Day one of The Championships may have been postponed 48 hours to Easter Monday due to wet weather on Saturday, but it was worth the wait for the 11,576 punters on course and those watching around the country, reports Racing NSW.

The grand finals of Australian racing didn’t disappoint as a number of nail-biting finishes occurred as horses raced for more than $9 million in prizemoney over 10 races.

Emotions were running high early on for Artlee’s connections after he won The Championships Country Series Final for trainer Todd Willan, with Mitchell Bell on board.

The Group 1 racing was exciting all day, starting off with Pride Of Dubai’s win in the Inglis Sires' for trainers Peter and Paul Snowden jockey Hugh Bowman’s first win in the race at his 10th attempt.



Left: Hugh Bowman drives Pride of Dubai home in the Inglis Sires' on day one of The Championships at Royal Randwick

"I’ve never cheered so hard in my life,” co-trainer Paul Snowden said. "Full credit to the horse. He was emptied out at the furlong but fought back.”

Mongolian Khan, trained by Murray Baker, backed up his win in the New Zealand Derby to take out the BMW ATC Australian Derby in another close finish from Godolphin horse Hauraki. “The owners are keen to run him in the Melbourne Cup,” Baker said.

Just 40 minutes later Chautauqua won a thrilling Darley TJ Smith Stakes by a nose to Lord Of The Sky. The Team Hawkes-trained Chautauqua won his first Group 1 after coming from last on the turn for jockey Tommy Berry.

“I got into a bit of an awkward spot on the turn but it’s nice to see them let down like that on a wet track,” Berry said.

Chris Waller continued his love affair with The Star Doncaster Mile when Kermadec beat Japanese raider Real Impact in the $3m feature. it was Waller’s fifth Doncaster Mile and for jockey Glen Boss it was his sixth success in the event. “That was a soft victory and he’s a really good colt,” Boss said.

TAB turnover was better than expected according to Craig Nugent, Chief Operating Officer for TAB with punters wagering $14.5m.

“It was a pleasing result given that we went from a Saturday to a Monday. Revenue was very strong and it sets itself up for a huge day two,” Nugent said. “It exceeded where we thought we’d be.”

Racing NSW Chief Executive Officer, Peter V’landys AM couldn’t have been happier with how the rescheduled first day of The Championships turned out.

“It’s been an exciting day of racing. It was a shame that the weather played such havoc but the racing has been great,” Mr V’landys said. “It’s lived up to the grand finals of Australian racing.”

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