The Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) takes place at Randwick annually in April during the Sydney Autumn Carnival and is a staying race for three-year-olds.
With $2 million in prizemoney, it attracts the best staying three-year-olds from Australia and New Zealand and is part of a fantastic day of racing that includes the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) and the $2.5 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m).
The Australian Derby is a set-weights race run over 2400m and is open to fillies, colts and geldings. Males carry 56.5kg in the race and any fillies taking part in the race get a 2kg allowance.
Some of the runners in the Australian Derby may have contested the Randwick Guineas (1600m) held a month earlier and the Rosehill Guineas (2000m) held two weeks earlier.
It was first run in 1861 when won by Kyogle when it was known as the AJC Randwick Derby Stakes. In 1865 the race was renamed the AJC Australia Derby Stakes then from 1873 through 1993 it was called the AJC Derby.
Although the race officially became the AJC Australian Derby in 1994, it is still commonly referred to as the AJC Derby.
The official records show that Prince Humphrey won the Australian Derby in 1928, but he apparently wasn’t in the race. It was a horse called Cragsman, by the same sire but with a different dam.
The honour roll is exceptional with numerous AJC Australian Derby winners going on to become household names with the most famous being Phar Lap who won the race in 1929.
Other former winners of the AJC Australian Derby include The Barb (1866), Robinson Crusoe (1876), Peter Pan (1932), Tulloch (1957), Kingston Town (1980), Mahogany (1994), Octagonal (1996) and It’s A Dundeel (2013).
Many of the horses that have won the AJC Australian Derby have gone on to win some of the country’s most prestigious races in the following years with the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup being likely targets.