee
    9 Silks
    Edward Cummings
    Damien Oliver
    10 Silks
    Chris Waller
    James McDonald
    11 Silks
    Roger James & Robert Wellwood
    Mark Zahra
  • No. Silks Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight
    1 Silks
    I’m Thunderstruck
    Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr
    Mark Zahra
    2 Silks
    Annabel Neasham
    Jamie Kah
    3 Silks
    Annabel Neasham
    Nash Rawiller
    4 Silks
    John O’Shea
    Ben Melham
    5 Silks
    Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr
    Damien Oliver
    6 Silks
    Bankers Choice
    Mike Moroney
    John Allen
    7 Silks
    James Cummings
    James McDonald
    8 Silks
    Chris Waller
    Brenton Avdulla
    9 Silks
    Mustang Valley
    Andrew Forsman
    Tim Clark
    10 Silks
    Anthony & Sam Freedman
    Craig Williams
    11 Silks
    Mr Maestro
    Andrew Forsman
    Michael Dee
  • No. Silks Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight
    1 Homesman Anthony & Sam Freedman Jye McNeil 1 59kg
    2 Cascadian James Cummings Brett Prebble 2 59kg
    3 Superstorm Danny O’Brien Luke Currie 10 59kg
    4 Zaaki Annabel Neasham James McDonald 8 59kg
    5 Keiai Nautique Matthew Smith Craig Newitt 6 59kg
    6 Dalasan Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas Craig Williams 3 59kg
    7 Mo’unga Annabel Neasham Hugh Bowman 5 58.5kg
    8 Private Eye Joseph Pride Nash Rawiller 9 58.5kg
    9 Colette James Cummings Damian Lane 4 57kg
    10 Hungry Heart Chris Waller Kerrin McEvoy 7 56.5kg
  • No. Silks Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight
    1 Harlem Tom Dabernig & Ben Hayes Craig Williams 1 59kg
    2 Fifty Stars Tom Dabernig & Ben Hayes John Allen 8 59kg
    3 Mr Quickie Phillip Stokes Luke Nolen 3 59kg
    4 Mirage Dancer Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young Michael Dee 7 59kg
    5 Mugatoo Kris Lees Hugh Bowman 9 59kg
    6 Skyward Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young Glen Boss 4 59kg
    7 Dalasan Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas Jamie Kah 2 58.5kg
    8 Melody Belle Jamie Richards Jye McNeil 6 57kg
    9 Arcadia Queen Grant & Alana Williams Damian Lane 5 57kg
    10 Shout The Bar Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott Damien Oliver 10 56.5kg

2023 VRC Champions Stakes result

1stAtishu (+750)
2ndDuais (-111.11)
3rdYoung Werther (+760)

VRC Champions Stakes – Recent runnings

  • The lethal combination of Chris Waller and James McDonald have claimed another Group 1 at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, as they combined with Atishu ($8.50) to take out the $3 million VRC Champions Stakes. After running in the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes last Saturday and running home into second place behind Pride Of Jenni, it was clear that she was going to run well after Pride Of Jenni claimed the Champions Mile in the previous race. In a muddling run affair, Zaaki ($4.40) took up the lead before West Wind Blows ($2.80) flew around the outside to then claim him and stride clear at the front of the field. As expected, West Wind Blows started to struggle and Jamie Kah on Zaaki took over once again at the top of the home straight, but the challengers were coming from all angles with Buckaroo ($19.00), Duais ($6.50) and Atishu looming up on the outside to run on. However, it would be James McDonald and Atishu who would run straight past the leaders and kick clear to win by 1.75 lengths on the line from Duais and Young Werther ($51.00), who finished in second and third, respectively.
  • It was a case of copy and paste for the Annabel Neasham-trained Zaaki, who for the second year in a row managaed to lead throughout to take out the VRC Champions Stakes. Having struggled throughout his Melbourne campaign behind the likes of Anamoe, Alligator Blood and I’m Thunderstruck, Zaaki showed his genuine starpower when disposing of a strong weigh-for-age field. Hotpot Anamoe finished fourth, whilst I’m Thunderstruck was simply never in it when finishing fifth.
  • James McDonald was reunited with emerging superstar Zaaki in the Mackinnon Stakes after he missed the Cox Plate a fortnight earlier. Like Nature Strip, the Annabel Neasham-trained gelding was sent out as favourite in the $2 million race, starting at a well-backed $2.25. McDonald took bad luck out of the equation early on in the piece from barrier eight and sent Zaaki to the front, before turning on the pressure at the 600m and racing away with the prize from a fast-finishing Cascadian and stablemate Mo’unga, giving James McDonald the record of 10 group wins in a week.
  • Having almost fallen in the Cox Plate a fortnight prior, Arcadia Queen rebounded in convincing fashion when dominating the Mackinnon Stakes. Having been billed as a match race between her and Melody Belle, it was the Grant and Alana Williams-trained superstar who put close to two-lengths on her rivals, in a race she simply never looked like losing. Having entered the home straight in last position, Luke Currie had her building through her gears alongside Fifty Stars, who she then left in her dust with 100m to go and claim a second Group 1 in three starts following her Underwood Stakes success.
  • On the quick five day back up after tackling the 2019 Melbourne Cup, the Aidan O’Brien trained Magic Wand got his Group One that he undoubtedly deserved by holding off a fast finishing Melody Belle to wrap up his spring carnival in fine style.
  • It had been a spring to forget for star WA galloper Trap For Fools prior to the Mackinnon Stakes. The horse famously was left out of the 2018 Cox Plate field for not being up to standard in the eyes of the Moonee Valley Racing Club, but the gelding had the last laugh on the day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Surging to an early lead, Trap For Fools led the field for the majority of the race but didn’t set a hectic pace, which left him plenty in the tank coming into the straight. The WA native looked like a sitting duck but he found something in the final 200m to hold out one-time Melbourne Cup favourite Latrobe. Even-money favourite Blair House quickened late but was never in the hunt.
  • Former Japanese galloper Tosen Stardom had already made a splash early in the spring carnival, taking out the Group 1 Toorak Handicap in terrific fashion and the Weir-trained horse did the business again less than a month later. As the 400m approached Tosen Stardom was a mile back with a wall of horses in front of him, but the split came and the horse obliged, unleashing a magnificent turn of foot to deliver yet another Group 1 title for Darren Weir.
  • Awesome Rock scored a big win at odds of $15 over the quality Hauraki and Seaburge. Awesome Rock wasn’t known for its big race wins, but it proved too good on this occasion in winning the 2016 Mackinnon Stakes.
  • French trainer Antoine de Watrigant became a maiden group one winner when Gailo Chop shrugged off a poor performance in the Cox Plate to salute at $8 over outsider Rising Romance at $16 and Contributor at $9.
  • The 2014 Mackinnon is the last time Happy Trails connections saluted, with the gun triple group one winner failing to claim victory in his next 16 starts, leaving owners considering retirement. The eight year old – purchased as a yearling for just $11000 – is one of the greatest success stories in racing, collecting more than $3.2 million from his 61 starts and owning the 2012 Emirates and the 2013 Turnbull Stakes.
  • English galloper Side Glance was a $12 winner in 2013, ahead of Dear Demi ($11) and Moriarty ($17), beating out $3 favourite Jet Away.
  • Cult figure Alcopop swooped home with a massive late sprint to claim the 2012 incarnation to claim his first group one win at the tender age of eight, finally fulfilling a potential first revealed with an eye catching sixth to Shocking in the Melbourne Cup. Glass Harmonium finished second after winning the year before.

Past VRC Champions Stakes winners list

VRC Champions Stakes Past Winners
Year Horse Jockey Trainer
2023 Atishu James McDonald Chris Waller
2022 Zaaki Jamie Kah Annabel Neasham
2021 Zaaki James McDonald Annabel Neasham
2020 Arcadia Queen Luke Currie Grant & Alana Williams
2019 Magic Wand Ryan Moore Aiden O’Brien
2018 Trap For Fools John Allen Jarrod McLean
2017 Tosen Stardom Damian Lane Darren Weir
2016 Awesome Rock Stephen Baster Leon & Troy Corstens
2015 Gailo Chop Ben Melham Antoine De Watrigant
2014 Happy Trails Damien Oliver Paul Beshara
2013 Side Glance Jamie Spencer Andrew Balding
2012 Alcopop Craig Williams Jake Stephens
2011 Glass Harmonium Damien Oliver Michael Moroney
2010 So You Think Steven Arnold Bart Cummings
2009 Scenic Shot Shane Scriven Daniel Morton
2008 Theseo Nash Rawiller Gai Waterhouse
2007 Sirmione Peter Mertens Bart Cummings
2006 Desert War Chris Munce Gai Waterhouse
2005 Lad Of The Manor Greg Childs Roger Hoysted
2004 Grand Armee Damien Oliver Gai Waterhouse
2003 Casual Pass Glen Boss Mathew Ellerton
2002 Lonhro Darren Beadman John Hawkes
2001 La Bella Dama Scott Seamer Graeme Rogerson
2000 Oliver Twist Greg Childs Brian Mayfield-Smith

VRC Champions Stakes Past Winners Pre 2000

VRC Champions Stakes Past Winners Pre 2000
Year Horse
1999 Rogan Josh
1998 Champagne
1997 Ebony Grosve
1996 All Our Mob
1995 Danewin
1994 Paris Lane
1993 The Phantom
1992 Veandercross
1991 Let’s Elope
1990 Better Loosen Up
1989 Horlicks
1988 Empire Rose
1987 Rubiton
1986 At Talaq
1985 Rising Prince
1984 Bounty Hawk
1983 Veloso
1982 My Axeman
1981 Belmura Lad
1980 Belmura Lad
1979 Dulcify
1978 Family Of Man
1977 Sir Silver Lad
1976 Gold And Black
1975 Kiwi Can
1974 Leilani
1973 Australasia
1972 Stormy Seas
1971 Skint Dip
1970 Voleur
1969 Roman Consul
1968 Rain Lover
1967 Winfreux
1966 Tobin Bronze
1965 Yangtze
1964 Sir Dane
1963 Summer Fair
1962 Aquanita
1961 Sky High
1960 Tulloch
1959 Trellios
1958 Monte Carlo
1957 Sailor’s Guide
1956 Sir William
1955 Rising Fast
1954 Rising Fast
1953 Hydrogen
1952 Dalray
1951 Delta
1950 Comic Court
1949 Comic Court
1948 Snowstream
1947 Don Pedro
1946 Flight
1945 Tranquil Star
1944 Tranquil Star
1943 Amana
1942 Tranquil Star
1941 Beau Vite
1940 Beau Vite
1939 Ortelle’s Star
1938 Ajax
1937 The Trump
1936 Gay Blonde
1935 Sylvandale
1934 Peter Pan
1933 Rogilla
1932 Peter Pan
1931 Phar Lap
1930 Phar Lap
1929 High Syce
1928 Gothic
1927 Silvius
1926 Manfred
1925 Pilliewinkie
1924 Gloaming
1923 Rivoli
1922 Harvest King
1921 Eurythmic
1920 Eurythmic
1919 Cetigne
1918 Magpie
1917 Cetigne
1916 Lavendo
1915 Traquette
1914 St. Carwyne
1913 Anna Carlovna
1912 Duke Foote
1911 Trafalgar
1910 Son Of The Marsh
1909 Alawa
1908 Peru
1907 Poseidon
1906 Solution
1905 Tartan
1904 Gladsome
1903 Wakeful
1902 Wakeful
1901 Wakeful
1900 Lancaster
1899 Mora
1898 Battalion
1897 Battalion
1896 Disfigured
1895 Hova
1894 Ruenalf
1893 Loyalty
1892 Autonomy
1891 Marvel
1890 Carbine
1889 Abercorn
1888 The Australian Peer
1887 Silver Mine
1886 Isonomy
1885 Trenton
1884 Malua
1883 Commotion
1882 Darebin
1881 Wheatear
1880 Chester
1879 First King
1878 Chester
1877 Robinson Crusoe
1876 Rapid Bay
1875 Kingsborough
1874 Dagworth
1873 Dagworth
1872 Contessa
1871 Warrior
1870 Tim Whiffler
1869 Glencoe
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