Spring Racing in Australia 2018
The 2018 – 2019 Australian Thoroughbred racing season is soon to begin. Spring carnivals will be conducted at many racecourses, but from the perspective of punters and casual followers of thoroughbred flats racing, the big events will be found at Flemington and Caulfield in Melbourne, and Royal Randwick and to a lesser extent, Rosehill in Sydney.
Here is some information of the races that will be attracting attention during the new season.
The first Group 1 race of the season will be the Winx Stakes (1400 m) in mid-August. The big attraction is obvious. The race will feature the resumption of Winx, the champion mare who has made a name that can be mentioned in the same sentence with Phar Lap, Kingston Town and Black Caviar.
Winx will be going for her third consecutive victory in this race and weight-for-age conditions always attract good fields.
The Winx Stakes is the only Group 1 race for the month, but the Randwick meeting on the day also offers the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200 m) and three Group 3 races, so punters and spectators who like to see the best horses will not want to miss this meeting.
The racing scene truly explodes with quality races in September.
The very first day of the month will see major action at Caulfield, with the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400 m), and three Group 3 races, so this is a Melbourne metro meeting that will be followed closely.
Randwick conducts some quality races on the first day of the month as well, the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600 m) and a couple of Group 3s that afford the opportunity to see the future of racing when the Group 3 Tramway Stakes (1400 m) and Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000 m) provide opportunities for up and coming three-year-olds, as well as some older horses that seek to make a name.
Other Group 1 races during September include the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600 m) at Flemington, the George Main Stakes (1600 m) at Randwick, the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400 m), the Golden Rose (1400 m 3YO only), and the A J Moir Stakes (1000 m) at Moonee Valley.
It would be a fairly safe guess that if Winx is going to make an appearance during September, it would be on her home track of Randwick in the George Main Stakes, where she has the chance to add a third win to the ones from 2016 and 2017.
One of the biggest races on the Australian thoroughbred racing calendar comes near the end of September, when the Group 1 Epson Handicap (1600 m) at Randwick falls on the 29th this year.
Winx won this race in 2015.
The Epson was first run in 1865 and the list of winners reads like a Who’s Who of Australian racing history. There has never been a three time winner, but Dessert War was oh-so-close to making it three in 2006 only to be beaten a head by Racing To Win
The month of October has eight Group 1 races.
It is Caulfield’s day to shine on October 13, when the track stages a meeting with four Group 1 races. The Caulfield Guineas (1600 m) is for 3YOs only. The Caulfield Stakes (2000 m) is run under weigh-for-age conditions. The Toorak Handicap (1600 m) is run as an open handicap and the Thousand Guineas (1600 m) is for 3YO fillies and is run at set weights.
Over at Randwick, The Everest, the world’s richest turf race, will be run on October 13, 2018. It debuted in 2017 worth $10 million in prizemoney, but has received a boost and will be worth $13 million in 2018.
One of Australia’s big three races, the Caulfield Cup (2400 M), will be run on October 20 and along with the meeting the week prior, this is the big month for racing at Caulfield. The Caulfield Cup is one of the few remaining big-time races for stayers and punters and racing fans of all stripes will be watching for a winner to fill the rare Caulfield/Melbourne Cups double.
The end of October is going to be epic in 2018.
Moonee Valley takes centre stage with eight races of Group 3 or higher quality, but everyone will be focused on the W S Cox Plate and Winx’s attempt to win for a fourth time and move ahead of the other three time winner, Kingston Town.
That meeting will be on October 27 and gets everyone primed for November
Flemington is where the big action for the month gets underway. The meeting on November 3 will feature four Group 1 races, the Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200 m 3YO), the Myer Classic (1600 m) for fillies and mares run under weight-for-age conditions, the Victoria Derby (2500 m 3YO set weights) and the Cantala Stakes (1600 m).
That will have everyone primed and ready for the following Tuesday, November 6, when the Melbourne Cup (3200 m) is still the Race That Stops a Nation. The Caulfield Cup winner from October will be in the spotlight. The Melbourne Cup until just recently was the richest race in Australia.
November has too many races to mention them all, as it is the primary month for spring racing in Australia with the majority of the big races in the state of Victoria, but Ascot in Western Australia has some of its biggest races during November, including the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600 m), along with numerous Group 2 and Group 3 races.
Spring racing in Australia features a little bit of everything, and there will be meetings at other venues outside the big metro tracks, so punters need to get an early start and get ready to make the best possible wagers during the months of September, October and November.