Doncaster Mile Highlights First Day of The Championships at Randwick
The month of April belongs, more or less, to Royal Randwick Racecourse, so far as thoroughbred racing is concerned.
Saturday coming is the launch, April 7 this year due to the way the calendar fell.
There will be no Winx in the weekend coming. She is awaiting the following weekend, where her attempt to match Black Caviar’s 25 consecutive win streak will receive plenty of coverage.
The Doncaster Handicap (1600 m), the T J Smith Stakes (1200 m), the ATC Australian Derby (2400 m) and the ATC Sires Produce Stakes (1400 m) are the Group 1 races.
The Chairman’s Handicap (2600 m) is the lone Group 2 race for the meeting, but is significant in that the winner gets a free pass into the Group 1 Sydney Cup the following weekend, provided there is a trainer willing to work a stayer two weeks consecutively.
The Kindergarten Stakes (1100 m), Adrian Knox Stakes, P J Bell Stakes (1200 m) and the ATC Carbine Club Stakes 1600 M0 are the Group 3s for the first day of The Championships.
Prize money for the Group 1s alone totals$8.5 million, so it is a sure bet that the best horses in the country will all be out in force.
The Doncaster Handicap, or the Doncaster Mile, or simply, “The Donny,” offers $3 million, so it receives the most attention. The other three Group1s all received prizemoney boosts, however, so horses that are in age or gender restricted classifications will all enjoy a rise in wages.
Happy Clapper will be back for the Doncaster. Patrick Webster’s seven-year-old was second to It’s Somewhat last year by half a length. Sportsbet has him on the second line at $5, behind Kementari at $3.50.
Happy Clapper has shown good form in 2018, with a second in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes, in which he was unfortunate to run into Winx, who would not have been in the race but for the fact that Chris Waller held her out of a prior race while waiting for Hugh Bowman’s careless riding suspension to be served.
On his prior outing, the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes, Happy Clapper took the win from Global Glamour and Invincible Gem.