There are three main Perth Racing Carnivals, the most exciting and extensive of which is the Perth Spring & Summer Racing Carnival held from late October through until the following February at the esteemed Ascot Racecourse. This is the premier series of metropolitan race meetings in Western Australia and features all of the state’s chief group races including the Group 1 $1million Railway Stakes and the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic.
Ascot racecourse is also home to the Perth Autumn Racing Carnival, consisting of four race meetings held throughout March and April the highlight of which is the Group 1 WATC Derby.
The last series of Group races held in Perth for the season take place at Belmont Park in May and June for the Perth Winter Racing Carnival.
Perth Spring & Summer Racing Carnival
The Perth Spring & Summer Racing Carnival kicks off in late October with the running of the first group race of the season in WA, the Group 3 $150 000 Prince Of Wales Stakes. This 1200m weight-for-age sprint is usually held on the same day as the coveted WS Cox Plate in Melbourne.
The next Saturday, the Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes takes place. It is a 1400m middle distance quality handicap worth $150 000.
On Melbourne Cup Day, the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes is held. Run under quality conditions for horses aged three years and older, this 1100m sprint is a great sideshow to the big day in Flemington.
The following week in November, the first Group 2 race in Perth is run, the Lee Steere Stakes. Worth $250 000 this weight-for-age race is run over 1400m and is a good follow up race for runners that previously contested the Prince Of Wales Stakes.
The next Saturday in November, Ascot holds two black type events. The first is a quality handicap event, the Group 3 $150 000 RJ Peters Stakes (1500m). The final race of the day is the showcase of the meeting and the first group race for three-year-olds at the carnival, the well respected Group 3 WA Champion Fillies Stakes. For three-year-old fillies at set weights, the Champion Fillies Stakes is run over 1600m and is worth an attractive $200 000.
The most anticipated and revered race held in Perth takes place the following Saturday, the Group 1 $1 million Railway Stakes (1600m). This open handicap event is the first Group 1 race of the season in WA and is the richest and most prestigious event held in Perth.
Sharing Railway Stakes Day is the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes. It is a 1200m weight-for-age race worth a very lucrative $750 000 and the premier sprint race of the carnival.
The next major raceday is conducted in December and boasts the final Group 1 race held in Perth, the Kingston Town Classic. Also on the day is the Lee Steere Classic, a 1400m middle distance race for three-year-olds at set weights worth $150 000. The Group 1 Kingston Town Classic is an 1800m staying race run under weight-for-age conditions worth $500 000. It is equal second richest race held in Perth along with the Karrakatta Plate. Also on the day is the AJ Scahill Stakes (1400m), a $200,000 Group 3 event open to horses three years and older and run under weight for age conditions. It is the final weight for age sprint of the summer carnival.
The next race is the Group 2 C B Cox Stakes. Worth $250 000 it is also run under weight-for-age conditions but is raced over a staying distance of 2100m. Open to horses aged three years and older, the CB Cox Stakes shares the day with three listed events. These are the Crawford Stakes (1000m), Starstruck Classic (1600m) and WA St Leger (2100m).
One of the most popular racedays in the Perth Summer Carnival is the Perth Cup Day, held annually on New Years’ Day. The feature event is the Group 2 $500 000 Perth Cup, an open handicap event for horses aged three years and older run over 2400m. It is a true staying test and attracts a quality field of contenders as well as a large crowd of spectators and punters each New Years’ Day.
Perth Autumn Racing Carnival
Running over four weeks throughout March and April, the Perth Autumn Carnival is also conducted at the Ascot racecourse.
The Group 3 Hyperion Stakes is the first event of the carnival and is a 1400m weight-for-age race worth $150 000, which takes place on a Wednesday in mid-March.
Conducted on a Saturday a week and a half later, one of the highlights of Perth racing in the autumn, the Group 2 Karrakatta Plate is held. It is the premier race for two-year-olds in WA and is worth an incredible $500 000. It is run under set weight conditions over a 1200m sprint distance.
The next raceday is held in April and features two excellent Group 3 events. The first is the WA Oaks, a 2400m classic staying race for three-year-old fillies at set weights worth $250 000. It is the most prestigious race for 3YO fillies held in WA and attracts a strong field of fine females every year.
The second race held on WA Oaks day is the Group 3 Strickland Stakes, another slightly shorter distanced staying event run over 1800m. Worth $125 000 it is run under weight-for-age conditions.
The last race meeting of the Perth Autumn Racing Carnival takes place the following Saturday and features the showcase autumn event, the Group 1 WATC Derby. Run over 2400m, this premier staying race for three-year-olds at set weights is worth $500 000.
The other race held on WATC Derby Day is the Group 3 $250 000 WA Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) for two-year-olds at set weights.
Perth Winter Racing Carnival
Metropolitan racing in Perth during winter is conducted at the Belmont Racecourse. There are only two racedays in the Perth Winter Carnival, one in May and one in June.
At the first race meeting in winter, the Group 3 Roma Cup takes place. A 1200m sprint, it is run under weight-for-age conditions and offers $125 000 in prize money.
The second race held at Belmont is the Group 3 Belmont Sprint. Run over 1400m, this open handicap event is worth $125 000 and concludes group racing in Perth for the season.