THE Championships was launched in 2014 as a de facto ‘Grand Final’ of horse racing, and the pinnacle of Sydney’s prestigious autumn racing carnival.
Held annually at Royal Randwick racecourse, the Championships are on the first and second Saturday of April each year.
With a total prize pool of 20 million dollars on offer Royal Randwick will be buzzing with the best and brightest stars from around the globe.
With twelve races in total across the two days including eight group1 battles, the Championships is fast becoming the must-see event on the Australian horse racing calendar.
Group 1 races during the carnival
With an incredible eight group1 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.
Day one has the crown jewel of the meeting in the form of the Australian Derby, but with seven other big races to experience across the two days including day two’s Australian Oaks, the Championships is truly one of the world’s great racing events.
The Championships day 1
The Star Doncaster Mile
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 1,600.
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 and Super Impose all notable winners of the race.
2015 was the 150th running of the race.
The total prize money for the Doncaster Mile is 3 million dollars.
The Darley TJ Smith Stakes
Although the Darley TJ Smith Stakes has only been in existence since 1997 the race is still one of the most popular events on the carnival.
The Darley TJ Smith Stakes is raced over 1200 metres and is a weight-for-age event.
The race was upgraded to Group1 status in 2005 and has since become one of the best sprint races in Australia, drawing superstar horses such as Takeover Target and wonder mare Black Caviar.
The total prize money for the Darley TJ Smith Stakes is 2.5 million dollars.
BMW Australia Derby
The BMW Australian Derby is the centrepiece of the first day of the Championships.
Run over the 2,400 metre distance, The Australian Derby is for three-year-olds at set weights which sees the best up and coming stayers from Australia and New Zealand vying for the Derby title.
The race has seen some of the greatest horses of all-time compete, with Kingston Town and Phar Lap amongst the previous winners.
The race is considered one of the best races on the Australian racing calendar, sitting just below the Melbourne Cup.
The total prize money for the BMW Australia Derby is 2 million dollars.
Inglis Sires Stakes
The Inglis Sires Stakes is a two-year-olds race at set weights ran over 1,400 metres.
The Sires Produce Stakes is ran across five Australian states, but the New South Wales incarnation is the elite race of the quintet.
The Inglis Sires Stakes is the second leg of the two year old’s triple crown, which also consists of the Golden Slipper Stakes and the Champagne Stakes.
The winner’s list reads of like a who’s who of Australian horse racing royalty including Octagonal, Sebring and Wenona Girl.
The total prize money for the Inglis Sires Stakes is 1 million dollars.
The Championships day 2
Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes
The Queen Elizabeth Stakes is the richest race of the Sydney Autumn Carnival and the richest WFA race in Australia.
The weight for age race for three-year-olds and is run over 2,000 metres.
The race is the is the signature event of the Championships which draws international entries as well as the best horses Australia and New Zealand have to offer.
Previous winners of the race include Might and Power, Doriemus and Grand Armee.
The total prize money for the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes is 4 million dollars.
Schweppes Sydney Cup
The Sydney Cup is a handicapped race run over 3,200 metres for horses three years and above.
An increase in prize money places the race into World Class territory with horses from around the globe being flown in to compete for the massive 2 million dollar prize money on offer.
The race is over 150 years old and steeped in tradition.
The Sydney Cup has drawn some of the absolute best race horses ever to take to a race track with Makybe Diva, Tie The Knot and the mighty Kingston Town amongst the horses who have taken the Cup Crown.
Total prize money for the Schweppes Sydney Cup is 2 million dollars.
The Australian Oaks is the must-see race of day two at the Championships.
Considered the premier staying race of three-year-old fillies in Australia, the race is run over 2,400 metres and is a set weight contest – 56kgs.
The race has been known under several different names and has been raced at five different distances since 1885, with the 2,400 metre mark set and kept since 1973.
Previous winners of the race include Wenona Girl, Research and Flight.
Total prize money for the Australian Oaks is 1 million dollars.
Celebrations Queen of the Turf Stakes
The Queen of the Turf Stakes is the final group1 race of the Championships.
Run over the 1,600 metre distance, the Queen of the Turf sees fillies and mares aged three years and over competing in a weight for age race.
The race was previously held at Rosehill, but was moved to Randwick in 2014 to specially be a part of the Championships.
In 2005 the race was upgraded to group1 status and has since drawn some of the best horses in the nation.
Champion horse More Joyous is a two-time winner of the race, with Divine Madonna also winning the race back in 2007.
Total prize money for the Celebrations Queen of the Turf Stakes is 1 million dollars.
Most successful trainers during The Championship
Gai Waterhouse: Known as the first lady of Australian racing, Gai Waterhouse has made many of the Championship races her own.
Waterhouse is a four-time winner of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, a seven-time winner of the Doncaster Mile, a three time winner of the Queen of the Turf stakes and a winner of two other group1 titles that are run at the Championships.
Gai Waterhouse’s Sydney racing record speaks for itself.
Chris Waller: New Zealand born Chris Waller has had great success in Sydney, notching up an incredible eight group1 wins in races now run at the Championships.
Waller has made Group1 mile racing his own, with a total of four Doncaster Mile wins.
He also trained a historic first four in the first ever Doncaster Mile associated with the Championships, a feat that may never be repeated.
With four other Group1 wins at Championship races including his dual Queen Elizabeth Stakes win in 2011 and 2013, Chris Waller is set to be a major player in the Championships for years to come.
Peter Moody: Peter Moody will forever be a part of Australian racing folklore after training the inimitable Black Caviar to 25 wins from 25 starts, including two Darley TJ Smith Stakes wins.
The Victorian based trainer is not just a one horse wonder however, with his Queen of the Turf Stakes win with Typhoon Tracey amongst one of the best wins in the race’s history.
Jockeys who have had most success during The Championships
Glen Boss:The man known as ‘Bossy’ has always been associated with the big races in country, winning three Melbourne Cups with Makybe Diva, but that does not mean Boss is just a one race horse man.
Boss has won nine separate Group1 wins at races involved in the Championships, including four Doncaster Mile wins and a Sydney Cup success with Makybe Diva.
Boss has shown no signs of slowing down and will keen to add more Group1 success to his already crowded trophy cabinet.
Damian Oliver: One of the most recognisable jockeys in Australia, Damian Oliver has had terrific success in races that are now run at the Championships.
A four-time winner of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, an Australian Derby winner and a Sydney Cup triumph has made Oliver one of the more decorated jockeys in Australian racing at the Championships.
The champion jockey is still getting all the big rides right around the country and is sure to be front and square at the Championships for years to come.
Nash Rawiller: When it comes to making an impact at the races associated with Championships, few have made a lasting impression quite like Nash Rawiller.
A winner of an incredible 12 Group1 races that are now run at the Championships, Rawiller has been a dominant force in Sydney.
His greatest success came with Gai Waterhouse champion More Joyous, which Rawiller rode to four separate Group1 wins at Championship races.
When it comes to winning races at Randwick, few can compete with Nash Rawiller.
History of The Championships
Inaugurated in 2014, the Championships set out to put the Sydney autumn racing carnival on the map, and in a short space of time has done exactly that.
With the objective of becoming a ‘Grand Final’ of the carnival, the Championships has taken eight Group1 races from around the Sydney arena and condensed them into two action packed days of racing at Royal Randwick.
With prize money for the big races increasing almost year-to-year, the Championships continue to draw the cream of the crop of the horse racing industry from around the globe.
The Australian Derby is without question the crown jewel and the main drawcard of the Championships, but the 4 million dollar Queen Elizabeth Stakes – which is the world’s richest weight for age race in the world – and the Australian Oaks are always must-see events.
Growing in popularity annually, the Championships are without question a global horse racing event.