Challenge Stakes

The Challenge Stakes is a Group 2 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival sprint run on Randwick Guineas Day offering $500,000 in prize money.

2024 Challenge Stakes Results

  • 1st: #6 Passive Aggressive
  • 2nd: #5 Zapateo
  • 3rd: #4 Aft Cabin



The Challenge Stakes is a Group 2 weight-for-age race held at Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse in early March as a part of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival. A 1000m open sprint the Challenge Stakes has increased notably in prize money in recent years and is now worth a lucrative $500,000.

The Challenge Stakes is one of the key support races on Randwick Guineas Day and accompanies the Group 1 $1 million Randwick Guineas (1600m) and $750,000 Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m).

A possible lead-up race into the Challenge Stakes field is the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) held at Randwick in February, but many of the horses race first-up in the half-a-million-dollar showdown.

The likely next-up autumn targets for horses out of the Challenge Stakes include the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) and April’s Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) held as part of ‘The Championships’.

In 2016 the Challenge Stakes winner English ran third in the TJ Smith Stakes two starts later before success in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) to round-out her autumn. English also returned to take out the 2017 Challenge Stakes results going back-to-back in the race for the first time since Star Of Florida (2003-04). In 2017, Redzel ran second in both the Challenge Stakes and The Galaxy results before returning to win the following year’s Challenge Stakes (2018) ahead of a second in the TJ Smith Stakes. Redzel also ran in the 2019 Challenge Stakes crossing second to Ball Of Muscle and placed second again in 2020 adding to his incredible record when beaten home by Nature Strip.

Nature Strip (2020) is the latest horse to have completed the Challenge Stakes – TJ Smith Stakes double.

In 2021 Nature Strip returned to run second as the beaten odds-on favourite in the Challenge Stakes won by Eduardo in a new record time of 55.2 seconds.

That form was franked with Eduardo (2021) going on to complete the Challenge Stakes – The Galaxy double before a TJ Smith Stakes third behind Nature Strip.

Nature Strip went on to win the now $20 million The Everest (1200m) that spring, with Eduardo third in the world’s richest turf race.

The 2022 Challenge Stakes saw great guns Nature Strip and Eduardo clash for the ninth time in their careers. Eduardo managed to go back-to-back and successfully defend his Challenge Stakes title, while Nature Strip was forced to settle for third after a shock late run by $61 roughie Shelby Sixtysix who finished second.

The Challenge Stakes 2022 form was franked with the third placed Nature Strip winning that year’s TJ Smith Stakes where Eduardo finished second. Nature Strip then headed overseas and was enormous at Royal Ascot in the UK winning the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes by over four lengths. Upset Challenge Stakes runner-up that year Shelby Sixtysix meanwhile went on to win the Group 1 The Galaxy that autumn.

Dual defending champion Eduardo returned in the 2023 Challenge Stakes but was denied a third success beaten by a nose on the line by the mare Passive Aggressive in an upset.

In 2023 the previous year’s The Everest winner Giga Kick ran third in the Challenge Stakes results and went on to frank the form with a TJ Smith Stakes second before wins in the All Aged Stakes and Brisbane’s Doomben 10,000 at elite level.

Passive Aggressive returned fresh in the 2024 Challenge Stakes to go back-to-back with a successful title defence emulating Eduardo (2021-22) in going back-to-back.

The Challenge Stakes 2024 ran on Saturday March 9, 2024 as a lead-up to the TJ Smith Stakes in Sydney over the autumn carnival and saw the Grahame Begg-trained mare Passive Aggressive ($7.50) defend her title first-up with a big late run. 

2024 Challenge Stakes
Date: Saturday March 9, 2024
Track: Royal Randwick
Distance: 1000m
Race Type: Weight-For-Age
Status: Group 2
Prize Money: $500,000

2024 Challenge Stakes Results

  • 1st: #6 Passive Aggressive ($7.50)
  • 2nd: #5 Zapateo
  • 3rd: #4 Aft Cabin

Reigning champion Passive Aggressive ($7.50) kicked off her autumn with a bang resuming with a successful title defence after flashing home hard and fast late down the outside to head the Challenge Stakes 2024 results in Sydney.

Finish No. Horse Trainer Jockey Margin Bar. Weight Penalty Starting Price
1 6 PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE Grahame Begg Jordan Childs 5 56.5kg $7.50
2 5 ZAPATEO James Cummings Kerrin McEvoy 0.7L 4 56.5kg $20
3 4 AFT CABIN James Cummings James McDonald 0.79L 2 58.5kg $6
4 3 REMARQUE Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Tommy Berry 1.21L 1 58.5kg $5
5 2 MAZU Joseph Pride Jason Collett 1.25L 3 58.5kg $5.50
6 1 PRIVATE EYE Joseph Pride Nash Rawiller 1.55L 7 58.5kg $2.30F
7 7 HOW’S THE SERENITY Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Tyler Schiller 4.22L 6 56.5kg $101

Table Credit: Racing Australia.

2024 Challenge Stakes Betting Odds

This autumn’s top Challenge Stakes 2024 betting odds will be available below complete with pricing from Ladbrokes.com.au as soon as betting on the TJ Smith Stakes lead-up opens.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST 2024 CHALLENGE STAKES ODDS (Final Field)

2024 Challenge Stakes Form Guide

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL 2024 CHALLENGE STAKES FORM GUIDE

2024 Challenge Stakes Tips

Stay tuned for our insider Challenge Stakes 2024 Tips on the important Group 2 autumn sprint this season.

  • To Win: #1 Private Eye ($2.15 at time of publish) – BET NOW

The Challenge Stakes features a typically small field, making Joe Pride’s dual The Everest place-getter, Private Eye, a clear and justifiable favorite. With only six rivals to contend with, he appears well-positioned to secure victory. Coming off a narrow runner-up finish to Imperatriz in the prestigious Black Caviar Lightning, Private Eye boasts fitness and experience. The competition in this race seems less intense, and he returns to his preferred Sydney stomping ground where he excels. His record at Randwick is strong, and while the 1000m distance is sharp, his reputation as a top short-course performer makes him a formidable force. Expect Private Eye to be a dominant contender in this race.

2024 Challenge Stakes Field

The Challenge Stakes field attracts a class line-up of short-distance sprinters chasing the lucrative prize money on offer in the Group 2 including runners down in grade off a Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) start over the same metres at Flemington earlier in the autumn.

The 2018 Challenge Stakes winner Redzel was the last to come off the Black Caviar Lightning improving on his second to salute for the punters as the odds-on favourite. In 2020 Nature Strip ran fourth in the Black Caviar Lightning before atoning to win the Challenge Stakes, Redzel placing second in both races.

In 2022 Eduardo improved on a lead-up Black Caviar Lightning third to successfully defend his Challenge Stakes title. Eduardo returned for a second in the 2023 Challenge Stakes the following year.

The 2024 Challenge Stakes field will be provided by Racing NSW  on the Wednesday of race week.

Two-time The Everest placed Private Eye is back in Sydney second-up as the short-priced favourite in a small Challenge Stakes 2024 field on Randwick Guineas Day.

No Last 10 Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Probable Weight Penalty Hcp Rating
1 x405x132x2 PRIVATE EYE Joseph Pride Nash Rawiller 7 58.5kg 116
2 5363x9054x MAZU Joseph Pride Jason Collett 3 58.5kg 110
3 18x147x15x REMARQUE Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Tommy Berry 1 58.5kg 108
4 21x154149x AFT CABIN James Cummings James McDonald 2 58.5kg 106
5 133x3506x3 ZAPATEO James Cummings Kerrin McEvoy 4 56.5kg 108
6 111x4x108x PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE Grahame Begg Jordan Childs 5 56.5kg 107
7 x118x2x86x HOW’S THE SERENITY Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Tyler Schiller 6 56.5kg 98

Table Credit: Racing Australia.

2024 Challenge Stakes Nominations

Early nominations for the Challenge Stakes in 2024 close the Monday of race week and will be updated below once confirmed.

Challenge Stakes History

The first recorded winning of the AJC Challenge Stakes took place in 1966 when Tar Girl won with a finishing time of 58.5 seconds. Since then, the race has recorded a number of triple and double winners including English (2016-17), Star Of Florida in 2003-04, Cangronde in 1997-98, At Sea from 1985 to 1987, and Razor Sharp from 1982 to 1984.

See below for the full Challenge Stakes results dating back to 2000.

In 2018 Redzel set a Challenge Stakes winning record saluting in a time of 55.73 seconds. Redzel also ran third in the Challenge Stakes three times (2017, 2019, 2020).

Ball Of Muscle won the 2019 Challenge Stakes at his third attempt in the race.

The 2021 Challenge Stakes winner Eduardo set a new record time saluting in a slick 55.2 seconds when defeating the previous year’s champion and subsequent 2021 The Everest hero Nature Strip.

The Challenge Stakes result in 2022 nearly saw one of the biggest upsets in Australian sprinting history with Shelby Sixtysix ($61) running into second behind the back-to-back winner Eduardo and forcing the beaten odds-on favourite Nature Strip to finish third.

Passive Aggressive (2022-23) is the latest two-time Challenge Stakes winner.

Recent Challenge Stakes Winners

Year Place Horse Time
2024
Challenge Stakes
1st Passive Aggressive 56.61 seconds
2nd Zapateo
3rd Aft Cabin
2023
Challenge Stakes
1st Passive Aggressive 57. 19 seconds
2nd Eduardo
3rd Giga Kick
2022
Challenge Stakes
1st Eduardo 59.06 seconds
2nd Shelby Sixtysix
3rd Nature Strip
2021
Challenge Stakes
1st Eduardo 55.2 seconds (R)
2nd Nature Strip
3rd Bella Vella
2020
Challenge Stakes
1st Nature Strip 56.87 seconds
2nd Redzel
3rd Jungle Edge
2019
Challenge Stakes
1st Ball Of Muscle 55.78 seconds
2nd Redzel
3rd Viridine
2018
Challenge Stakes
1st Redzel 55.73 seconds
2nd Jungle Edge
3rd Super Too
2017
Challenge Stakes
1st English 59.99 seconds
2nd Redzel
3rd Supido
2016
Challenge Stakes
1st English 56.5 seconds
2nd Kinglike
3rd Boss Lane
2015
Challenge Stakes
1st Miracles Of Life 56.7 seconds
2nd Va Pensiero
3rd Rubick
2014
Challenge Stakes
1st Villa Verde 57.30 seconds
2nd Snitzerland
3rd Famous Seamus
2013
Challenge Stakes
1st Snitzerland 56.16 seconds
2nd Decision Time
3rd Howmuchdoyouloveme
2012
Challenge Stakes
1st Rain Affair 1:03.7 seconds
2nd Satin Shoes
3rd Neeson
2011
Challenge Stakes
1st Hay List 56.8 seconds
2nd Keen Commander
3rd Solar Charged
2010
Challenge Stakes
1st De Lightning Ridge 55.92 seconds
2nd Dorf Command
3rd Stryker
2009
Challenge Stakes
1st Olonana 56.92 seconds
2nd Hoystar
3rd Fantene
2008
Challenge Stakes
1st Hurried Choice 57.35 seconds
2nd Keen Commander
3rd German Chocolate
2007
Challenge Stakes
1st Spark Of Life 56.89 seconds
2nd Whoever
3rd Biscayne Bay
2006
Challenge Stakes
1st Snitzel 56.8 seconds
2nd Spark Of Life
3rd Media
2005
Challenge Stakes
1st Impaler 56.25 seconds
2nd Snippetson
3rd Charge Forward
2004
Challenge Stakes
1st Star Of Florida 56.39 seconds
2nd Mistegic
3rd Majestic Fiesta
2003
Challenge Stakes
1st Star Of Florida 56.58 seconds
2nd Snowland
3rd Fair Embrace
2002
Challenge Stakes
1st Bomber Bill 56.54 seconds
2nd Mistegic
3rd Ateates
2001
Challenge Stakes
1st Pimpala Prince 59.24 seconds
2nd Ateates
3rd Notoire
2000
Challenge Stakes
1st Easy Rocking 56.90 seconds
2nd Ab Initio
3rd Adam

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