Ladbrokes Tip: The Challenge Stakes is a classic lead-up to the Group 1 The Galaxy every autumn
The Challenge Stakes is a Group 2 support race run at Randwick Racecourse on Royal Randwick Guineas Day on a Saturday in early – mid March each Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
The meeting is headlined by the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m). Run over a short distance sprint of 1000m, the Challenge Stakes offers a total of $500,000 in prize money including just shy of $300,000 to the winner.
The race is run at weight-for-age conditions and is open to gallopers aged three-years-old and above. The Challenge Stakes winner is exempt from ballot for both the upcoming Group 1 The Galaxy and the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes later in the autumn. Nature Strip (2020) was the last horse to complete the Challenge Stakes – TJ Smith Stakes double.
The latest edition of the Challenge Stakes took place on Saturday March 6, 2021 and saw Eduardo salute in an upset setting a new record time of 55.2 seconds.
Challenge Stakes Race Info
- Date: Saturday March 6, 2021
- Track: Royal Randwick Racecourse
- Distance: 1000m
- Conditions: Weight-for-age
- Status: Group 2
- Prize Money: $500,000
- First Run: 1906
2021 Challenge Stakes Results
The full Challenge Stakes 2021 Results & Finishing Order will be detailed right here when the race is run and won on Saturday March 6, 2021.
- 1st: #2 Eduardo
- 2nd: #1 Nature Strip
- 3rd: #7 Bella Vella
Eduardo set a new race record time of 55.2 seconds when defeating the defending champion Nature Strip in an upset 2021 Challenge Stakes result.
Challenge Stakes Odds & Betting
Challenge Stakes betting markets open the week of the race are led by the standout sprinters from the previous spring that contested races like The Everest. Redzel (2017-2018) became the first horse to do The Everest – Challenge Stakes double.
Redzel was also runner-up in the 2017, 2019 and 2020 Challenge Stakes results.
Horses with proven form over the short 1000m distance often sit high up the Challenge Stakes odds as do those with previous winning records at Randwick.
Favourites have a strong record in the Challenge Stakes and the form often stacks up in later carnival features. Nature Strip ($3.10 in 2020) and Redzel ($1.40 in 2018) are the latest favourites in Challenge Stakes betting to salute for the punters.
In 2021 Nature Strip returned as the $1.95 odds-on favourite only to frun second to Eduardo ($8.50).
2021 Challenge Stakes Betting
The latest Challenge Stakes 2021 odds on the Group 2 sprint taking place at Royal Randwick will be provided below once announced so stay tuned for the best betting markets on the Guineas Day support act.
Early market betting odds on the 2021 Challenge Stakes will be displayed below once available. Odds are subject to fluctuation. For current odds on all of our live markets, please visit ladbrokes.com.au.
Challenge Stakes Field
English won the 2016 Challenge Stakes and later the Group 1 All Aged Stakes back at Royal Randwick that autumn. She also returned and took out the 2017 Challenge Stakes. Photo Credit: Steve Hart.
The Challenge Stakes field attracts the season’s top short-distance sprinters eyeing Group 1 glory later in the carnival.
The top prize money and ballot exemption into The Galaxy and TJ Smith Stakes sees a high-class field face off in the Group 2 and there are plenty of lead-up races into the Challenge Stakes including the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) over the same distance in Melbourne the month before.
In 2018 Redzel improved on a shock loss (2nd) in the Black Caviar Lightning to return to winning form in the Challenge Stakes results. The 2020 Challenge Stakes winner Nature Strip (4th) also improved on a lead-up run in Flemington’s Black Caviar Lightning.
Nature Strip won the 2021 Black Caviar Lightning and started favourite for his title defense in the Challenge Stakes, but ran second as the beaten $1.95 top elect to Eduardo.
Earlier, in 2014 Snitzerland won the Melbourne Group 1 at Flemington before crossing second to Villa Verda as the beaten Challenge Stakes favourite.
Challenge Stakes nominations close on the Monday before the race followed by the final field and barriers out on the Wednesday.
2021 Challenge Stakes Field
The official Challenge Stakes 2021 Field & Barriers will be provided below once final acceptances by Racing NSW have been released on the Wednesday of race week.
Challenge Stakes Tips
Challenge Stakes tips are usually led by proven Group winners with form over 1000 – 1200m in Sydney and or Melbourne.
Many gallopers have Group 1 experience and looking for those runners that have held their own against the best sprinters in the country can be key to Challenge Stakes tipping.
2021 Challenge Stakes Tips
Our Ladbrokes’ insider Challenge Stakes tips 2021 will be detailed below the week of the race giving you the best bets to place on the race this autumn.
- To Win: #1 Nature Strip ($1.45 at time of publish)
If we seen anything from Nature Strip like last start, this is his for the taking. The star sprinter proved exactly why he was last year’s Australian Horse of the Year with the excellent Group 1 Lightning Stakes win fresh over 1000m at HQ. He’s in Sydney this weekend over the same distance in a small eight-horse field and will be extremely hard to beat second-up down in class.
Challenge Stakes Form Guide
The Challenge Stakes form guide lists all of the essential information punters need including barriers, jockeys, trainers and lead-up form. The Challenge Stakes form often holds up later in the carnival with the winner exempt from The Galaxy and TJ Smith Stakes ballot.
In 2012 Rain Affair won the Challenge Stakes before finishing second in both the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) and the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick. The 2013 Challenge Stakes winner Snitzerland went on to finish runner-up in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) and finished second in the following year’s Challenge Stakes.
The following year in 2014 Villa Verda backed up from a Challenge Stakes win to cross third in The Galaxy, as did 2015 Challenge winner Miracles Of Life who then headed to Adelaide and won the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m).
In 2016 English won the Challenge Stakes and went on to finish third in the TJ Smith Stakes before winning the All Aged Stakes (1400m) later that April at Randwick. English also won the 2017 Challenge Stakes before a second in that year’s TJ Smith Stakes results. When chasing a hat-trick, English ran fifth in the 2018 Challenge Stakes results but was runner-up in that season’s The Galaxy next start.
Redzel ran second in both the Challenge Stakes and TJ Smith Stakes in 2017. He improved to win the following year’s Challenge Stakes (2018) before another TJ Smith Stakes second, and also placed runner-up in the 2019 and 2020 Challenge Stakes results.
In 2020 Nature Strip franked the form out of the Challenge Stakes winning both it and the TJ Smith Stakes during ‘The Championships’ in Sydney.
2021 Challenge Stakes Form Guide
A link to our comprehensive Challenge Stakes 2021 Form Guide will be available below the week of the race for punters.
Challenge Stakes Results
The Challenge Stakes results have been dominated by the favourites in recent years and defending champions had a poor record in the race until the successive wins by English (2016-17).
Notable recent Challenge Stakes winners include Nature Strip (2020), Redzel (2018), Miracles Of Life (2015), Rain Affair (2012) the ill-fated Hay List (2011) and subsequent star sire Snitzel (2006).
Challenge Stakes Winners
||Ball of Muscle
||Miracles Of Life
||De Lightning Ridge
||Spark Of Life
||Spark of Life
||Star Of Florida
||Star Of Florida