In a major change during the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival the Spring Champion Stakes 2013 date has been moved from Epsom Handicap Day to a week later for a stand-alone meeting at Royal Randwick on Saturday October 12.
Running on the same day as the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in Melbourne, this year’s edition of the Spring Champion Stakes is expected to attract its best field yet because of the move.
The Australian Turf Club (ATC) decided to bring the Group 1 $400,000 three-year-olds feature, run over 2000m, back a week to allow a complete month between it and the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) for the same age group at Rosehill in mid-September.
The move also means Epsom Handicap Day on October 5 has lost one of its elite level features.
Punters will still have plenty to enjoy though with the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) still accompanied by two other Group 1’s with the $400,000 The Metropolitan (2400m) for Cups-bound horses and the fillies and mares $400,000 Flight Stakes over the mile.
On the now title Spring Champion Stakes Day meanwhile the only other black type feature is the mares-only $125,000 Group 3 Angst Stakes (1600m).
As a traditional lead-up to the $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) during the Melbourne Cup Carnival in the first week of November at Flemington, the Spring Champion Stakes is a must watch event for punters this spring.
Last year’s edition was won by It’s A Dudneel who would go on to complete the Sydney Autumn 3YO Triple Crown their next prep, Murray Baker’s crack Kiwi now the pre-post favourite for the 2013 Cox Plate this October.
One possible contender who’s already emerged for the Spring Champion Stakes this year is the Chris Waller-trained Commands colt Vilanova who will bypass the Golden Rose and focus solely on the later feature.
“Vilanova will be aimed at the Spring Champion Stakes,” Waller said last month after the two-year-old finished a brave fourth in the Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m) in Brisbane.
“There is not much turnaround time between the winter and the spring but on the plus side they will have residual fitness on their side.”
2013 Spring Champion Stakes nominations close at 11am (AEST) on August 26 with the final field due out the Wednesday before the race.
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