The Australian Turf Club Chairmans Handicap is a Group 2 open handicap horse race for three year old horses and upwards with quality runners galloping over a distance of 2600 meters.
The annual event at the Royal Randwick Racecourse is held on a Saturday in early April during the Sydney racing carnival. The open handicap race has a minimum of 52 kg and maximum of 61 kg.
The race involves prize money worth $300,000 with the winner exempt from ballot and penalty for the Sydney Cup.
The event is held on the day of the Group 1 AJC Australian Derby, one of the richest races, with top front-running performances by some of the best horses to blaze the nation’s race tracks. Other premier races held on the day are the Group 1 ATC Sires Produce Stakes, a 1400 meter race for two-year-olds and the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes run over 1200 meters.
For many horses and trainers, the AJC Chairmans Handicap is the perfect warm up for the Group 1 Sydney Cup, a long distance race held two weeks later during the carnival. The race has witnessed many stayers move on to compete in a quality field in the Sydney Cup.
Among the notable winners to score a Chairmans Handicap/Sydney Cup double are King Aussie in 1990, Linesman in 1997 and Henderson Bay in 2002. Now Wine No Song and Jessicabeel also repeated the feat in 2008 and 2010 respectively. Ista Kareem, who managed a 4th place in the 2009 AJC Chairmans Handicap improved dramatically to lift the Sydney Cup the same year.
Jessicabeel also managed both trophies in 2010, with Harris Tweed an impressive third in both races as well. No Wine No Song has the distinction of winning back to back AJC Chairmans Handicap titles in 2007 and 2008. Constant performer, Steel Phoenix won his first title in 1999 and returned in 2001 to lift the trophy once again.
The first ATC Chairmans Handicap, won by Lady Dignitas, was held in 1979. Henderson Bay, the 2002 winner of the Chairmans Handicap recorded the fastest time of 2 minutes and 29.79 seconds. The 2003 champion, Fooram, is a multiple stakes winner with jockey Darren Beadman in the saddle. Beadman won the AJC Australian Derby 45 minutes earlier after steering Headturner, trained by John Hawkes, to victory. With the next big race being the Sydney Cup, the AJC Charimans Handicap proves to be a great form guide for punters around the nation.
|Year||Chairmans Handicap Winners|
|2018||Sir Charles Road|
|2011||Once Were Wild|
|2008||No Wine No Song|
|2007||No Wine No Song|
|1993||Te Akau Nick|
|1988||Round The World|
|1984||What A Nuisance|