When looking for the best racing action in Autumn, then the place to be is at one of Sydney’s elite racecourses as they host the finest racing carnival in New South Wales each year, the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival. The carnival, which runs from early February right through until the end of April is host to a range of elite race days and sees some of the country’s most illustrious group races take place including the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes and the Group 1 Australian Derby.
The exciting and highly anticipated race meetings are run by Sydney’s major race club, the Australian Turf Club (ATC). The ATC is a merger of the Sydney Turf Club (SJC) and the Australian Jockey Club (AJC). The Australian Turf Club hosts races at Royal Randwick, Rosehill Gardens, Warwick Farm and Canterbury Park.
With over $21.8million in total prize money on offer throughout autumn, the carnival is one of the major racing highlights on the Australian thoroughbred calendar. Racing kicks off in February a month before the first Group 1 race of the season is held at Randwick, the Chipping Norton Stakes.
The two feature cycles of racing at the carnival are the Golden Slipper Festival at Rosehill in April and the Doncaster Handicap Easter Carnival at Randwick. The Group 1 Golden Slipper is the most lucrative two-year-olds race in the world with stakes set at over $3.5 million. The Group 1 Doncaster Mile is worth over $2million and takes place during April.
Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival Days
There are an incredible 13 race days held as part of the Sydney Autumn Carnival. Each day has its own feature race and many boast a card full of Group races.
EXPRESSWAY STAKES DAY
Rosehill Gardens is home to the first race meeting of the carnival in early February. The feature race of the day is the Group 2 $200 000 Expressway Stakes (1200m WFA).
CHALLENGE STAKES DAY
The second race day and first meeting in autumn for the esteemed Royal Randwick Racecourse, Challenge Stakes Day sees four quality black type races take place in mid-February.
The Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes is a 1200m sprint for three-year-old colts and geldings at set weights worth $150 000.
The Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes is the three-year-old fillies’ equivalent of the Royal Sovereign, run over the same 1200m distance and offering the same $150 00 stakes but restricted to fillies only.
The Group 2 Breeders Classic is the same distance and offers the same prize money as the first two races of the day but is restricted to mares at set weights plus penalties.
The final race of the day is the Group 3 Frederick Clissold Stakes, a 1200m quality handicap worth $125 000.
APOLLO STAKES DAY
Held on the third Saturday in February at Rosehill, this day features the Group 2 $250 000 Apollo Stakes (1400m WFA).
HOBARTVILLE STAKES DAY
Conducted on the last Saturday in February, this meeting also takes place at Rosehill and the premier event of the day is the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) for three-year-olds at set weights worth $200 000.
The other Group 2 race of the day is the Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) the first event of the season for two-year-olds it is run under set weight conditions and offers $200 000 in prize money.
The third and final event is the Group 3 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m), a quality handicap event for fillies and mares worth $100 000.
CHIPPING NORTON STAKES DAY
Taking place on the first Saturday in March, Randwick is home to the first Group 1 event at the carnival, the $300 000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m WFA).
Also held on the day is the Group 2 $150 000 Surround Stakes (1400m) for three-year-old fillies at set weights.
Two Group 3 races are then run, the Liverpool City Cup (1300m), a quality handicap worth $125 000 and the Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) for two-year-olds at set weights also offering $125 00 in stakes.
RANDWICK GUINEAS DAY
Held in mid-March, this is one of the early highlights at the Sydney Autumn Carnival. Focusing around the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) for three-year-olds at set weights, which is the most lucrative race held so far with stakes set at $550 000.
The Group 2 $150 00 Challenge Stakes (1000m WFA) is also held along with three Group 3 events.
The Sweet Embrace Stakes (1200m) is for two-year-old fillies only at set weights and is worth $125 000.
The Skyline Stakes is the colts and geldings equivalent of the Sweet Embrace, also run under set weight conditions, worth $125 000 and run over the sprint distance of 1200m.
And the final Group 3 race conducted on Randwick Guineas day is the Randwick City Stakes, a quality handicap worth $125 000 it is the first race of the season run over 2000m.
NEWCASTLE NEWMARKET HANDICAP DAY
This is the only major race meeting of the carnival held outside of Rosehill and Randwick. It features the Group 3 $120 000 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap (1400m) and takes place mid-week on a Wednesday in March.
COOLMORE STUD CLASSIC DAY
Held in March this meeting features the first Group 1 event at Rosehill, the feature of the day, the Coolmore Stud Classic. A quality handicap for fillies and mares, the Coolmore Stud Classic is run over 1500m and is worth a very lucrative $600 000.
This is also the first race day to host more than one Group 1 status event, the second being the $400 000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m WFA), which is also the second 2000m middle distance race of the carnival.
There are four Group 2 races also on the cards.
The Reisling Slipper Trial is a 1200m race for two-year-old fillies at set weights worth $300 000.
The Todman Slipper Trial is another 1200m sprint at set weights worth $300 000, but is solely for colts and geldings.
The $140 000 Canterbury Stakes (1300m WFA) is the third Group 2 event, followed by the Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) for three-year-olds at set weights worth $140 000.
The final race at the meeting is the Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes, a 1100m open handicap worth $100 000.
ROSEHILL GUINEAS DAY
The showcase of this meeting is the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas, a 2000m staying race for three-year-olds at set weights offering $500 000.
Following this feature is the Group 2 Ajax Stakes, a 1500m quality handicap worth $150 000.
The Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes is 1200m event for two-year-old colts and geldings at set weights worth $140 000, then the fillies equivalent is held, the Group 2 Magic Night Stakes, run under the same conditions, over the same distance and worth the same amount.
The final race is the Group 3 Birthday Card Stakes, a 1200m sprint for fillies and mares run under quality handicap conditions and worth $100 000.
GOLDEN SLIPPER DAY
Without doubt the highlight autumn meeting at Rosehill, the day revolves around the premier two-year-olds race in the world, the Group 1 $3.5million Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m).
This day boasts an impressive four other Group 1 events:
The BMW, the longest distanced event so far at 2400m, this weight-for-age staying race is worth an incredible $2.25 million, making it the second richest race at the carnival.
The Arrowfield Stud Stakes is a 2000m event for three-year-old fillies at set weights worth $400 000.
The George Ryder Stakes is a 1500m weight-for-age race worth $400 000.
The final Group 1 event is the Queen of the Turf Stakes for fillies and mares this weight-for-age race is run over 1500m and is also offers $400 000 in prize money.
Finally, the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes finishes off an amazing day of racing. Run over 2000m the event is for three-year-old colts and geldings at set weights and is worth $140 000.
AUSTRALIAN DERBY DAY
Australian Derby day is held in early April and is one of the most anticipated race days held at the Royal Randwick. The main event is the Group 1 AJC Australian Derby, which is a 2400m staying event for three-year-olds at set weights worth over $1.3million.
The other Group 1 race entertaining the crowds on this day is The Galaxy, an open handicap race run over 1100m worth $300 000.
The Group 2 $150 000 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) follows, which is the longest distanced race at the carnival.
The second Group 2 race is the Sapphire Stakes, which is a 1200m sprint for fillies and mares run under set weight conditions plus penalties and offers $175 000 in stakes.
The Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes rounds up the day. This quality handicap run over 2000m is worth $125 000.
DONCASTER HANDICAP DAY
Held at the tail end of the carnival on the second last race day, this is the most anticipated and prestigious day of racing at Randwick. The highlight event that everyone looks forward to is the Group 1 Doncaster Handicap, run over 1600m and worth over $1.5million.
The spectators and punters are then kept entertained with three other great Group 1 events.
The TJ Smith Stakes is a 1200m weight-for-age race worth $350 000.
The AJC Australian Oaks is for three-year-old fillies at set weights, is run over the testing length of 2400m and offers $350 000.
The final Group 1 race of the meeting is the AJC Sires Produce Stakes. This great race is worth $300 000, is run over 1400m and is for two-year-olds at set weights.
Finally, two Group 3 races finish off proceedings.
The Frank Packer Plate is a 2000m event for three-year-olds at set weights worth $125 000.
And the last race of the day is the South Pacific Classic, also for three-year-olds at set weights but this time with penalties, it is run over 1400m and worth $125 000.
SYDNEY CUP DAY
Sydney Cup Day is the last race day of the Sydney Autumn Carnival and is held at the Royal Randwick on the last Saturday in April. The highlight event of the meeting is the Group 1 Sydney Cup. This open handicap event is run over the traditional Cup distance of 3200m and is worth $400 000.
There are three other excellent Group 1 races conducted on the day.
The Queen Elizabeth Stakes is a 2000m weight-for-age race worth $350 000.
The All Aged Stakes is another weight-for-age event, this time run over the shorter distance of 1400m and worth $300 000.
The last Group 1 race is the Champagne Stakes. This 1600m middle distance event is for two-year-olds at set weights and offers $300 000 in stakes.
The final race of the day and the entire carnival is the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes. Another 1600m middle distance race, it is for fillies and mares at set weights plus penalties and is worth $175 000.