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Here’s your Spring Racing Carnival Guide and all the major races

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horse racing spring carnival 2023

Now the footy season’s officially behind us, the Spring Carnival becomes one of the primary focuses for many sport-loving Australians.

While the season officially got started last month, things now well and truly ramp and starting October 7, there are close to 30 huge races worth at least $1 million dollars between New South Wales and Victoria alone.

The rise of Racing NSW has certainly been a major talking point in recent years, with the introduction of some races containing enormous prize money. The Everest, now worth $20 million, is undoubtedly the headline act.

Here are the key dates and Group 1 races set to define much of your planning across horse racing’s peak season.

Horse racing Spring Carnival, Melbourne Cup
Gold Trip claims the 2022 Melbourne Cup and one of the top moments of last year’s Spring Carnival.

Australia’s Racing Spring Carnival 2023

Saturday October 7: Turnbull Stakes

The Spring Carnival officially kicks off at the home of racing in Australia, Flemington, with the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes over 2000 metres, with $500,000 prize money. It’s quite often used as a first up assignment for some of the staying stars launching a campaign consisting of some of the richest races in the nation.

Saturday October 14: The Everest, Caulfield Guineas

Sydney announces itself on October 14 with The Everest, Australia’s richest annual race. Prize money is up to $20 million for the 1200 metre sprint at Royal Randwick. The other major races on the card are the Group 1 $5 million King Charles III Stakes (1600m) and The Kosciuszko, worth $2 million and run over 1200 metres. It doesn’t end there, with two other seven-figure races on the bill at Randwick.

Victorians will pay close attention to the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m), G1 Might and Power Stakes (G1) and G1 Toorak Handicap (G1), making this a huge Spring launch at Caulfield.

Saturday October 21: The Caulfield Cup, Five Diamonds Prelude

Caulfield Cup day is undoubtedly one of racing’s favourites, with the Group 1 event over 2400 metres worth $5 million this year.

In Sydney, Randwick plays host to the special conditions $1 million dollar Five Diamonds Prelude (1500m) for five-year-old horses hunting an entry into the $2m Five Diamonds.

Saturday October 28: Cox Plate, Spring Champion Stakes

The massive races roll on, with Mooney Valley hosting the famous $5 million dollar Cox Plate (2400m) and Group 1 Manikato Stakes sprint over 1200 metres, worth $2 million.

Sydney fans won’t go bored either, with two races at Royal Randiwck worth $2 million; the G1 Spring Champion Stakes over 2000 metres and The Invitation (1400m).

Spring Carnival, Sydney, Racing NSW
Sydney’s Spring Carnival vibe in full bloom.

Saturday November 4: Golden Eagle, Victoria Derby

It’s arguably the largest Saturday of the season these days, with Derby Day at Melbourne’s Flemington and the Golden Eagle at Sydney’s Rosehill happening in tandem.

The Golden Eagle over 1500 metres is now one of the richest races in Australia, worth $10 million, attracting some of the best middle distance racers on the planet. The Rosehill race schedule also features the $3 million Winners Stakes over 1300, named the Giga Kick Stakes for 2023.

The Group 1 $2 million Victoria Derby (2500m) headlines Melbourne’s action, but the meet at Flemington also includes the G1 $2 million Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) and G1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) worth $1 million.

Tuesday November 7: Melbourne Cup, The Big Dance

We’re all aware of what happens on the first Tuesday in November and the key date is once again coming at us quickly. The Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200 metres) for 2023 at Flemington is worth $8 million and it’s set to attract enormous attention once again.

The Melbourne Cup starts at 3:00pm on Tuesday November 7. Who will join the Melbourne Cup record books in 2023?

Racing NSW made a move of their own in recent years for Melbourne Cup day with The Big Dance at Randwick, starting in 2022, run over 1600 metres and worth $3 million. The race is open to Country Cups entrants good enough to qualify.

Thursday November 9: VRC Oaks

The Melbourne Cup Carnival continues on the Thursday at Flemington, with the Group 1 Victorian Racing Club Oaks (2500m). It’s worth $1 million dollars and contested by the best three-year-old fillies in the country.

Saturday November 11: Champions Stakes, Five Diamonds

This is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable racing days of the spring carnival, headlined by three Group 1s at Flemington. The meet includes the Champions Mile (1600m), Champions Stakes (2000m) and Champions Sprint (1200m), all worth $3 million in prize money.

Rosehill Gardens in Sydney’s west plays host to the $2 million Five Diamonds over 1800m, which only started in 2022, open to only five-year-olds. The other featured race is the $1 million Golden Gift (1100m).

Saturday November 18: Thousand Guineas, The Hunter

It’s back to Caulfield the week after the Cup Carnival comes to a close, with a couple more Group 1s for racegoers to enjoy at the back end of the Spring Carnival. The $1 million Thousand Guineas (1600m) headlines the action, plus there’s the $500,000 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes over 1400 metres.

In New South Wales, Newcastle now has its own $1 million dollar race, The Hunter over 1300 metres, which attracts some of The Everest horses that missed a major pay day earlier in the campaign. The meet is at Newcastle Racecourse, growing in popularity.

Phil Prior
Phil Prior
Phil is the editorial lead at Only Sports, bringing more than 12 years of wide-ranging sports media experience to the team. But it’s his unrivalled passion that sets him apart. He also commentates AFL on SEN Radio, plus Rugby on Stan Sport. Find Phil on LinkedIn.

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