Close to 21,000 people have enjoyed day one of The Championships under blue skies at Royal Randwick.
The prestigious two-day series held annually in April sees the best horses, jockeys and trainers from Australia and overseas compete for a share of more than $20million in prizemoney.
“We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect opening to the grand finals of Australian racing,” Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys AM said. “The Championships is only in its fourth year but is going from strength to strength.”
Today’s 10-race program, which included four Group 1s, produced upset victories and unforgettable finishes.
"Chautauqua's unprecedented third consecutive Darley TJ Smith Stakes was one of the most incredible performances we have seen," Australian Turf Club CEO Darren Pearce said.
Sydney jockey, Blake Shinn shot to the lead in the Nathan Berry Medal with his dominant win aboard Free Standing in the Country Championships and runner-up runs in the TJ Smith Stakes and The Doncaster Mile. The medal will be awarded next Saturday to the most successful jockey over the course of The Championships and honours the memory of the late Nathan Berry.
Off the track racegoers were spoilt for choice with a range of food, fashion and entertainment options.
Little Sydney was again the place to be seen with guests treated to a gourmet food experience curated by the head chefs of leading Sydney restaurants. While stylish racegoers flocked to The Fashion Chute where the best dressed could win a share of more than $40,000 in prizes.
International superstar, Ronan Keating, capped off a fantastic day with an electrifying performance in the Theatre Of The Horse. Racegoers lined the steps and packed the balconies and he belted out hit after hit.
The Championships continue next Saturday, 8 April, and wonder mare Winx will be chasing her 17th straight win in the $4million Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes. It’s the last chance to see the world’s best racehorse on turf this season.
"Sydney has hosted a day of Group 1 racing that would be remembered for many years and we can't wait to welcome everyone back to Royal Randwick next week,” Darren Pearce said.
“We are looking to forward to building on the success of today when The Championships continues next Saturday,” Peter V’landys said.