The Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) takes place at Royal Randwick Racecourse annually in April or May and is part of Sydney’s Juvenile Triple Crown.
The two-year-old set-weights race takes place on the last week of the Sydney Autumn Carnival and is one of two Group 1 races on the card.
Other races on the card include the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m), Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1600m) for fillies and mares, and the Group 3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m) for three-year-olds.
With $400,000 in prizemoney the Champagne Stakes is a natural progression for Golden Slipper and Sires Produce runners that can run a mile or further.
The Group 1 Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) held at Royal Randwick Racecourse two weeks earlier is the most reliable guides to the Champagne Stakes.
Winners of the Champagne Stakes have generally run their grand final for the season but in the spring, possible targets are the Caulfied Guineas and Thousand Guineas, or for the more adventurous trainer with a good horse, the Cox Plate.
Exeter, who was trained by Etienne de Mestre, won the inaugural Champagne Stakes in 1861 when the race was run over five furlongs.
Some of Australia’s most talented horses have won the premiere set-weights event including Robinson Crusoe (1876), Heroic (1924), Ajax (1937), Flight (1943), Todman (1957), Vain (1969), Luskin Star (1977), Red Anchor (1984), Dance Hero (2004), Samantha Miss (2008), Pierro (2012), Guelph (2013) and Prized Icon (2016).