RACING fans were treated to another spectacular event at Royal Randwick on Saturday for Day 2 of The Championships – Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes Day.
Following the action-packed Day 1 where Winx lit up The Star Doncaster Mile, more racegoers, 25,195, witnessed Lucia Valentina win the carnival’s richest race – the $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Racing NSW chief executive officer, Mr Peter V’landys AM said Day 2 proved that racing fans were keen to embrace The Championships which is in just its third year.
“It was a fantastic day and the crowd was bigger this weekend which was a great sign,” Mr V’landys said.
“It’s going to keep building up each year now, but today there wasn’t a spare blade of grass to stand on. This is just going to get bigger and better every year.
“I spoke to a few of the jockeys and they couldn’t believe how good the atmosphere was out on the track.”
Newcastle trainer Kris Lees not only won the main race with Lucia Valeninta, but took out the Provincial Championships, both times combining with Hall of Famer Damien Oliver.
“It showed just how strong and successful the Country and Provincial Series is,” Mr V’landys said.
The other highlight of the day was Gallante’s tough win in the $2m Schweppes Sydney Cup where he led from start to finish thanks to a great front-running ride by Kerrin McEvoy.
Azkadellia proved her third placing in the Doncaster Mile was no fluke with a dominate win in the Group 1 The Coolmore Legacy Stakes, again ridden by Oliver for trainer Ciaron Maher.
It was another New Zealand raider who took out a classic race with Sofia Rosa winning the James Boag’s Premium Australian Oaks after Tavago won the Australian Derby on Day 1.
Australian Turf Club Chief Executive Officer, Darren Pearce said: "Sydney has provided two weeks of world class racing, with strong crowds, and the very best of horses, in a great social atmosphere.
"Winx, Chautaqua and now Lucia Valentina have all thrilled crowds with their performances.
"We look forward to continuing to grow The Championships as one of the premium sporting and destination events all year.”
Hugh Bowman took out his second Nathan Berry Medal for leading rider at The Championships with 14 points, followed by Oliver (12) and Tommy Berry (10).