It’s a busy couple of months coming up for racing fans with the Melbourne and Sydney Autumn Carnivals set to spring to life as some of Australia’s greatest horses – including the magic mare Winx – bid to land some of Australia’s best prizes.
Blue Diamond Stakes Day at Caulfield on Saturday, February 24 steps up the big races action and it is non-stop through to mid-April with Group 1s galore. And for the Autumn Carnival you want the Australian racing best bets to be backing to make it a profitable few months.
After the best two-year-olds clash in the Blue Diamond, all eyes will be on Randwick and the Chipping Norton Stakes when Winx makes her first start of the campaign. Having had a change of plan when Hugh Bowman was suspended for Apollo Stakes Day, Winx now bids to extend that winning run on March 3, the same day Flemington hosts Australian Guineas Day.
The following week (March 10) it is Group 1 double headers in both Sydney and Melbourne with the Randwick Guineas and Canterbury Stakes topping the bill in New South Wales and the Australian Cup, in which Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling could return, and the Newmarket Handicap headlining Flemington’s programme.
Coolmore Classic Day at Rosehill is the only Group 1 on March 17 before the final top level race of the Autumn in Victoria is staged under the lights at Moonee Valley with the William Reid Stakes on March 23.
Golden Slipper Stakes Day at Rosehill the following afternoon (March 24) is a must-see with the best two-years old going around clashing for the time-honoured feature. Who will be celebrating victory in Rosehill’s best race of the year? Joining it on a bumper afternoon of Group 1 action is the George Ryder Stakes, Ranvet Stakes, The Galaxy and the Rosehill Guineas on what is always a top day in Sydney and should likely include an appearance from Winx.
The BMW and Vinery Stud Stakes complete the Group 1 racing at Rosehill for the Autumn when they are held on March before all roads lead to Randwick for The Championships, once again staged over two Saturdays this year with eight Group 1s to look forward to.
On April 7, it is the Doncaster Mile which tops the bill and it promises to be another cracker of a race. The best sprinters clash in the TJ Smith and the three-year-old stayers battle it out to be crowned Australian Derby champion. The two-year-olds, meanwhile, collide in the Inglis Sires.
Day two of The Championships on April 14 also features four Group 1s with the jewel of the crown being the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, which could yet see Winx in the field. The Sydney Cup, Australian Oaks and Coolmore Legacy or Queen of the Turf Stakes, depending how you want to call it, completing the action for the two-day series.
The final Group 1s of the Autumn are back at Randwick on April 21 as the All Aged Stakes and Champagne Stakes bring the curtain down on three months of top class racing.