The prestigious Group 1 Champagne Stakes is for two-year-olds that race under set weight conditions over 1600 metres at Randwick during the autumn racing season.
The race will receive a prize money boost from $600,000 to $1 million for the 2024 jump.
Champagne Stakes Race Details
Race Distance: 1600m
Prize Money: $1,000,000
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When Is The Champagne Stakes: 20/4/24
What Time Is The Champagne Stakes: TBA
Where Is The Champagne Stakes: Randwick Racecourse
How To Live Stream The Champagne Stakes
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More Details About The Champagne Stakes
The 2023 winner was a New Zealand colt named Militarize. He jumped as the short favourite and claimed the $343,000 top prize with a comfortable two length win.
Militarize is trained by Chris Waller and his most recent jump was good for fifth in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas. His other Group 1 wins were the Sires’ Produce Stakes and the Golden Rose.
Militarize, as of late October 2023, has made eight jumps for four wins and one placing to earn nearly $1.8 million.
The race currently resides on the racing calendar for the latter part of April. The important All Aged Stakes is at the same meeting, along with four Group 3 races.
As a set weights race, fillies carry 54.5 kg. and colts and geldings carry 56.5 kg.
It is considered the final leg in what is called the Juvenile Triple Crown that consists of gradually greater trips. It begins with the 1200 metre Golden Slipper Stakes. This is followed by the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes over 1400 metres, concluding with the Champagne Stakes at 1600 metres.
The Juvenile Triple Crown series has been won by six racers, beginning with Baguette in 1970, followed by Luskin Star (1977), Tierce (1991), Burst (1992), Dance Hero (2004) and Pierro (2012).
History of the Champagne Stakes
The race was inaugurated in 1861, the same year as the Melbourne Cup, for a historical point of reference.
It has jumped without interruption and always at Randwick Racecourse.
There have been modifications made to the trip throughout. It was run at 1000 metres in 1861 (we are ignoring the old Imperial measurement of furlongs), and then 1600 metres for the next three jumps.
The next two jumps were at 1400 metres before a return to 1000 metres that persisted from 1867 through 1880. For 1881 only, it was back to 1200, and then back to 1000 metres for 1882. Almost 100 years saw the race at 1200 metres until 1972, when it was set at the current 1600 metres.
The race was graded Principal until the Group classification system in use today came along in the late 70s, whereupon the race was given Group 1 designation.
Venue for the Champagne Stakes
The Champagne Stakes has spent its entire history at Randwick Racecourse. The site was used for racing in the early 1830s but was abandoned other than for training until the 1860s, when the AJC made Randwick their headquarters.
Today, Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney is viewed as one of the premier Thoroughbred racing facilities in the country.
There are currently 20 Group 1 races at Randwick, more than at any other track, including Rosehill, Flemington and Caulfield.
The race that gets the most attention is The Everest, where 12 slots are sold to slot holders that attempt to secure the best possible sprinter.
The race is going to be worth $20 million in prize money, as though $15 million was inadequate.
Racing History of the Champagne Stakes
With such a long history, we can only look at a few of the winners. There were many that fall into the category of legends or near legends and we will mention some of those, but we will intentionally look for winners that did well after winning as two-year-olds, even though they are not in the same breath with Heroic, Vain and Sky High and similar performers.
The winner of the first Champagne Stakes in 1861 was Exeter.
Exeter presents no pedigree record and the only other detail we could gather was that he won the AJC St. Leger Stakes in 1862.
We are accustomed to scanty records from the 19th century, and so we are skipping past a few to add a few words about the 1875 winner, Hyperion.
Hyperion was of mostly British extraction, something that could be said of many Australian racers in those times. His dam Miss Pitsford supplies the Australian lines. This was not the same Hyperion that came along later and passed his line to so many champion offspring that his name reverberates through the pedigree tables to this day.
The winner in 1877 was the legend, Chester.
He was by Yattendon, the notable racer and sire, as well as the winner of the Champagne Stakes in 1864.
Chester won the 1877 Melbourne Cup as a three-year-old in the spring of 1877. Other wins by Chester in 1877 include the AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes and the Victoria Derby. He won other top races, including two AJC Spring Stakes and two Melbourne Stakes and two Craven Plates while compiling a record of 29 jumps for 19 wins and 7 placings.
All that winning earned him $53,000, which in today’s currency would probably be in the $4-6 million range for prize money. He might have won the Juvenile Triple Crown, but there was no Golden Slipper Stakes, so Chester won the Juvenile Double Crown.
He was a great sire after racing, with 26 stakes winners that accounted for 104 stakes race wins. He was the leader of the sires’ list for four seasons. One of best was Stromboli, winner of the AJC Derby and the Sydney Cup.
Moving into the early years of the 20th century, we found it worth having a look at 1908 winner Malt Queen and 1909 winner Malt King.
Both horses present Malister as their sire. The dam of Malt Queen was Her Majesty, providing Sunrise as granddam sire. Malt King, one the other hand, had Patrona as dam and thus Grand Flaneur as granddam sire.
Malt Queen falls into that category of Juvenile Double Crown winners, the title we made up for those that won the Champagne and Sires’ Produce Stakes in the years before there was a Golden Slipper Stakes to produce a Juvenile Triple Crown.
Malt King was perhaps the better racer, with wins in the Caulfield Guineas in 1909, the All Aged and Caulfield Stakes in 1911, with another All Aged Stakes win in 1912.
Malt Queen left no progeny record. Malt King got 10 foals, just one of which was a colt and none that seemed to have supplied good results.
We have leapt through many years, but we wanted to inform that we are jumping over Heroic (1924), Manfred (1925), Hall Mark (1933), Young Idea (1935), Ajax (1937) and High Caste (1939).
We are also skipping Flight (1943), Prince Cortauld (1953), Todman (1957), Noholme (1959) and Storm Queen (1966) and Vain (1969).
Any of those 12 racers deserve their own article. Many have been chronicled in greater detail elsewhere on this site.
We resume with the 1970 winner Baguette.
Baguette could easily fit within the category of racers from above that we skipped, but he gets a few lines here for being the first to win the three races that make up the Juvenile Triple Crown.
Baguette was undefeated over his first seven jumps.
We found that his racing record includes finishing ahead of Gunsynd on two occasions, with other wins over good horses such as Welsh Prince, Classic Mission and Royal Show.
His form of 31 jumps for 15 wins and 11 placings earned $195,000, whereas modern prize money would have put him at $3 million simply for the Golden Slipper Stakes win.
He sired a Golden Slipper Stakes winning filly named Dark Eclipse, with many other offspring that raced effectively.
By the same logic that had us include info about Baguette, we next look at the 1977 Champagne Stakes winner Luskin Star.
Luskin Star’s name gives it all away. His sire was Kaoru Star, meaning that Star Kingdom as grandsire once again appears in the lineage of a top racer.
He jumped 17 times, winning 13 and placing in three other races.
A few of the wins beyond the three that make up the Juvenile Triple Crown include the Silver Slipper Stakes, the Sires’ Produce Stakes, Caulfield Guineas and The Galaxy.
Luskin Star’s progeny includes three Group 1 winners that supplied wins in the Wellington Cup, the Blue Diamond Stakes and the Epson Handicap. His top earner was the 1988 filly Bold Promise from Game Dame that won over $1.7 million from just 17 jumps and was placed in all 17 races with eight wins.
The next two to win the Champagne Stakes and the other two races for the Juvenile Triple Crown are interesting for the fact that theirs were not the most recognisable names.
The fact that these two did it in back-to-back years makes them even more attractive to us.
The first was Tierce in 1991, followed by Burst in 1992.
Tierce was a colt by Victory Prince that won above $2.2 million from just 16 jumps for 11 wins and 3 placings. He was winning minor races at Randwick and Rosehill, breaking into the ranks of Group race winners with the Group 3 Coca Cola at Newcastle in 1991. He won the Group 2 Todman and Golden Slipper at Rosehill. He won subsequent, but never again at Group 1 level.
Tierce was a good foal getter. His top earner in Australia was a 1994 colt out of Fancy Babe named Encounter that managed to win $2.1 million from 22 jumps.
Burst was a filly by the New Zealand sire Marauding.
She won above $2.1 million, but she somewhat flipped the fillies versus colts race jumps formula by making 40 jumps for 7 wins and 11 placings, while the colt Tierce made only 22 jumps.
Burst won the Golden Slipper, Sires’ Produce and Champagne Stakes in three successive jumps, but two Group 2 wins was all she could manage for the rest of her racing.
She was a better broodmare, with 11 named foals. There were some winners, including Legend Express, a gelding by Encosta De Lago that earned $4.2 million HKD.
The next winner of the three races comprising the two-year-old Triple Crown was Dance Hero in 2004.
Dance Hero was the 2001 gelding of Danzero from Gypsy Dancer. He won just under $4 million from 33 jumps for 10 wins and 8 placings.
He holds or held the record time for the Golden Slipper Stakes with a time of one minute, eight and 6/10th seconds. He posted wins against the likes of Miss Andretti, Eremein, Ike’s Dream, Fastnet Rock and Not A Single Doubt. When he won the Champagne Stakes to complete the two-year-old hattrick, he beat Savabeel into third.
The final runner to capture the three races was the 2012 Champagne Stakes winner Pierro.
Pierro won $.5 million, but he made only 14 jumps, winning 11 and placing in the other three.
Before winning the Golden Slipper Stakes, Pierro had Group 2 wins in the Silver Slipper Stakes and the Todman Stakes. His final Group 1 wins were the 2013 Canterbury Stakes and the 2013 George Ryder Stakes.
In short, he done his daddy Lonhro proud.
His stud output has included six Group 1 winners, including Arcadia Queen, Regal Power and Shadow Hero that have won seven Group 1 races, with additional wins by Levendi, Pierata and Pinot.
Othe better types followed Pierro, but we have chosen to look next at the 2020 winner King’s Legacy.
King’s Legacy was by Redoute’s Choice, so we would expect a good one. He did make 12 jumps for three wins and two placings, good enough to crack the million dollar mark in winnings.
He beat Ole Kirk to win the Champagne Stakes, returning the favour after Ole Kirk had beaten him in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes.
King’s Legacy also won the Sires’ Produce Stakes, but that came after a disappointing ninth place run in the Golden Slipper Stakes.
He last raced in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas in 2021 and is now serving mares for Coolmore. His first crop of nine foals dropped in 2022 and it remains to be seen what those or any subsequent progeny produce.
We conclude for now with the 2022 winner She’s Extreme.
She is still racing after 11 jumps for 3 wins and 5 placings for almost $1.7 million in prize money. Her most recent jump was a win in the Group 1 VRC Oaks in November 2022. She ran a barrier trial in January of 2023, but has not raced again through October of 2023.
The Champagne Stakes rightfully claims the title as the race that completes the Juvenile Triple Crown.
There have been many notable and legendary winners. Equally impressive is that many of those winners enjoyed vast success as breeders, although not every two-year-old that won the race experienced the sort of success that is often associated with a race of this much history and prestige as the Champagne Stakes affords.
Champagne Stakes Past Winners
|2014||Go Indy Go|
|2005||Carry On Cutie|
|1988||Full And By|
|1982||I Like Diamonds|
|1981||Rose Of Kingston|
|1963||Time And Tide|