THE Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes has a strong history of turning three-year-olds into strong stallion types later in life.
Run over 2000m for $500,000 at Randwick, the Spring Champion Stakes is typically won by nicely-bred horses which have been earmarked for races such as the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup. The Victoria Derby also plays a big part in the race with three Derby winners taking out the Spring Champion Stakes earlier in their preparations.
Due to its scheduling during the Sydney spring carnival, the punters have found it hard to find winners over the last 10 years. Vanbrugh was a popular winner in 2015, but there was a host of long-shot winners taking it out prior which adds to the excitement every year.
It’s run in early October en route to the Victoria Derby three weeks later so punters should be looking towards horses which are on the improve.
2017 Spring Champion Stakes result
2018 Spring Champion Stakes betting odds
Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott runner Thinkin’ Big is at the top of the Spring Champion Stakes market.
BetEasy has the promising galloper as the $3.50 favourite ahead of Aramayo and Chris Waller’s Dealmaker, which are both locked at the $8 quote.
Spring Champion Stakes bookmakers
Markets open for the Spring Champion Stakes around August/September. Bookmakers will identify which horses have been nominated for the spring carnival staying races and frame a market accordingly.
It’s not the most popular betting race in Australia, but the value punters get great odds throughout the year and that’s when the best value is available. The bookmakers below offer Spring Champion Stakes markets.
Spring Champion Stakes betting guide
The well-bred horses have a good record in the Spring Champion Stakes. Punters should be looking towards the horses which are bred to see out a strong 2000m-2400m and also horses which are on the path towards the Victoria Derby.
This is a key betting strategy as the stronger three-year-olds will be in top form at this time of the year and the stronger types have a great record in the race.
Betting on favourites in this race is a recipe for disaster. Only one of the last 10 winners was the bookmakers favourite (Vanbrugh, 2015) and only three favourites over the last 10 years have placed.
There have been some notable favourites win the Spring Champion Stakes with Platinum Scissors, Universal Prince, Tie The Knot and Magic Of Sydney, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.
Recent history has favoured punters who can spot value in a strong three-year-old. Recent winners have included Hampton Court, Complacent and It’s A Dundeel – all three strong types which were all serious thoroughbreds over the longer staying distances.
Add Monaco Consul to that list which won in 2009 at ridiculous odds of $50. The New Zealand runner would later become a top stayer and it gave punters reason to start looking away from the 1600m-2000m horses and more towards the staying types.
Some of the best middle distance horses have finished in the placings behind the staying types which has included First Seal, Sweynesse, Criterion and Proisir.
Teranaba also won in 2006 at odds of $50.
The best trainer to follow is Gai Waterhouse who has won four times from 17 starters. Waterhouse has a great record during the Sydney spring carnival and she gets her stayers going very early in their preparation.
In 2016, Yankee Rose became the first filly to win the Spring Champion Stakes after many failed attempts by some of Australia’s best fillies.
Recent Spring Champion Stakes winners
- In one of the more sentimental wins in Spring Champion Stakes history, Rachael King and Mark Newnham combined to deliver a win with Maid of Heaven. Newnham, who actually convinced King to switch back to flat racing after piloting the jumpers, prepared the horse to produce one withering burst when race favourite Thinkin’ Big wilted in the final 200m following a torrid run.
Aramayo and Maid of Heaven seperated from the field with the latter just getting the better of the Godolphin runner as the line approached. It was just the second time in the race’s history that the race was taken out by a filly.
- The punters didn’t fancy any other runner than Ace High in 2017 and their faith was vindicated. The champion galloper found the front early and dictated terms from start to finish. Tangled closed late and made it very interesting but it was Ace High who held on to deliver the first win of back-to-back successes in Group 1 races.
- David Vandyke scored one of his biggest wins as a trainer when Yankee Rose became the first filly to win the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes. The All American filly sat near the rear of the field before unleashing a sustained sprint down the outside. It was also jockey Dean Yendall’s first Group one win
- Vanbrugh was too good for its rivals in 2015, recording a 1.3-length win over I’m Belucci. An even field was presented with no major standouts and the punters backed Vanbrugh into the $2.35 favourite. It wasn’t one of the most memorable Spring Champion Stakes wins, but all credit to the young stayer.
- The Gai Waterhouse-trained Hampton Court caused an upset in 2014 by beating the likes of First Seal and Sweynesse. Punters decided it was a match-race between First Seal and Sweynesse, but they overlooked the Waterhouse factor and also its breeding. The three-year-old was by Redoute’s Choice and that strong breeding line came through on race day.
- Bred to see out the extreme staying distances, Complacent – son of Authorized, was impressive in defeating Criterion by 1.3 lengths. The Peter Snowden-trained colt had a good spot during the run before sprinting to the front over the final two furlongs. It held off the challengers and it’s still one of the better Spring Champion fields in history. Savvy Nature, Hooked, Equator, Thunder Fantasy and Vilanova were among the beaten runners.
- It was a two-horse race down the Randwick straight as Proisir and It’s A Dundeel went head-to-head. The Murray Baker-trained Kiwi It’s A Dundeel eventually got the better of its rival and it would later become the champion three-year-old of its year. The son of High Chaparral put five lengths on the rest of the field and its strong breeding line was a good guide for punters.
- Doctor Doom’s Spring Champion Stakes win didn’t seem overly impressive at the time, but it defeated future Derby winner Sangster by 1.5 lengths which makes it a strong victory. The Guy Walter-trained gelding was an $8 chance with bookmakers in a field of only nine runners. It didn’t quite kick on with it following the win, but it was a more than satisfactory career.
Spring Champion Stakes past winners list
2018 – Maid Of Heaven
2017 – Ace High
2016 – Yankee Rose
2015 – Vanbrugh
2014 – Hampton Court
2013 – Complacent
2012 – It’s A Dundeel
2011 – Doctor Doom
2010 – Erewhon
2009 – Monaco Consul
2008 – Sousa
2007 – race not held*
2006 – Teranaba
2005 – Hotel Grand
2004 – Savabeel
2003 – Niello
2002 – Platinum Scissors
2001 – Viking Ruler
2000 – Universal Prince
1999 – Fairway
1998 – Dignity Dancer
1997 – Tie the Knot
1996 – Magic of Sydney
1995 – Nothin’ Leica Dane
1994 – Danewin
1993 – Fraternity