There’ll be millions of dollars at stake – and many more being wagered by the punters – at Royal Randwick tomorrow.
It’s the big event of NSW’s autumn racing calendar, the last day of “The Championships”, Racing NSW’s bid to match the glamour and prestige of Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival.
Billed as the “grand finals of racing” attracting the finest horses in the world, day two of The Championships includes two feature races, the Sydney Cup and the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes – Australia’s second richest race – among several group one races.
The Sydney Cup, the seventh race of the day, is run over 3200m, like the Melbourne Cup, and attracts many of the horses likely to run there later every year.
Trainer Chris Waller has three horses in the race: Who Shot The Barman, Grand Marshal and Libran.
Sire John Hawkwood, which was to have been ridden by jockey Blake Spriggs, has been withdrawn and will instead campaign in Queensland later this season.
Jockey Tommy Berry will be looking for a win aboard Criterion in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the ninth race of the day, with a first prize of $2.4 million. Criterion won the race last year when Craig Berry was jockey. His chances were greatly improved by trainer Chris Waller’s decision not to chase a 10th consecutive win with top mare Winx, which won the Doncaster Mile last week.
Trainer Gai Waterhouse has five runners. Café Society (from France) and Dee I Cee (from New Zealand) will contest the Sydney Cup and the promising Supara will run in the Coolmore Stakes, a 1600-metre race for fillies and mares of three years or more. The total prize money is $1 million, and first place wins $600,000.
If you’ve never been to the races, give it a go. There’s plenty on offer, with music, fashion and other fun to be had. – Jesse Mullens
Photo shows the trophies on offer, from The Championships Facebook page.