COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS

Launched in 2015, the inaugural Country Championships proved a resounding success for the racing industry and generated unprecedented interest and coverage.

An initiative of Racing NSW and supported by the Government of NSW, The Country Championships was created to support and promote NSW racing in country areas, ensuring that horses from across the state are part of The Championships in Sydney in the autumn.

ABOUT THE SERIES

  • The Country Championships consists of a series of seven qualifying races, each held at a club representing one racing region in NSW.
  • Each race will be worth $150,000 in prize money, and will be contested by eligible horses that must be under the care of a country trainer in that region.
  • Two ‘Wild Card’ races, worth $150,000, will be held to provide two more opportunities for horses to qualify for the final that have already contested an earlier heat.
  • The first and second horse in each regional race will qualify for the $1 million Newhaven Park Country Championships final to be held at Royal Randwick in Sydney on Day 1 of The Championships.
The Matthew Dunn trained and Kerrin McEvoy ridden Gracie Belle did the Northern Rivers proud, winning the 2020 Newhaven Park Country Championship final at Royal Randwick on April 4.

2024 COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS

The 2024 Country Championships final will again boast a total prize pool of $1 million and is restricted to eligible horses through the Country Championship qualifiers and is run under set weight conditions.

The Country Championships Final for 2024 will be run on April 6, 2023 at Randwick Racecourse with regional qualifier dates and locations still to be confirmed.

2024 NEWHAVEN PARK COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS DATES AND LOCATIONS

DateDayVenueRegionPrizemoney
17 Feb 2024SaturdayLismoreNorthern Rivers$150,000
18 Feb 2024SundayAlburySouthern Districts$150,000
24 Feb 2024SaturdayTuncurry-ForsterMid North Coast$150,000
25 Feb 2024SundayMudgeeCentral Districts$150,000
3 Mar 2024SundayMoruyaSouth East$150,000
10 Mar 2024SundayTamworthHunter & North West$150,000
17 Mar 2024SundayCoonambleWestern$150,000
22 Mar 2024FridaySconeNorthern Wild Card$150,000
24 Mar 2024SundayGoulburnSouthern Wild Card$150,000
6 Apr 2024SaturdayRoyal RandwickFinal$1,000,000

WILD CARD RACE CONDITIONS

Conditions for the Wild Card races were amended for 2023 and beyond to require that horses afforded a start in their regional qualifier must contest that race unless scratched with a veterinary certificate or scratched for reasons otherwise approved by Racing NSW.

COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS HONOUR ROLL

YearWinnerJockeyTrainerRegionPrice
2023SIZZLE MINIZZLESam ClippertonBrett RobbWestern$61
2022ANOTHER ONENick HeywoodGary ColvinSouthern$8.50
2021ART CADEAUTommy BerryTerry RobinsonSouth East$3.30
2020GRACIE BELLEKerrin McEvoyMatthew DunnNorthern Rivers$21
2019NOBLE BOYHugh BowmanTodd BlowesWild Card$3.10
2018VICTOREMBen LookerJenny GrahamMid North Coast$4.60
2017FREE STANDINGBlake ShinnCathleen RodeNorthern Rivers$31
2016CLEARLY INNOCENTTommy BerryGreg BennettHunter & North West$5.50
2015ARTLEEMitchell BellTodd WillanWildcard$6

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2023: Sizzle Minizzle for Brett Robb and Sam Clipperton defeated Talbragar for Cody Morgan and James McDonald and I’ve Bean Tryin’ for Matthew Kelley and Ellen Hennessy.

2022: Another One for Gary Colvin and Nick Heywood defeated Commando Hunt for Cameron Crockett and Nash Rawiller and Amulet Street for Clint Lundholm and Hugh Bowman.

2021: Art Cadeau for Terry Robinson and Tommy Berry defeated Another One for Gary Colvin and Nick Heywood and Charmmebaby for Bob Milligan and Grant Buckley.

2020: Gracie Belle (pictured above) for Matthew Dunn and Kerrin McEvoy defeated Al Mah Haha for Tash Burleigh and Sam Clipperton and Plonka for Warren Gavenlock and Jason Collett.

2019: Noble Boy for Todd Blowes and Hugh Bowman defeated Lucciola Belle for Wayne Wilkes and Andrew Gibbons and Bennelong Dancer for Donna Scott and Blaike McDougall.

2018: Victorem for Jenny Graham and Ben Looker defeated Don’t Give a Damn for Danny Williams and Kerrin McEvoy and O’ So Hazy for Scott Spackman and Brooke Sweeney.

2017: Free Standing for Cathleen Rode and Blake Shinn defeated After All That for Rodney Northam and Robert Thompson and Not For Export for Dar Lunn and Christian Reith.

2016: Clearly Innocent for Greg Bennett and Tommy Berry defeated Pera Pera fort Mack Griffith and Hugh Bowman and Ever So Natural for Cliff Bashford and Damien Oliver.

2015: Artlee for Todd Willan and Mitchell Bell defeated Tarangower for Paul Messara and Joao Moreira and Voodoo Lad for Rodney Northam and James McDonald.