The AJC Australian Derby is a prestigious Group 1 race for three year old horses, held each year at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney. This event is a classic 2400 metre race and is held under set weight conditions for $1,500,000 in prize money.
The AJC Australian Derby takes place on the same day as two other Group 1 races, the TJ Smith Stakes and the AJC Sires Produce Stakes. Being the premier event for three year old horses, the AJC Australian Derby always manages to attract a high quality field.
Some of the notable horses to have won this race over the years include The Barb in 1866, Phar Lap in 1929, Peter Pan in 1932, Tulloch in 1957, Dulcify in 1979, Kingston Town in 1980, Sky Heights in 1999, Octagonal in 1996, Mahogany in 1994, Naturalism in 1992, and Durbridge in 1991.
This event is run over the classic derby distance of 2400 metres and has a history of producing some of Australia’s greatest horses. The Australian Derby has proved a good indicator event for other big name races, including the prestigious Group 1 Caulfield Cup. Second place horse in the 2010 Australian Derby, Descarado, went on to win the Caulfield Cup the following season, with Monaco Consul coming third in both races in 2009.
Some of the important lead up events for this race include the Group 1 Randwick Guineas, the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas, and the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes. In recent years, some of the winners of this event include Nom De Jeu in 2008, Roman Emperor in 2009, Shoot Out in 2010, Shamrocker in 2011, and Ethiopia in 2012.
The Australian Derby has been run since 1861, making it one of the oldest events in Australian racing. Originally a Principal Race held over a distance of 12 furlongs, this event was elevated directly to a Group 1 race in 1980. The mighty Kingston Town won the first race under Group 1 classification.