Staged during the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival, the Spring Champion Stakes is a Group 1 event run under set weights conditions for three-year-olds.
The inaugural running was won by Gay Icarus in 1971, when known as the Australasian Champion Stakes, before a name change occurred in 1978 when Lefroy won the event.
From 1979 onwards, the year that champion racehorse Kingston Town won the race, it was upgraded to Group 1 status.
It has been staged at Royal Randwick for all bar two editions of the event; Sir Dapper won the race at Warwick Farm in 1983 over 2100m and Viking Ruler claimed the 2001 edition when run on the Kensington track (inner track at Randwick) over 1800m.
Due to an outbreak of Equine Influenza, the Spring Champion Stakes and many other races for that matter, were not staged during 2007.
It was most recently won by the Chris Waller-trained Vanbrugh who scored by 1.3 lengths as the $2.50 favourite.
The key lead-up race to the Spring Champion Stakes is the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) held at Rosehill Gardens two weeks earlier. This is the same race that Vanbrugh won on his way to success and five of the past six winners contested the Gloaming prior to the Spring Champion; three of them won it and two finished runner-up.
Carrying $500,000 in prizemoney, the Spring Champion Stakes attracts a number of star three-year-old stayers who have gone on to win some of Australia’s greatest races.
Following Kingston Town’s 1979 victory in the Spring Champion Stakes, he would go on to create a legendary career by winning the Cox Plate in 1980, 1981 and 1982. He would also win the AJC Derby (1980), Sydney Cup (1980), Queensland Derby (1980) and George Main Stakes (1981-82) amongst other feature wins.
He is also in the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.
Tie The Knot would go on to dominate racing in Sydney following his win in the three-year-old feature in 1997. He would claim the Rosehill Guineas (1998), Sydney Cup (1998-99), Chipping Norton Stakes (1999, 2000-02), The BMW (1999 & 2000) and Ranvet Stakes (2000-01) in Sydney.
Notable winners of the Spring Champion Stakes include Taras Bulba (1975), Cheyne Walk (1976), Kingston Town (1979), Best Western (1971), Sir Dapper (1983), Beau Zam (1987), Stylish Century (1989), Danewin (1994), Nothin’ Leica Dane (1995), Tie The Knot (1997), Dignity Dancer (1998), Universal Prince (2000), Niello (2003), Savabeel (2004), Monaco Consul (2009), It’s A Dundeel (2012) and Complacent (2013).