Everything to Know About the Australian Derby

The Australian Derby is one of the most attended races of the Australian season, second only to the likes of the legendary Melbourne Cup. It serves as the third and final leg of the Australian Triple Crown series preceded by the Randwick Guineas and Rosehill Guineas.

The Third Race of the
AUS Triple Crown

This prestigious event covers a distance of 2400m (1 mile, 4 furlongs)on a right-handed, turf track at Randwick Racecourse. It is open to Group 1 three-year-olds of both genders. The weight requirement varies based on gender with males carrying 8 st-13lbs and females carrying 8st-8lbs.

fact file

location: Randiwck Racecourse

grade: Group 1 three-year olds

race type: Flat

A Look into the Past

The Australian Derby, also referred to as the AJC Derby or AJC Australian Derby, is the final race of the Australian Triple Crown. It's one of the oldest races in Australia, inaugurated in 1861, almost a century before the Australian Triple Crown was introduced. As the race is hosted at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, the original version of the event was known as the AJC Randwick Derby Stakes.

In 1865, the name was changed to the AJC Australia Derby Stakes which was shortened to the simpler AJC Derby in 1873, before finally being named the AJC Australian Derby in 1994.

The race is held in April as part of the Sydney Autumn Carnival. It's one of the richest races in Australia, awarding a purse of AU$2.0 million (as of 2017), making it a fierce contest. Only the finest thoroughbreds get to walk away with the lucrative prize and join the ranks of some of the greatest runners of all time. The Australian Derby counts amongst its winners the never-surpassed Phar Lap, as well as Kingston Town and Tulloch - two absolute racing legends from Down Under.

Records

While no horse can complete the Australian Derby more than once, several have won multiple races in the Triple Crown series (as of 2017) .

  • The record time is held by Octagonal (1996) who finished in 2 minutes and 28.41 seconds.

  • Jockey Thomas Hales rode six winners between 1875 and 1887- a record that has yet to be matched.

  • Currently, 20 horses have won the Rosehill/Derby double. The most recent to have done so was Criterion in 2014.

  • To date, It's a Dundeel (2013) is the most recent Australian Triple Crown winner of five.

Best Moments

As the Australian Derby is a prestigious event with a century of history, it has staged some of the best athletic moments in Australian horseracing (as of 2017) .

jockey racing horse
  • In 2016, a similar upset occurred when 30/1 shot Tavago defied all expectations by finishing first with favourite, Tarzino, trailing fourth.

  • 2013 was momentous as It's A Dundeel became the fifth horse to win the Australian Triple Crown. Starting as the favourite, he finished over six lengths ahead for a decisive victory.