Beginning in February and running every weekend through to mid-April, the Autumn Racing Carnival kicks off the horse racing season in Australia in style.
32 Group One races—the most prestigious and lucrative thoroughbred races in the country—are shared between Sydney and Melbourne as some of the fastest horses from around the world take to the track.
Once overshadowed by the Spring Racing Carnival, the Autumn Racing Carnival has benefited greatly from an expanded schedule and a major boost in prize money—there’s now more than $30 million up for grabs in the combined purse!
The highlight of the Autumn Racing Carnival is undoubtedly ‘The Championships’, which takes place over two weekends at Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse in April, but there are plenty of other big-money races to keep an eye on too.
Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival
With the lion’s share of events and prize money, Sydney takes centre stage in the Autumn Racing Carnival. The action builds up to The Championships in early April, where eight Group 1 Races are run, though there are several other showcase events in the weeks before.
The Golden Slipper
Taking place in mid-march at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse, the Golden Slipper is the Sydney Autumn Carnival’s first real feature race. With a total purse of $3.5 million, this juvenile championship holds the title of the richest race for two-year-old horses in the world.
The two-year age cap makes this 1,200-metre turf event prime viewing for emerging talent, with notable winners from the past including Stay Inside in 2021, Pierro in 2012 and the legendary Manikato in 1978.
The Championships is known as the Grand Finals of Australian racing for a reason. Across the first two Saturdays in April, eight Group 1 races take place at Randwick Racecourse and more than $21 million in prize money is generously dished out.
Each race is a worthy watch, though there are a couple of headline events that take the limelight.
The Doncaster Mile rounds out the first day of The Championships. Held over 1,600 metres of turf, a selection of the world’s fastest horses aged three years and older chase a share of the $1.5 million spoils—a sum that makes this one of the richest mile races globally.
Winners from recent memory include Cascadian in 2021, fan favourite Winx in 2015 and Sacred Falls, who claimed back-to-back victories in 2013 and 2014.
Queen Elizabeth Stakes
With a total purse of $4 million, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes is the most lucrative event of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival. This turf race takes place on the second Saturday of The Championships and is held over a distance of 2,000 metres.
The event has proved fruitful for imported horses, with several claiming victory in recent years. These include Irish-bred Addeybb, winner of the last two races, and Lucia Valentina from New Zealand. Winx’s historic three-peat from 2017 to 2019 will also live long in the memory.
Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival
The Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival represents the first piece of horse racing action in the calendar year, and delivers nine memorable Group 1 races between early February and mid-March across Melbourne’s three main racetracks.
The schedule is smaller than in the Sydney Autumn Carnival, but the stakes remain high. It’s also the first opportunity for spectators to glimpse the best talent ahead of The Championships. That said, there are a couple of major races in Melbourne well worth watching in their own right.
Blue Diamond Stakes
One of the standout races of the Melbourne Autumn Carnival, the Blue Diamond Stakes is a 1,200-metre juvenile turf event held in late February at Caulfield Racecourse. There’s $1.5 million on the line, making the Blue Diamond Stakes Victoria’s richest two-year-old race.
Previous winners of note include Sepoy, Alinghi and Manikato. Many competing horses go on to race in the Golden Slipper, though claiming victory in both of these premier two-year-old races is no easy feat.
Held for the first time in 2019, Melbourne’s All-Star Mile is a special conditions event that runs a bit differently to your average horse race. Fans vote for their favourite horses, with the top 10 qualifying for the race and competing for the mouthwatering $5 million-dollar purse in March.
This unique setup makes the All-Star Mile both Australia’s only fan-voted race and the world’s richest mile race. So far, the winner’s table consists of Mystic Journey, Regal Power and Mugatoo, with plenty more history to be made in the coming years.
Betting options for the Autumn Racing Carnival
Just like the runners, spectators can win big on any of the 32 Group 1 races taking place during the Autumn Racing Carnival. At Unibet, you can choose between a huge range of betting markets to find the perfect bet for you.
The most straightforward of horse racing bets, a ‘win’ bet is simply placed on the horse you expect to win. This is a simple way for casual fans to get involved in the action and make decent returns on a well-placed bet.
A place bet is a fixed bet that pays out if your horse finishes within the top two or three positions—this is specified when placing your bet.
Exotics bets are more complex, and provide seasoned punters with a chance to land bigger payouts. Exotic bets can either be horizontal, meaning you bet on the results of consecutive races, or vertical, where you select the correct finishing order in a race.
Betting advice for the Autumn Racing Carnival
As with any sport, punters can improve their chances of success by keeping a close eye on the latest updates heading into the Autumn Racing Carnival.
Here are some quick tips for you to bear in mind when betting on the Autumn Racing Carnival:
Consider form. The Spring Racing Carnival and the earlier races from the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival are useful when predicting the outcomes of The Championships.
Consider the type of race. Think about distances and track: some runners may be best suited to a 1,200-metre sprint, while others find their stride at 2,000 metres.
Consider jockeys and trainers. It’s not all on the horse; having a successful trainer and jockey is also key to success. Like the horses, some teams may be suited to certain distances or types of track.
With round-the-clock news on our blog and an extensive sheet of stats, Unibet customers have everything in place to make an informed bet. We also offer some of the most competitive odds on the Autumn Racing Carnival, so you know you’re making the best returns possible on a winning bet.