Racing NSW and the Australian Turf Club have announced a momentous change to the Sydney autumn racing program, heralding a grand finale event towards the end of the Southern Hemisphere Thoroughbred racing season. The Championships is an initiative of Racing NSW, to be hosted annually by the Australian Turf Club at Royal Randwick. 

The Championships, through the support of the NSW Government, is expected to attract horses, trainers and connections from across Australia and the world, providing a significant boost to the NSW economy.

The Championships will comprise ten ‘Championship’ races across two consecutive Saturdays beginning on Saturday April 12 and culminating on Easter Saturday, April 19. The program is a combination of well established, traditional races plus relocated races from other dates in the wider autumn carnival period. In total there are eight Group One events highlighting the spectacular card of world class racing.

Over $18 million in prizemoney will be won over the two headline days of autumn making The Championships one of the richest racing carnivals in the world. On the first Saturday, The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) will be worth $3 million, while the Darley TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) is now $2.5 million and the BMW Australian Derby (2400m) offers $2 million in prizemoney.

The Group One Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) becomes a $4 million race on the second day with three $1 million and two $500,000 Championship races.

Minister for Racing, George Souris said this is a truly exciting time to be involved in Thoroughbred Racing in New South Wales.

“The NSW Government is pleased to have contributed $10 million to the event,” said Mr Souris. “The Championships will generate more than $41 million to the economy of NSW, increasing further as the event gains momentum.

"We have chosen this path to help ensure funds accumulated from Race Fields fees are preserved for use in country and provincial areas.

“We have selected three iconic races and enhanced them to make them the richest of their type in the world, these are the Star Doncaster Mile, the world’s richest mile race now worth $3 million, the Darley TJ Smith Stakes, the world’s richest open sprint race at $2.5 million and on day two the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, at $4 million becoming the world’s richest 2000 metre turf race,” said Mr Souris.

“Sydney is our global city and offers a stunning backdrop to any sporting event. There’s no better place to stage The Championships.”

Racing NSW Chairman Mr John Messara believes that The Championships will become one of the most competitive carnivals in the world for local, national and international participants.

“We have identified ten Championship races across various age and distance ranges which are the highlight of these two days. Some of these races become the richest of their category in Australia and the world,” said Mr Messara.

“Eight of those races are already Group One events and with the injection of almost $10 million, this program will lure the finest horses from Australia and New Zealand and from other countries across the globe. Our goal is for this to become the greatest event for racing in the Southern Hemisphere.”

Chairman of ATC, Mr John Cornish said Royal Randwick was already being rated a world-class venue with its new grandstand and surrounding redevelopment and was ready to host one of the biggest racing carnivals on the international stage.Left: Racing NSW Chairman John Messara

“What an exciting trifecta, The Championships, Royal Randwick and Sydney being showcased to the world,” said Mr Cornish.

The Championships CEO, Mr Ian Mackay said Racing NSW and ATC were looking forward to putting on an event that is as memorable and exciting as other great sporting occasions in Australia.

“Royal Randwick is one of the world’s great racecourses and it now has an event worthy of its status,” Mr Mackay added.

In addition to the almost $10 million increase across the two Saturdays of The Championships, a further $2.3 million has been added to key lead up events.

Adding to the eight races at the most elite level, the Royal Sovereign Stakes and the Princess Stakes (previously Keith Mackay) join the list to make the ten Championship events.

The Rosehill Gardens component of the carnival also receives a boost, with the George Ryder Stakes moving a week earlier to Rosehill Guineas Day and gaining a $600,000 increase in prizemoney to $1 million. The world’s richest race for two-year-old horses, the iconic $3.5 million Tooheys New Golden Slipper will take place on Saturday April 5 and will continue to foster the future champions of Thoroughbred racing.