Kicking off in early August with Missile Stakes Day at Royal Randwick Racecourse, the Sydney Spring Carnival features originally only went through until October when the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) rounded out top level racing in NSW for the season.
In a bid to attract some of the spring racing attention from their interstate rivals in Melbourne, Racing NSW and the Australian Turf Club (ATC) recently created a new-look The Everest Carnival worth nearly $60 million in prize money over six weeks!
On The Everest Day Randwick is also now home to the world’s richest race for country-trained horses with the $2 million The Kosciuszko for NSW country-trained gallopers.
The Everest Day offers close to $35 million in prize money across the 10-race card.
The latest edition to the Sydney Spring Carnival line-up and The Everest Day is the Group 1 $5 million King Charles III Stakes (1600m), formerly known as the George Main Stakes and held the month prior.
There are a number of other very lucrative Special Condition races like The Everest that do not hold Group race status but that form a key focus of the spring.
Among these are the $10 million The Golden Eagle (1500m) run at Rosehill in late October or early November for four-year-old gallopers on the same day as Flemington’s three-years-old feature – the Victoria Derby.
Other recent seven-figure feature races added to the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival calendar include the $2 million The Invitation (1400m) running in late October as of 2021 as an invitation-only event for fillies and mares, the $3 million The Big Dance (1600m) run on Melbourne Cup Day at Royal Randwick on the first Tuesday of November as of 2022, and the $2 million Five Diamonds (1800m) for five-year-olds run on Golden Gift Day.
The opening Group 1 race meeting of the Sydney Festival of Spring Racing is now Winx Stakes Day.
Golden Rose Stakes Day held at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse follows in September. The Group 1 $1 million Golden Rose (1400m) for three-year-olds is one of the major features of the carnival having previously been the first elite level Sydney race for the spring.
The biggest day during the festival in terms of Group 1 racing (not prize money) runs at Randwick in early October when Epsom Handicap Day features three Group 1 races giving punters some top action to enjoy a bet on before focusing on the Melbourne Group 1s.
Following the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival the seven-figure racing action in New South Wales now continues into the summer with the new-look Group 2 $2 million The Ingham (1600m) replacing the old Villiers Stakes from 2022.
2023 Winners Stakes (Giga Kick Stakes)
The Winners Stakes took place for the first time in 2019 and was known as the Redzel Stakes. The feature will be renamed each spring in honour of the previous year’s The Everest winner, hence the 2019 Redzel Stakes after the back-to-back Everest wins by Redzel in 2017 and 2018. The 2020 Winners Stakes was known as the Yes Yes Yes Stakes and won by that year’s The Everest third place-getter Gytrash. The 2021 Winners Stakes ran as the Classique Legend Stakes after Classique Legend took out last year’s The Everest race, while the 2022 edition ran as the Nature Strip Stakes. The 2023 Winners Stakes takes place as the Giga Kick Stakes. The Winners Stakes is the key support act on The Golden Eagle Race Day held in late October or early November annually and offers $3 million in prize money as of 2022.
- Race Name 2019: Redzel Stakes
- Race Name 2020: Yes Yes Yes Stakes
- Race Name 2021: Classique Legend Stakes
- Race Name 2022: Nature Strip Stakes
- Race Name 2023: Giga Kick Stakes
- Track: Rosehill Gardens
- Distance: 1300m
- Conditions: Set Weights + Penalties
- Status: Special Conditions
- Prize Money: $3 million
- First Prize: $1,725,000
- First Run: 2019
- Reigning Champion: Bella Nipotina (2023)
2023 The Big Dance
The Big Dance is another recent addition to the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival, the newly-created $3 million feature taking place on the same day as Flemington’s iconic Melbourne Cup Day meeting on the first Tuesday of November. The race ran for the first time in 2022 and won by Rustic Steel. It is open only to horses who have competed in the elected 25 Country Cups.
- Track: Royal Randwick
- Distance: 1600m
- Conditions: 3YOS & Upwards who have competed in the elected 25 Country Cup races
- Status: Special Conditions
- Prize Money: $3 million
- First Prize: $1.56 million
- First Run: 2022
- Reigning Champion: Attractable (2023)
2023 Five Diamonds
The Five Diamonds is a newly-created $2 million feature that ran for the first time in 2022 at Rosehill Gardens. The race is open only to five-year-old runners and takes place over 1800m. Ellsberg won the opening edition of the event that is held on the same date as Melbourne’s Champions Stakes Day program at headquarters.
- Track: Rosehill Gardens
- Distance: 1800m
- Conditions: 5YOs
- Status: Special Conditions
- Prize Money: $2 million
- First Prize: $1,155,000
- First Run: 2022
- Reigning Champion: Unspoken (2023)
Major Race Days – See below for the full breakdown of the major Group 1 Race Days held throughout the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.
Missile Stakes Day 2023
Date: Saturday August 5, 2023
Missile Stakes Day held on a Saturday in early August is the first big race meeting leading up to the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival Group 1s with sprinters facing off under weight-for-age conditions in the Missile Stakes.
The Rosebud Day 2023
Date: Saturday August 12, 2023
The Rosebud for Golden Rose-bound three-year-olds runs as the feature event on its own race card at Rosehill Gardens in mid-August.
Winx Stakes Day 2023
Date: Saturday August 19, 2023
Kicking off Group 1 racing for the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival, the recently upgraded Group 1 $1 million Winx Stakes is named in honour of champion mare Winx who took out the race in 2016 and 2017 when it was known as the Warwick Stakes before becoming a three-time champ in 2018.
Winx Stakes Day traditionally runs on a Saturday in late August at Randwick and is headlined by the weight-for-age Winx Stakes, which features a field of horses heading towards the Group 1 King Charles III Stakes (1600m) – which was known as the George Main Stakes up until 2023. The key support act is the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes, a race for three-year-old fillies targeting the Princess Series of Races including the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) in October.
San Domenico Stakes Day 2023
Date: Saturday August 26, 2023
Rosehill hosts another of the early Group Spring Carnival meetings at the end of August with a field of returning three-year-olds facing off in the San Domenico Stakes on way to bigger assignments over the coming weeks. Genuine superstars have won the race including Japonisme (2015) who went on to win Flemington’s Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) that Melbourne Cup Carnival. San Domencio Stakes Day is now also home to Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (1300m) as of 2022.
Wyong Gold Cup Day 2023
Date: Friday September 1, 2023
- Listed $240,000 Wyong Gold Cup (2100m)
- Listed $200,000 Mona Lisa Stakes (1350m)
Wyong Gold Cup Day traditionally runs on the first Friday of September and is headlined by the Wyong Gold Cup for Sydney stayers heading towards upcoming features including The Metropolitan on Epsom Handicap Day.
Chelmsford Stakes Day 2023
Date: Saturday September 2, 2023
Chelmsford Stakes Day in early September hosts three Group 2 races including the weight-for-age Chelmsford Stakes contested over the mile and contested by King Charles III-bound gallopers. Winx (2017) was the last horse to complete the Chelmsford Stakes – George Main Stakes (now King Charles III Stakes) double. The three-year-old fillies continue on the Princess Series in the Furious Stakes, while the Tramway Handicap hosts gallopers looking at a possible Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) run at Randwick in October. In 2023 the richest race on Chelmsford Stakes Day will be the Group 3 Concorde Stakes with The Everest lead-up offering a staggering $1 million!
Run To The Rose Day 2023
Date: Saturday September 9, 2023
The Run To The Rose Day is host to the traditional Group 2 lead-up into the coveted $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m), the autumn’s richest Sydney race for 3YOs held in September back at Rosehill Gardens. From 2012 – 2016 all five Golden Rose winners came via the Run To The Rose including Hallowed Crown (2014), Exosphere (2015) and Astern (2016) who all completed the double. Bivouac (2019) meanwhile was the last horse to do the Run To The Rose – Golden Rose double.
Newcastle Cup Day 2023
Date: Friday September 15, 2023
Newcastle Gold Cup Day at Broadmeadow Racecourse was previously the only stand-alone Sydney Spring Racing Carnival feature race day held outside of Rosehill Gardens or Royal Randwick until the addition of the $1 million The Hunter (Newcastle) and $1 million The Gong (Wollongong) in 2019. It is headlined by the stayers facing off in the Newcastle Gold Cup, one of the most famous winners of which was Green Moon (2011) who won the following year’s Melbourne Cup.
The Shorts Day 2023
Date: Saturday September 16, 2023
With the George Main Stakes renamed and rescheduled ahead of the 2023 edition The Shorts is now headlining its own feature race day in mid-September. The sprint will offer $1 million in prize money for the first time in 2023 and serves as a key lead-up to the $20 million the Everest the following month.
Added to the card for the first time in 2023 is the unlisted $1 million 7 Stakes (1600m) which replaces the George Main Stakes as the mile feature on the card and offers the winner an Epsom Handicap ballot exemption.
Golden Rose Stakes Day 2023
Date: Saturday September 23, 2023
Another early major of the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival takes place on Golden Rose Stakes Day where the action headlined by the season’s top three-year-olds doing battle in the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m). Previously the Golden Rose Stakes was proceeded by another Rosehill meeting for Golden Pendant Stakes Day, but the two race cards were recently merged making for a bumper day at the Gardens!
Epsom Handicap Day 2023
Date: Saturday September 30, 2023
Epsom Handicap Day traditionally runs on the first Saturday in October but will take place on the last Saturday of September in 2023. Epsom Day at Randwick is one of the biggest meetings of the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival featuring three Group 1 races. The $1.5 million Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) hosts the season’s best milers and Sydney’s two top trainers Chris Waller and Gai Waterhouse have dominated the event over the past decade. The stayers do battle in The Metropolitan over the mile-and-and-half, a number going on to contest Melbourne’s Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) later in the month, while the Princess Series comes to its peak with the Flight Stakes over the mile for the fillies. The Group 2 Premiere Stakes is also now worth $1 million in prize money on the card and serves as an important The Everest lead-up.
Hill Stakes Day 2023
Date: Saturday October 7, 2023
In another notable change to the spring line-up in Sydney for 2023 the Hill Stakes now takes place on its own feature race meeting in early October. The Group 2 event for stayers runs over 1900m and is now worth $2 million! The card also features the Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes for The Everest-bound sprinters. Also added to the card that year was the inaugural Follow $500,000 Tapp-Craig (1400m) for three-year-olds that offers the first three place-getters a ballot exemption into the Callander-Presnell (formerly the Stan Fox Stakes). In 2023 another new race joins the Hill Stakes Day line-up with the lucrative $1.5 million Alan Brown Stakes taking place for the first time.
The Everest Day 2023
Date: Saturday October 14, 2023
- $20,000,000 The Everest (1200m)
- Group 1 $5,000,000 King Charles III Stakes (1600m) – formerly the George Main Stakes
- $2,000,000 The Kosciuszko (1200m)
- Group 3 $2,000,000 Sydney Stakes (1200m)
- $1,000,000 The Silver Eagle (1300m)
- Group 3 $250,000 Angst Stakes (1600m)
- Group 3 $500,000 Gloaming Stakes (1800m)
- $500,000 ATC St Leger Stakes (2600m)
- Listed $200,000 Reginald Allen Quality (1400m)
The Everest Day is now the richest race card in Australia and just keeps getting bigger and better! The mid-October feature meeting at Royal Randwick headlined by the hugely successful The Everest (1200m) which will offer $20 million in stakes for the first time in 2023 making it the second richest thoroughbred race (on any surface!) in the world. The Everest is the world’s richest race on turf and offers 12 slot holders the chance to select a sprinter to win them racing’s biggest prize.
Added to The Everest Day in 2023 is the inaugural running of the Group 1 $5 million King Charles III Stakes (1600m), which was formerly known as the George Main Stakes and held a fortnight before the Epsom Handicap. The most famous recent George Main Stakes winner, before the event was renamed, was three-time champion Winx who saluted from 2016-18.
The Everest Day also features the world’s richest race for country-trained horses with the $2 million The Kosciuszko (1200m) open only to NSW country-trained gallopers. The Group 3 Sydney Stakes for The Everest emergency runners has had its prize money boosted to an incredible $2 million ahead of 2022 making for a very lucrative day’s racing in Sydney. But it doesn’t stop there! The Silver Eagle also now takes place on the same card with the first three four-year-olds over the line exempt from Golden Eagle ballot. The Group 3 Gloaming Stakes moved to the card in 2023 as a lead-up into the Spring Champion Stakes.
Five Diamonds Prelude Day 2023
Date: Saturday October 21, 2023
On the same date Melbourne hosts its Caulfield Cup Day program Sydney’s Royal Randwick has a full card headlined by the $1 million Five Diamonds Prelude for five-year-olds targeting the Five Diamonds race later in the spring. There is also the Big Dance Wild Card event open to any horse that has contested one of the previous Big Dance qualifying races, without having won. The first and second placed horses from the Wild Card race qualify and gain a ballot exemption for the $2 million Big Dance (held in Sydney on Melbourne Cup Day).
Spring Champion Stakes Day 2023
Date: Saturday October 28, 2023
Previously the last of the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival feature meetings was Spring Champion Stakes Day before the addition of a host of Special Condition races offering huge prize money including The Everest were added to the program. Spring Champion Stakes Day moved to the end of October in 2022 on the Saturday after The Everest. The meeting is headlined by the three-year-old stayers running over 2000m in the Spring Champion Stakes, many coming off a lead-up run in the Gloaming Stakes at Rosehill the month before, with the Group 1 now worth $2 million after doubling from $1 million in 2022. The other richest race on the program is the $2 million The Invitation race, a set weights plus penalties event open to fillies and mares by invitation-only, run for the first time in 2021. The program now also features the new-look Stan Fox Stakes, the Group 2 event renamed the Callander-Presnell in 2022. Offering $1 million the Callander-Presnell is a set weights event for three-year-olds that replaced the defunct Bondi Stakes race.
Golden Eagle Day 2023
Date: Saturday November 4, 2023
Yet another multi-million dollar event takes place at Rosehill Gardens on the Saturday prior to Melbourne Cup Day with the sole four-years-old feature of the carnival – the $10 million Golden Eagle – stealing the show in Sydney. On the same day Melbourne hosts its VRC Derby Day card at Flemington to kick off the Cup Carnival, but plenty of the punters’ attention will be focused on the Golden Eagle following in the tradition of the Golden Slipper (2yos) and Golden Rose (3yos). Golden Eagle Day also features the $3 million Winners Stakes, which is renamed each season in honour of the previous year’s The Everest winner. The other headline event on the card is the Rosehill Gold Cup worth $750,000 as of 2022.
The Big Dance Day 2023
Date: Saturday November 7, 2023
Royal Randwick hosted the inaugural The Big Dance race for qualified Country Cups horses on the first Tuesday of November, the same date is Flemington’s famous Melbourne Cup Day program at HQ, in 2022 to much fanfare. The second running in 2023 will be worth $3 million!
Five Diamonds Day 2023
Date: Saturday November 11, 2023
Run the Saturday following the Golden Eagle when Melbourne’s Cup Carnival is coming to a close is the $2 million Five Diamonds race for five-year-olds. In 2023 the $1 million Golden Gift for two-year-olds has been re-added to the card. Also taking place at the meeting is the Hot Danish Stakes worth half-a-million, a race previously known as the Breeders Classic and renamed in honour of classy mare Hot Danish.
The Hunter Day 2023
Date: Saturday November 18, 2023
- $1,000,000 The Hunter (1300m)
- Group 3 $200,000 Spring Stakes (1600m)
The Hunter Day takes the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival action back out to Newcastle Racecourse with the running of the $1 million The Hunter handicap race for sprinters. Horses out of The Everest may try their hand at a consolation prize in The Hunter over 100m further making for a really exciting sprint event on the outskirts of Sydney. The Hunter race card now features the Group 3 Spring Stakes over the mile for three-year-olds, which was previously run earlier in the carnival on Newcastle Cup Day.
The Gong Day 2023
Date: Saturday November 25, 2023
Racecourse: Kembla Grange
After an incredible few months of top level racing and massive prize money things finally wind-up in Sydney for the spring out at Wollongong with Kembla Grange hosting the $1 million The Gong race for end-of-spring milers chasing the last of the big prize money. The $300,000 The Warra (1000m) for the end-of-spring sprinters has also been part of The Gong race day since 2021.