Sydney's autumn racing carnival will offer another spectacular night of competition this Friday when The Championships – Australia's answer to The Breeders' Cup – get underway at Royal Randwick racecourse. Over the next two weekends, The Championships will showcase top equine talent in some of the season's most anticipated events.
While Day 1 will feature four Group 1 races, many fans will be looking towards Day 2 on April 12th. That's when Winx will face Avilius and Happy Clapper in her final race, the G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes, and chase her 33rd consecutive win to cap an illustrious career that redefined the racing landscape. TVG will provide live coverage on both days of The Championships with trackside commentary by TVG's Candice Hare and Sky Racing World's Jason Witham.
The Day 1 card features the G1 Australian Derby, G1 Star Doncaster Mile, G1 TJ Smith Stakes and G1 Inglis Sires' Stakes. The support card features the G2 Schweppes Chairman's Quality Handicap as well as four G3 races. The day's first race runs at 12:10 p.m. Sydney time this Saturday, April 6th (9:10 p.m. EDT, or 6:10 p.m. PDT on Friday, April 6th), while the Australian Derby is set for 3:55 p.m. Sydney time (12:55 a.m. EDT, or 9:55 p.m. PDT on Friday).
Group 1 $2m (US$1.4m) Harrolds Australian Derby
Like the Kentucky Derby, the Australian Derby is the premier event for three-year-olds in the country. In the capacity field for this year's 1 ½ mile race, Victoria Derby placegetter Chapada is the 4/1 favorite, with his stable mate Arrogant right behind at 7/1. Trained by Mike Moroney, the pair previously competed in the Rosehill Guineas where they finished third and second respectively behind The Autumn Sun.
G2 Autumn Classic winner Global Exchange is listed at 7/1, while Vinery Stud Stakes runner-up Frankely Awesome (12/1) is looking to become the first filly in eight years to win the race. Drawing attention from US fans will be Declarationofheart, an Irish-trained colt sired by US racehorse Declaration of War, who placed third in the 2013 Breeders' Cup Classic. Declarationofheart has firmed from 14/1 to 8/1 after drawing the inside gate and is a great each-way chance.
Group 1 $3m (US$2m) The Star Doncaster Mile
The top middle-distance thoroughbreds will clash in the Star Doncaster Mile, the richest handicap race in the world. This list includes Godolphin star filly Alizee, the top choice at 5/1 and winner of this year's G2 Expressway Stakes and G1 Futurity Stakes. Blake Shinn, third in the Doncaster Mile's leadup race atop Tom Melbourne, has been booked to ride Alizee.
New Zealand colt Brutal has been installed as the 6/1 second favorite alongside Fifty Stars, with both runners showing their Doncaster credentials last starts. Fifty Stars made a memorable Sydney debut, taking out the Ajax Stakes whilst Brutal ran second to Winx in the George Ryder Stakes.
All Star Mile second placer Hartnell is next best at 7/1. He will be ridden by Hugh Bowman, who rode Winx to victory in the 2016 Doncaster Mile. Bowman also partnered Alizee to win the Futurity Stakes and was in the saddle when she placed third in the All-Star Mile so his decision to ride Hartnell is worth noting.
Group 1 $2.5m (US$1.7m) TJ Smith Stakes
The Gerald Ryan-trained Trapeze Artist will look to retain his crown in the TJ Smith Stakes. He had a magical last start, claiming his fourth Group 1 in the Canterbury Stakes after failing in the Expressway Stakes. It was a comeback that shot him to the top of the betting markets, now at 3/1.
Coming off second finishes in the G1 Lightning Stakes and G1 Newmarket Handicap, Osborne Bulls (3/1), now looks to be the closest challenger to spoil Trapeze Artist's attempt for back-to-back TJ Stakes wins. Also poised to play prominent roles are Pierata (6/1), Santa Ana Lane (7/1), Redzel (7/1) and Sunlight (7/1).
Group 1 $1m (US$700 000) Inglis Sires
The middle leg of the Australian 2-year-old Triple Crown will be a repeat of the Godolphin duo Microphone and Loving Gaby's last race, the Golden Slipper, where they finished in the top four. In what will be a closely contested race, Loving Gaby, Microphone, Castelvecchio and Bellevue Hill all sit on the top-line of betting at 4/1. Bellevue Hill, trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, is coming off a victory in the G3 Baillieu Handicap. Castelvecchio is a promising colt who won his maiden at his first start and stepped up to group level with a stunning third in the Skyline Stakes.
TVG will supply live coverage from Randwick with trackside commentary by TVG's Candice Hare and Sky Racing World's Jason Witham. Live-streaming in HD will be available on skyracingworld.com and major ADW platforms such as TVG, TwinSpires, Xpressbet, NYRABets, WatchandWager, HPIbet, AmWager, and BetAmerica. Wagering is also available via these ADW platforms. Fans can get free access to live-streaming, past performances and expert picks on all races at skyracingworld.com.
About David Haslett
A former Managing Director of Sportech Racing, David was appointed President and CEO of Sky Racing World in April 2014. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company, a subsidiary of Australian wagering firm Tabcorp, provides Australian, New Zealand, South African and South Korean thoroughbred racing and Australian Harness racing content for simulcast horse-race wagering to multiple North America-facing ADW brands and race-tracks.
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