Festival Stakes

The Group 3 Festival Stakes is run at Rosehill Gardens during the Sydney Summer Racing Carnival as a lead-up to the Villiers Stakes.

2023 Festival Stakes Results

  • 1st: #7 Phearson
  • 2nd: #14 Williamsburg
  • 3rd: #2 Rustic Steel



The 2023 Festival Stakes is a Group 3 race run at Rosehill Gardens in late November or early December during the Sydney Summer Racing Carnival.

The quality handicap race is run over 1500m, offers $250,000 in prize money and takes place on the same Saturday as Perth’s $1.5 million Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).

Horses running in the Festival Stakes field can come via a host of different lead-ups including Melbourne races run over the spring such as the Group 3 Chatham Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on Champions Stakes Day.

The Festival Stakes serves as a nice lead-up race to the old Villiers Stakes (1600m), now run over the mile at Royal Randwick a fortnight later as the $2 million The Ingham Stakes – and the Group 3 Summer Cup (2000m) back at Randwick on Boxing Day in late December.

Monton (2011) was the last horse to complete the Festival Stakes – Villiers Stakes double, while the 2018 Festival Stakes winner My Nordic Hero ran third in the Villiers next start.

More recently the 2021 Festival Stakes winner Ellsberg ran a next-up second in the Villiers Stakes results. He returned in 2022 and further franked the form with a third in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes in the autumn before an outstanding spring saluting in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) in a dead-heat with Top Ranked before completing the Five Diamonds Prelude – $2 million Five Diamonds double.

In 2023 the Ingham Stakes winner, Kirwan’s Lane, won the lucrative summer feature on the back of a third in that year’s Festival Stakes results.

The Festival Stakes 2023 ran on Saturday December 2, 2023 at Rosehill Gardens offering $250,000 in prize money and was won in an upset photo thriller by the consistent Phearson ($17). 

2023 Festival Stakes
Date: Saturday December 2, 2023
Track: Rosehill Racecourse
Distance: 1500m
Race Type: Quality Handicap
Status: Group 3
Prize Money: $250,000

2023 Festival Stakes Results

  • 1st: #7 Phearson ($17)
  • 2nd: #14 Williamsburg
  • 3rd: #2 Rustic Steel

Brad Widdup’s in-form Exosphere six-year-old Phearson ($17) survived a protest to hang on to his narrow victory in the Festival Stakes 2023 results in Sydney.

Finish No. Horse Trainer Jockey Margin Bar. Weight Penalty Starting Price
1 7 PHEARSON Brad Widdup Tom Sherry 3 54kg $17
2 14 WILLIAMSBURG Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou Tyler Schiller 0.06L 11 53kg $8
3 2 RUSTIC STEEL Kris Lees Sam Clipperton 0.73L 4 57.5kg $4.40EF
4 13 SUPERIUM Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Jett Stanley (a) 1.06L 9 53kg $71
5 18 TAZARAL (IRE) Peter & Paul Snowden Zac Lloyd (a) 1.49L 5 53kg $11
6 17 GREBENI Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou Kerrin McEvoy 3.27L 7 53kg $4.40EF
7 4 DAJRAAN (GB) Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott Tim Clark 4.54L 8 54kg $21
8 11 MILITARY EXPERT Annabel Neasham Ms Rachel King 6.7L 6 53.5kg $12
9 5 FINEPOINT Chris Waller Regan Bayliss 7.01L 1 54kg $5.50
10 3 BANJU Lyle Chandler Reece Jones 9.32L 10 55kg $26
11 8 FELIX MAJESTIC Gary Nickson Jason Collett 10.59L 2 54kg $9.50
16 GLINT OF SILVER David Pfieffer Dylan Gibbons (a) 0
1 VILANA James Cummings Nash Rawiller 0
15 ACQUITTED (IRE) Kris Lees Jay Ford 0
9 JAMBEROO Diane Poidevin Laine Peter Wells 0
6 RUBAMOS Chris Waller Tommy Berry 0
12 LOVE TAP Richard & Will Freedman 0
10 CHASE MY CROWN Wayne Wilkes 0

Table Credit: Racing Australia. 

2023 Festival Stakes Betting Odds

The latest Festival Stakes odds will be listed below with pricing links to Ladbrokes.com.au for you to lock in your Festival Stakes Tips at the right price this summer racing season.

Rainer ($6EF) followed by Ellsberg ($2.40 in 2021) are the latest Festival Stakes favourites (or equal favourites) to salute for the punters.

There was a notable upset in 2023 with Phearson saluting at Festival Stakes odds of $17.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST 2023 FESTIVAL STAKES ODDS (Final Field)

2023 Festival Stakes Form Guide

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL 2023 FESTIVAL STAKES FORM GUIDE

2023 Festival Stakes Tips

Stay tuned for our insider Festival Stakes 2023 Tips on the Ingham Stakes lead-up this spring-summer racing season.

  • To Win: #17 Grebeni ($3.90 at time of publish) – BET NOW

Large field and plenty of livewire Festival Stakes hopes this season but sticking with Grebeni coming off a confidence-boosting win in the Goulburn Cup (1400m) at the start of the month. Ultra-consistent Ocean Park four-year-old who has a great record here at Rosehill with two wins from three starts at the track. Carried plenty more weight for some good wins in the winter, is a Group 3 place-getter, and is fit now third-up ready to fire with just 53kg and Kerrin McEvoy aboard.

2023 Festival Stakes Field

The Festival Stakes field attracts a diverse line-up of summer gallopers many of which are heading towards a run in the season’s Villiers Stakes (now The Ingham Stakes) over the Randwick mile and is released on the Wednesday before the race.

The official 2023 Festival Stakes field and barriers will be published below as soon as announced by Racing NSW.

The Festival Stakes 2023 final field features a big line-up of Sydney summer hopefuls led in betting by the Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou-trained Grebeni following the early scratching of the James Cummings-trained top-weight Vilana

No Last 10 Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Probable Weight Penalty Hcp Rating
1 0x1760x568 VILANA James Cummings Nash Rawiller 3 59kg 107
2 1x88610x75 RUSTIC STEEL Kris Lees Sam Clipperton 6 57.5kg 104
3 112x19x007 BANJU Lyle Chandler Reece Jones 15 55kg 99
4 3x0x10x7x0 DAJRAAN (GB) Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott Tim Clark 13 54kg 97
5 0x330003x3 FINEPOINT Chris Waller Regan Bayliss 1 54kg 91
6 422x57x536 RUBAMOS Chris Waller Tommy Berry 10 54kg 55kg 91
7 x10212x023 PHEARSON Brad Widdup Tom Sherry 5 54kg 83
8 x800x41161 FELIX MAJESTIC Gary Nickson Jason Collett 2 54kg 80
9 7317x7x132 JAMBEROO Diane Poidevin Laine Peter Wells 18 54kg 69
10 4213544143 CHASE MY CROWN Wayne Wilkes 8 54kg 67
11 2370x036x6 MILITARY EXPERT Annabel Neasham Ms Rachel King 9 53.5kg 96
12 x10x735x05 LOVE TAP Richard & Will Freedman 16 53kg 93
13 8795×96318 SUPERIUM Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Jett Stanley (a) 14 53kg 93
14 5303×42960 WILLIAMSBURG Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou Tyler Schiller 17 53kg 92
15 41035720×2 ACQUITTED (IRE) Kris Lees Jay Ford 12 53kg 91
16 2127×63402 GLINT OF SILVER David Pfieffer Dylan Gibbons (a) 4 53kg 86
17 3x21113x01 GREBENI Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou Kerrin McEvoy 11 53kg 86
18 x630x1126x TAZARAL (IRE) Peter & Paul Snowden Zac Lloyd (a) 7 53kg 84

Table Credit: Racing Australia.

2023 Festival Stakes Nominations

The Festival Stakes nominations are taken the Monday prior to the race and are the first indication of what middle-distance gallopers will take to the track for the handicap clash in early December.

Last 10 Horse Sex Age Trainer Ballot Weight True Weight Penalty Hcp Rating
1 x08x3x907x LAUDA SION (JPN) H 7 Chris Waller 1= 59kg 59kg 107
2 0x1760x568 VILANA H 5 James Cummings 1= 59kg 59kg 107
3 9187×07714 NEW MANDATE (IRE) G 6 Chris Waller 3 58.5kg 58.5kg 106
4 1x88610x75 RUSTIC STEEL G 6 Kris Lees 4 57.5kg 57.5kg 104
5 043×200330 SKYMAN (GB) G 8 Chris Waller 5 57kg 57kg 103
6 112x19x007 BANJU G 7 Lyle Chandler 6 55kg 55kg 99
7 3x0x10x7x0 DAJRAAN (GB) H 6 Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott 7 54kg 54kg 97
8 2370x036x6 MILITARY EXPERT G 5 Annabel Neasham 8 54kg 53.5kg 96
9 x10x735x05 LOVE TAP G 6 Richard & Will Freedman 9= 54kg 53kg 93
10 8795×96318 SUPERIUM G 7 Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes 9= 54kg 53kg 93
11 43024265×2 KEATS (IRE) G 7 Gavin Bedggood 11= 54kg 53kg 92
12 5303×42960 WILLIAMSBURG H 4 Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou 11= 54kg 53kg 92
13 41035720×2 ACQUITTED (IRE) G 7 Kris Lees 13= 54kg 53kg 91
14 0x330003x3 FINEPOINT M 5 Chris Waller 13= 54kg 53kg 91
15 422x57x536 RUBAMOS G 6 Chris Waller 13= 54kg 53kg 91
16 2127×63402 GLINT OF SILVER G 4 David Pfieffer 16= 54kg 53kg 86
17 3x21113x01 GREBENI G 4 Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou 16= 54kg 53kg 86
18 x630x1126x TAZARAL (IRE) G 6 Peter & Paul Snowden 18 54kg 53kg 84
19 x10212x023 PHEARSON G 6 Brad Widdup 19 54kg 53kg 83
20 43501458×6 ITA M 6 Bjorn Baker 20 54kg 53kg 81
21 x800x41161 FELIX MAJESTIC G 4 Gary Nickson 21 54kg 53kg 80
22 7317x7x132 JAMBEROO G 4 Diane Poidevin Laine 22 54kg 53kg 69
23 4213544143 CHASE MY CROWN M 6 Wayne Wilkes 23 54kg 53kg 67

Table Credit: Racing Australia. 

Festival Stakes History

The Festival Stakes was first run in 1948 and won by Cragside. Since then a number of quality contenders have taken out the Sydney showdown including Headstrong (1994), Ike’s Dream (2004), Monton (2011), I’m Imposing (2014) and inaugural Five Diamonds winner the following spring Ellsberg (2021).

The event has run at both Rosehill Racecourse as well as Canterbury Park and has also undergone a number of distance changes. It has been run over its current 1500m distance since 2008. It was inaugurated as a Principal race before gaining Listed status in 1979 – 2015. The Festival Stakes was elevated to a Group 3 race for the first time in 2016.

Recent Festival Stakes Winners

See below for the full list of Festival Stakes winners and results going back to 2000.

Year Place Horse Time
2023
Festival Stakes
1st Phearson 1 minute 29.04 seconds
2nd Williamsburg
3rd Rustic Steel
2022
Festival Stakes
1st Dajraan 1 minute 27.96 seconds
2nd Mirra Vision
3rd Kirwan’s Lane
2021
Festival Stakes
1st Ellsberg 1 minute 32.04 seconds
2nd Stockman
3rd Bandersnatch
2020
Festival Stakes
1st Outrageous  1 minute 29.25 seconds
2nd Royal Celebration
3rd Evalina
2019
Festival Stakes
1st Ranier 1 minute 29.46 seconds
2nd Live And Free
3rd Cellarman
2018
Festival Stakes
1st My Nordic Hero 1 minute 29.10 seconds
2nd Goodfella
3rd Chamois Road
2017
Festival Stakes
1st Testashadow 1 minute 31.67 seconds
2nd Mister Sea Wolf
3rd Red Excitement
2016
Festival Stakes
1st Sweet Redemption 1 minute 29.63 seconds
2nd Hazzabeel
3rd Red Excitement
2015
Festival Stakes
1st Mighty Lucky 1 minute 29.49 seconds
2nd It’s Somewhat
3rd Peace Force
2014
Festival Stakes
1st I’m Imposing 1 minute 28.51 seconds
2nd Estonian Princess
3rd Strawberry Boy
2013
Festival Stakes
1st White Sage 1 minute 30.0 seconds
2nd Terravista
3rd Alma’s Fury
2012
Festival Stakes
1st Malavio 1 minute 28.72 seconds
2nd Monton
3rd Galah
2011
Festival Stakes
1st Monton 1 minute 28.63 seconds
2nd Lightinthenite
3rd Viva Las
2010
Festival Stakes
1st Race Not Run
2nd
3rd
2009
Festival Stakes
1st Rabbuka 1 minute 28.72 seconds
2nd Parfumier
3rd Ahdashim
2008 (December)
Festival Stakes
1st Voice Commander 1 minute 29.25 seconds
2nd Synonym
3rd Theophorus
2008 (January)
Festival Stakes
1st Eremein 1 minute 33.92 seconds
2nd Lancaster Park
3rd Beauty Watch
2007
Festival Stakes
1st Race Not Run
2nd
3rd
2006
Festival Stakes
1st Utzon 1 minute 22.69 seconds
2nd Anwaar
3rd Real Strike
2005
Festival Stakes
1st Spirit Of Tara 1 minute 24.83 seconds
2nd Our Apache
3rd Benedetti
2004
Festival Stakes
1st Ike’s Dream 1 minute 21.82 seconds
2nd Sam Sung A Song
3rd Rinehart
2003
Festival Stakes
1st This Manshood 1 minute 22.69 seconds
2nd Palladium Star
3rd Salagado
2002
Festival Stakes
1st This Manshood 1 minute 23.98 seconds
2nd Gabfest
3rd Raw Instinct
2001
Festival Stakes
1st Nanny Maroon 1 minute 22.35 seconds
2nd Play Station
3rd Osca Warrior
2000
Festival Stakes
1st Adam 1 minute 17.02 seconds
2nd Mr. Innocent
3rd Steel City

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