Australian Triple Crown
The Australian Triple Crown series is one of the most followed horse racing series in the country; attracting not only the widest audience but also the best race horses on the scene. Apart from the Randwick Guineas replacing the Canterbury Guineas as the premier race of the Australian Triple Crown series in 2005 the series has remained unchanged since its inauguration in 1935. All three races take place on Sydney racecourses, Royal Randwick Racecourse and Rosehill Gardens Racecourse, and are classified - unsurprisingly - as Group 1 events. The Australian Triple Crown series in open to three-year-olds and operates on a set-weight system.
The Randwick Guineas, formerly the Canterbury Guineas, was inaugurated into the Australian horse racing scene in 1935; however, it did not become part of the Australian Triple Crown until 2005. The race is part of the program of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, taking place in mid-March at the Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, New South Wales. It runs over a distance of 1600 metres (ca. 7 furlong, 210 yards) and prized at $550,000. The winner of the Randwick Guineas will automatically gain entry to the AJC Australian Derby, which is the last leg of the Australian Triple Crown.
The Rosehill Guineas, the second leg of the Australian Triple Crown series, are staged only a few weeks after the Randwick Guineas in late March; which means it is also part of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival. This race was inaugurated in 1910 and is run at the Rosehill Gardens Racecourse in Sydney, over a distance of 2000 metres (ca. 1 mile, 2 furlongs). The prize money is about the same as the Randwick Guineas, ca. $500,000. In 1929, before the Australian Triple Crown series was established, Phar Lap - the most iconic equine athlete to race in Australia - recorded a win at the Rosehill Guineas, aiding its reputation as one of the finest races on the nation's horse racing calendar.
The AJC Australian Derby is one of the oldest races in Australia. It was first run in 1861 under the name of the AJC Randwick Derby Stakes. Its name was changed to AJC Australia Derby Stakes in 1865, then it became the AJC Derby from 1873 to 1993, before finally becoming known as the AJC Australia Derby in 1994. The race takes place at Randwick Racecourse and the three-year-olds compete over a distance of 2,400 metres (ca. 1 mile, 3 furlongs, 204 yards). It is the most valuable race of the Triple Crown series, valued at over $1 million. All the great horses of Australian racing have competed and (mostly) won the AJC Australia Derby - including the legendary Phar Lap, Kingston Town and Tulloch.
Since Australia introduced the Triple Crown series only four horses have managed to win the series: Moorland in 1943, Martello Towers in 1959, Imagele in 1973 and Octagonal in 1996.