Challenge Stakes 2024

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.

2022 Challenge Stakes Winner Eduardo

2022 Challenge Stakes winner Eduardo. Photo: Steve Hart | Ladbrokes

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.

Eduardo, who set a new record time winning the race in 2021 of 55.2 seconds, backed-up next start to become the latest winner of the Challenge Stakes – The Galaxy double.

The Joe Pride-trained Eduardo returned in 2022 to successfully defend his title in the Challenge Stakes when narrowly holding on to defeat roughie hope Shelby Sixtysix, while Nature Strip finished third as the beaten odds-on favourite.

Eduardo went on to run second to Nature Strip in that year’s TJ Smith Stakes results, while Nature Strip further franked the form with a huge 4.5 length win in the UK’s Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes later that year.

Eduardo was narrowly denied a third straight Challenge Stakes victory when running second in a photo-finish by a nose to Passive Aggressive in 2023.

Passive Aggressive meanwhile was back in 2024 to emulate Eduardo in going back-to-back in the Challenge Stakes.

The latest edition of the Challenge Stakes took place on Saturday March 9, 2024 as a key TJ Smith Stakes lead-up and was won first-up by the defending champion Passive Aggressive ($7.50) off a good late run under the guidance of jockey Jordan Childs.   

2024 Challenge Stakes Results

The full Challenge Stakes 2024 Results & Finishing Order will be detailed right here when the race is run and won on Saturday March 9, 2024.

2024 Challenge Stakes winner Passive Aggressive

2024 Challenge Stakes winner Passive Aggressive successfully defended her title in the lucrative Group 2 sprint first-up. Photo: Steve Hart.

  • 1st: #6 Passive Aggressive
  • 2nd: #5 Zapateo
  • 3rd: #4 Aft Cabin

Passive Aggressive ($7.50) joined Eduardo (2021-22) as the latest back-to-back Challenge Stakes winners racing in the Group 2 first-up and flashing home down the outside late to win again for trainer Grahame Begg.

2024 Challenge Stakes Odds

The latest Challenge Stakes 2024 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 2024 Challenge Stakes will be displayed below once available. Odds are subject to fluctuation. For current odds on all of our live markets, please visit

Challenge Stakes Race Info

  • Date: Saturday March 9, 2024
  • Track: Royal Randwick Racecourse
  • Distance: 1000m
  • Conditions: Weight-for-age
  • Status: Group 2
  • Prize Money: $500,000
  • First Run: 1906

Challenge Stakes 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.

In 2023 the previous spring’s The Everest winning three-year-old Giga Kick ran a solid first-up third in the 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 run second to Eduardo ($8.50). He later beat Eduardo (3rd) when winning the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes that autumn. The two star sprinters also finished first (Nature Strip) and third (Eduardo) in that spring’s $15 million The Everest race.

Nature Strip was odds-on again in 2022 Challenge Stakes betting but only managed to run third behind Eduardo who went back-to-back in the event and surprise runner-up at blowout odds Shelby Sixtysix.

In 2023 Eduardo was favourite to successfully add a third Challenge Stakes title to his record but only managed to run second behind upset winner Passive Aggressive who won at $7.50.

Passive Aggressive won again in 2024 going back-to-back at the same price in Challenge Stakes betting – $7.50.

Challenge Stakes Field

Challenge Stakes betting open at

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 race 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 defence in the Challenge Stakes, but ran second as the beaten $1.95 top elect to Eduardo.

Eduardo won the Challenge Stakes again in 2022 improving on a lead-up third in the Black Caviar Lightning.

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.

2024 Challenge Stakes Field

The official Challenge Stakes 2024 Field & Barriers will be provided below once final acceptances by Racing NSW have been released on the Wednesday of race week.

The 2024 Challenge Stakes final field features just seven final acceptors with the Joe Pride-trained two-time The Everest placed Private Eye the one to beat second-up back in Sydney.

2024 Challenge Stakes Nominations

The early Challenge Stakes 2024 Nominations will be updated here once confirmed by Racing NSW the Monday leading-up to the race.

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.

2024 Challenge Stakes Tips

Our Ladbrokes’ insider Challenge Stakes tips 2024 will be detailed below the week of the race giving you the best bets to place on the race this autumn.

  • To Win: #1 Private Eye ($2.15 at time of publish) – BET NOW

Typically small and open Challenge Stakes field in Sydney with Joe Pride’s dual The Everest place-getter Private Eye the deserving and hard to beat favourite. Only six rivals for him to defeat and he presents fitter second-up. Resumed when runner-up by a tight margin behind nine-time Group 1 winning mare Imperatriz in Flemington’s Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m). This is easier and he returns to Sydney where he races his best. Plenty of form at the Randwick track. The distance is sharp, but he’s a noted short distance performer. Will win.

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.

2023 Challenge Stakes Winner Passive Aggressive

2023 Challenge Stakes winner Passive Aggressive was too strong late lunging to win the Group 2 first-up. Photo: Steve Hart.

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.

The 2021 Challenge Stakes form was firmly franked with Eduardo going on to win the Group 1 The Galaxy next-up before a third to the Challenge Stakes runner-up that year Nature Strip in the TJ Smith Stakes. Eduardo also won the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 in the winter and was excellent over the spring including his third to Nature Strip in the 2021 The Everest results.

Nature Strip meanwhile travelled to the UK for Royal Ascot 2022 and won the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes by nearly five lengths. Shelby Sixtysix also franked the Challenge Stakes form improving on his shock second in the Group 2 to win that autumn’s The Galaxy.

Third placed Giga Kick, winner of the previous spring’s The Everest, franked the 2023 Challenge Stakes form with a second in that autumn’s TJ Smith Stakes quinella before winning the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m). He also scored another Group 1 win that winter taking out the Doomben 10,000 in Queensland.

2024 Challenge Stakes Form Guide

A link to our comprehensive Challenge Stakes 2024 Form Guide will be available below the week of the race for punters.

Challenge Stakes Results

The Challenge Stakes race 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 Eduardo (2021 & 2022), Nature Strip (2020), Redzel (2018), Miracles Of Life (2015), Rain Affair (2012) the ill-fated Hay List (2011), and subsequent star sire Snitzel (2006).

Dual champion Passive Aggressive (2023-24) was the last mare to win the Challenge Stakes.

English for her first of two wins in 2016 was the last three-year-old Challenge Stakes winner.

Eduardo holds the current Challenge Stakes race record and 1000m Randwick track record for his 2021 win in 55:20 seconds.

Challenge Stakes Winners

Past Challenge Stakes winners and place-getters dating back to the year 2000 are detailed in the below table.

Year Winner 2nd 3rd Time
2024 Passive Aggressive Zapateo Aft Cabin 0:56.61
2023 Passive Aggressive Eduardo Giga Kick 0:57.19
2022 Eduardo Shelby Sixtysix Nature Strip 0:59.06
2021 Eduardo Nature Strip Bella Vella 0:55.2 (R)
2020 Nature Strip Redzel Jungle Edge 0:56.8
2019 Ball of Muscle Redzel Viridine 0.55.7
2018 Redzel Jungle Edge Super Too 0:55.7
2017 English Redzel Supido 0:59.9
2016 English Kinglike Boss Lane 0:56.5
2015 Miracles Of Life Va Pensiero Rubick 0:56.7
2014 Villa Verde Snitzerland Famous Seamus 0:57.3
2013 Snitzerland Decision Time Howmuchdoyouloveme 0:56.1
2012 Rain Affair Satin Shoes Neeson 1:03.7
2011 Hay List Keen Commander Solar Charged 0:56.8
2010 De Lightning Ridge Dorf Command Stryker 0:55.9
2009 Olonana Hoystar Fantene 0:56.9
2008 Hurried Choice Keen Commander German Chocolate 0:57.3
2007 Spark Of Life Whoever Biscayne Bay 0:56.8
2006 Snitzel Spark of Life Media 0:56.8
2005 Impaler Snippetson Charge Forward 0:56.2
2004 Star Of Florida Mistegic Majestic Fiesta 0:56.3
2003 Star Of Florida Snowland Fair Embrace 0:56.5
2002 Bomber Bill Mistegic Ateates 0:56.5
2001 Pimpala Prince Ateates Notoire 0:59.2
2000 Easy Rocking Ab Initio Adam 0:56.9