Champions Mile 2023

Ladbrokes Tip: The Cantala Stakes was renamed the Kennedy Champions Mile in 2022

The Champions Mile, formerly known as the Kennedy Cantala, is a $3 million showdown moved to run on the last day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington from 2022 onwards.

2022 Champions Mile winner Alligator Blood

2022 Champions Mile winner Alligator Blood. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

Run under a host of different names due to sponsorship purposes in recent years, the event is now officially known as the Champions Mile and takes place on the Saturday following the Melbourne Cup, which always runs on the first Tuesday of November each year.

The event was previously known under its registered name, the Cantala Stakes, and was recently been referred to as the Kennedy Cantala due to the sponsorship by luxury retail group Kennedy.

It was held on Victoria Derby Day for a number of years but was moved ahead of the 2022 edition to join the Group 1 $3 million VRC Champions Stakes (2000m) – formerly the Mackinnon Stakes – on VRC Champions Stakes Day at HQ.

The Group 1 $3 million Champions Sprint (1200m) – formerly the VRC Sprint Classic – for The Everest graduates is the other key race on the program.

The Group 3 VRC Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) is the other Group status feature on the card.

The Champions Mile now also offers a lucrative $3 million in prize money as of 2022 and attracts the season’s top local and international milers.

The latest edition of the Cantala Stakes ran as the Kennedy Champions Mile on on Saturday November 11, 2023 as part of the final day of Flemington’s Melbourne Cup Carnival and was won in a stunning all-the-way upset by the previous Saturday’s Empire Rose Stakes winning mare Pride Of Jenni ($13). 

2023 Champions Mile Results

The official Kennedy Cantala 2023 Results & Finishing Order are now officially known as the Champions Mile Results and will be published below when the race takes place on Saturday November 11, 2023 as part of VRC Champions Stakes Day 2023.

2023 Champions Mile Winner Pride Of Jenni

2023 Champions Mile Winner Pride Of Jenni was huge becoming the first mare in history to win the Empire Rose Stakes – Champions Mile double. Photo: Steve Hart.

  • 1st: #7 Pride Of Jenni
  • 2nd: #1 Mr Brightside
  • 3rd: #2 Alligator Blood

The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Pride Of Jenni ($13) was enormous in the lead setting a strong pace up front to go from barrier to box and hold off Mr Brightside and Alligator Blood to record her second Group 1 success in the space of seven days at Flemington in an upset 2023 Champions Mile result on Stakes Day.

2023 Champions Mile Odds

The season’s updated Champions Mile 2023 odds and betting market links will be available below as soon as open so stay tuned for the best Champions Mile betting prices on your favourite spring milers.

Early market betting odds on the 2024 Champions Mile 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.

Champions Mile Race Info

  • Former Race Name: Kennedy Cantala 
  • Date: Saturday November 11, 2023
  • Track: Flemington Racecourse
  • Distance: 1600m
  • Conditions: Weight-for-age
  • Status: Group 1
  • Prize Money: $3 million
  • First Run: 1881 (as the Emirates Stakes); 2022 as the Champions Mile

Champions Mile Betting

Champions Mile betting odds are dominated by proven milers with a good record over the 1600m and those horses that could be dropping back from a 2000m run in a race like the Cox Plate.

Previous Flemington experience doesn’t usually shorten a galloper’s odds, rather their class and ability over the 1600m as well as previous weight-for-age form are the better indicators of Champions Mile betting market positions.

Favourites in Kennedy Cantala / Champions Mile betting have a good recent record, but upsets are not uncommon including in 2017 when Le Romain saluted at $12 odds in the race then known as the Cantala Stakes.

In 2017 the Kennedy Cantala odds on the winner Shillelagh were also generous, $12, while the favourite in betting that year Tosen Stardom ($4.80) only managed to run eighth. Best Of Days ($12 in 2018) also scored an upset at double-figure Cantala Stakes betting, as did Yulong Prince ($10 in 2020). In 2021 Superstorm won the Kennedy Cantala at $8 odds before the event was renamed the Champions Mile for 2022.

Cascadian posted his third consecutive top three run in the Kennedy Cantala results in 2021. The Godolphin galloper ran 3rd in 2019, 2nd in 2020 and 3rd again in 2021.

Alligator Blood won the first official running of the Champions Mile at $5.50 odds.

Alligator Blood returned to run third in the 2023 Champions Mile results behind impressive upset winner Pride Of Jenni ($13).

Champions Mile Tips

Looking at top international contenders, strong milers and horses with form over the 1600m are good Champions Mile race tips. Because of the testing Flemington straight (1200m), this Group 1 is suited to genuine milers and or stayers more than horses coming up from 1400m in distance.

Other key Champions Mile tips include looking for the top performing spring gallopers out of traditional lead-up races like the Crystal Mile and Toorak Handicap. Fierce Impact (2019) was the last horse to complete the Toorak Handicap – Kennedy Cantala double. In 2021 Superstorm won the Kennedy Cantala (now the Champions Mile) improving on a lead-up third in the Toorak Handicap trifecta.

Another good lead-up into the Champions Mile race is the Group 3 Coongy Handicap (2000m) held at Caulfield on Cup Day, a double recently completed by Best Of Days (2018).

2023 Champions Mile Tips

Our Ladbrokes’ insider Champions Mile 2023 betting tips and race selections will be detailed below the week of the showdown so stay tuned for the 1600m specialists to back and sack in the VRC Champions Stakes Day support act.

  • To Win: #1 Mr Brightside ($3 at time of publish) – BET NOW

Small field, but what a race! We have a genuine line-up of mile stars here led by Mr Brightside who can bounce back here. The Team Hayes-trained galloper won five on the trot including his opening three this prep before back-to-back seconds he is out to atone for here. Beat Alligator Blood by 1.5 lengths in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at this track and trip then went up to Sydney and finished a distant second to  Chris Waller’s runaway winner Fangirl in the King Charles III Stakes with excuses. Was huge at The Valley flashing up the inside late to nearly beat Romantic Warrior right on the line in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2000m). Back to a mile (15:10-1-1) and Flemington and he’s rock hard fit and will be hard to hold out.

Champions Mile Field

The Kennedy Cantala field – now known as the Champions Mile field – features a class line-up of top milers from both local and international stables.

The decision by the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) and Racing Victoria back in 2016 to turn the old Emirates Stakes into the then Cantala Stakes and bring the race forward a week was made with the hope overseas connections would bring milers to Australia along with their Melbourne Cup horses during the carnival.

The race was renamed in 2017 as the Kennedy Cantala and in 2019 ran as the Kennedy Cantala, accounting for the event’s registered name as well as the sponsor with Kennedy. The race was subsequently moved back to the last day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival in 2022 and renamed the Champions Mile. 

Horses come into the race field via earlier spring lead-ups in Victoria including Moonee Valley’s Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) on Cox Plate Day. In 2015 when the event was run as the ‘Emirates Stakes’ a week later on the spring carnival calendar, Turn Me Loose completed the Crystal Mile – Emirates Stakes (now Champions Mile) double.

Another possible lead-up run for horses heading into the Champions Mile field is Caulfield’s Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) run in mid-October, which the 2014 Emirates Stakes runner-up Lucky Hussler won on way to his Group 1 placing behind Hucklebuck.

Cox Plate horses that aren’t heading towards the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (now known as the VRC Champions Stakes) on the same day could also drop back in distance for a shot at the event.

Alligator Blood (5th in 2022) was the last Cox Plate graduate to win the Champions Mile.

Nominations close the Monday before the race runs on a Saturday early November, with the field and barriers released on the Wednesday.

2023 Champions Mile Field

The official Champions Mile 2023 Final Field & Barrier Draw will be published below once announced on the Wednesday of race week so stay tuned to see what gun spring milers contest the $3 million feature.

The 2023 Champions Mile field features a diminutive but top class line-up of stars including Cox Plate runner-up Mr Brightside, Chris Waller’s runaway King Charles III Stakes winning mare Fangirl and the reigning champ Alligator Blood from the Waterhouse/Bott stable.

2023 Champions Mile Nominations

The early Champions Mile 2023 Nominations close on the Monday leading-up to the race with the full list of entries to be listed below.

The 2023 Champions Mile nominations feature 16 hopefuls including a host of dual nominees including Cox Plate runner-up Mr BrightsideAlligator Blood who was a brave third in the same $5 million lead-up at Moonee Valley, and the Chris Waller-trained King Charles III Stakes winning mare Fangirl.

Last 10 Horse Sex Age Trainer Ballot Weight True Weight Penalty Hcp Rating
1 5211×11122 MR BRIGHTSIDE (NZ) G 6 Ben, Will & JD Hayes 1 59kg 118
2 x140x42113 ALLIGATOR BLOOD G 7 Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott 2 59kg 118
3 x3227x1317 FANGIRL M 5 Chris Waller 3 57kg 117
4 41x217x326 ZAAKI (GB) G 9 Annabel Neasham 4 59kg 116
5 x216Px5202 ATISHU (NZ) M 6 Chris Waller 5 57kg 110
6 111141×310 LEGARTO (NZ) M 4 Ken & Bev Kelso 6 57kg 109
7 241111×739 VICTORIA ROAD (IRE) H 4 Ciaron Maher & David Eustace 7 58kg 109
8 1023421511 CEPHEUS (GB) G 7 Matthew Dunn 8 59kg 109
9 3950×61146 MUSTANG VALLEY (NZ) M 5 Andrew Forsman 9 57kg 108
10 x4298x6261 PRIDE OF JENNI M 6 Ciaron Maher & David Eustace 10 57kg 108
11 34113×2150 PINSTRIPED G 5 Enver Jusufovic 11 59kg 107
12 111113×287 THE INEVITABLE G 8 John Keys 12 59kg 107
13 26844×4078 HINGED M 5 Chris Waller 13 57kg 105
14 113553×404 NUGGET (GB) G 7 Ciaron Maher & David Eustace 14 59kg 105
15 362598×735 BANKERS CHOICE (NZ) G 6 Michael Moroney 15 59kg 103
16 0x44496x24 JUST FOLK G 7 Gavin Bedggood 16 59kg 102

Table Credit: Racing Australia.

Kennedy Mile odds online - Ladbrokes.com.au

Le Romain (2016) was the first winner of the Kennedy Cantala (now Champions Mile) after the change of race dates and conditions for the old Emirates Stakes race. Photo Credit: Steve Hart.

Champions Mile Form Guide

The Champions Mile form guide lists all the must know facts like saddlecloth numbers, jockeys, barriers and the lead-up runs of the horses in the field.

Checking the form guide for strong performers over the distance coming off lead-up runs in races like the Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley or Caulfield’s Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) is important when placing bets on the VRC Champions Mile Day clash.

Alligator Blood franked the Champions Mile 2022 form returning in the autumn of 2023 to take out the Group 1 Futurity Stakes. Mr Brightside meanwhile ran third in the 2022 Champions Mile and second to Alligator Blood in the 2023 Futurity Stakes before completing the All-Star Mile / Doncaster Mile interstate double.

Kennedy Cantala / Champions Mile Form Facts

  • Only four mares have won the race since 2000  – Pride Of Jenni (2023), Shillelagh (2017), Divine Madonna (2006) and Sky Cuddle (2004).
  • Horses down the weights have the best record with Happy Trails (58kg in 2012), Superstorm (56kg in 2021), Alligator Blood (59kg in 2022), and Pride Of Jenni (57kg in 2023) the only to carry more than 55.5kg since 2000.
  • Favourites only have a fair strike rate in the past decade opening up value further down the markets.
  • Unplaced Cox Plate graduates have a solid winning strike rate backing-up in the field.

2023 Champions Mile Form Guide

A link to comprehensive Champions Mile 2023 Form Guide will be provided for punters below the week of the race.

Kennedy Cantala / Champions Mile Results

The Kennedy Cantala race results up until 2016 are those of the old Emirates Stakes. Notable recent winners include Turn Me Loose (2015), Boban (2013), All Silent (2008), and Tesa Rossa (2000).

From 2022 onwards the event runs as the Champions Mile, results for which are detailed below.

Skyjack (1974) was the last three-year-old Cantala Stakes winner.

Pride Of Jenni (2023) was the last Cantala Stakes winning mare.

Scenic Peak holds the current Cantala Stakes race record winning in 2002 in a time of 1 minute 33:49 seconds.

Past Cantala Stakes / Champions Mile Winners

Recent Champions Mile winners and place-getters dating back to the year 2000 are detailed in the below table.

Year Winner 2nd 3rd Time
2023 Pride Of Jenni Mr Brightside Alligator Blood 1:34.75
2022 Alligator Blood Tuvalu Mr Brightside 1:35.6
2021 Superstorm Icebath Cascadian 1:35.2
2020 Yulong Prince Cascadian Rock 1:34.5
2019 Fierce Impact Fifty Stars Cascadian 1:38.2
2018 Best Of Days Le Romain Peaceful State 1:33.6
2017 Shillelagh Tom Melbourne Wyndspelle 1:35.0
2016 Le Romain McCreery Tivaci 1:34.9
2015 Turn Me Loose Politeness Rock Sturdy 1:36.2
2014 Hucklebuck Lucky Hussler The Cleaner 1:34.6
2013 Boban Smokin’ Joey Speediness 1:36.5
2012 Happy Trails Fawkner Secret Admirer 1:35.9
2011 Albert The Fat King’s Rose Secret Admirer 1:36.0
2010 Wall Street Dao Dao Chasm 1:36.7
2009 All American So You Think Gold Salute 1:33.9
2008 All Silent Sea Battle Mimi Lebrock 1:35.8
2007 Tears I Cry Bird Dancer Shinzig 1:35.2
2006 Divine Madonna Niconero Valedictum 1:35.5
2005 Valedictum Infinite Grace Shania Dane 1:34.9
2004 Sky Cuddle Lad Of The Manor Skewiff 1:39.1
2003 Titanic Jack True Glo Crawl 1:34.7
2002 Scenic Peak Crawl Excellerator 1:33.4
2001 Desert Eagle Emission La Bella Dama 1:37.3
2000 Testa Rosaa Weasel Will Crawl 1:35.5