Golden Eagle 2022 Preview: Field, Betting & Tips

The country’s best four-year-olds will battle for the lion’s share of a $10 million prize purse when they line up for the Golden Eagle on Saturday.

This race provides owners with a compelling incentive to resist approaches from studs and continue racing their star thoroughbreds beyond their three-year-old seasons. It has only been running since 2019, but it is the world’s second richest turf race – after The Everest – so it always attracts a talented field.

English raider Light Infantry has been installed as the favourite for the Golden Eagle 2022, with international jockey Jamie Spencer in the saddle. He faces stern competition from Peter Moody’s I Wish I Win, in-form mare Chain Of Lightning and various other talented runners.

Chris Waller will pin his hopes on Hinged, winner of the Group 1 Surround Stakes earlier this year, Welwal and the promising Fangirl. Superstar Italian jockey Frankie Detorri is booked to ride Welwal. Godolphin will be represented by Vilana and Brigantine, while Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have Converge and In The Congo in the race.

Read on to learn more about the Golden Eagle, its background, the leading contenders and our top tip for the race.


Golden Eagle Background and History

The Golden Eagle was inaugurated in 2019. It is restricted to four-year-olds only, run over 1500m on the right-handed turf track at Rosehill Racecourse in Sydney. It takes place on the same day as the Victoria Derby at Flemington, as Racing NSW continues its bid to seize the limelight from Melbourne.

Prize money was initially $7.5 million when Chris Waller-trained gelding Kolding saluted in 2019. It has increased by 33% to $10 million this year. The Golden Eagle normally has a maximum field of 18 runners, but on Monday, connections were notified that this year’s race has been expanded to 20 runners.


Golden Eagle Notable Winners

There have been three winners of the Golden Eagle since it was created:

  • Kolding | A New Zealand-bred racehorse who has clinched three Group 1 victories – the All Aged Stakes, Epsom Handicap and George Main Stakes. He emerged victorious in the first Golden Eagle after a final lunge catapulted him past Sunlight.
  • Colette | The Godolphin mare won the second Golden Eagle in 2020. She also won the Group 1 Australian Oaks and the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes during her career. Colette was 15th of 18 runners rounding the home turn in the Golden Eagle, but a strong late sprint saw her reel in her rivals and clinch a narrow victory.
  • I’m Thunderstruck | Last year’s winner saluted in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap at Caulfield prior to landing the Golden Eagle. He won a second consecutive Toorak Handicap this year, and he also finished runner-up to Anamoe in the Cox Plate.


Golden Eagle 2021 Winner

I’m Thunderstruck became the first Victorian-trained runner to win the Golden Eagle when he nailed Count De Rupee with metres to spare last year. Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr’s gelding went off as the $3.50 favourite, and he delivered on his promise with a late burst of pace.

He had to fight his way out of congestion after settling forward of midfield. It was an impressive ride from Hugh Bowman, who timed the late surge well. I’m Thunderstruck finished in a record time of 1:27.90. Vangelic, a $31 shot, was third, while Apache Chase ($5.50) was fourth.


Golden Eagle Date

The Golden Eagle takes place on Saturday 29 October.


Golden Eagle Leading Contenders


Light Infantry 

Light Infantry showed great promise when winning a Group 3 race at Newbury over 7 furlongs (1408m) last year. He then finished second in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat at Deauville over the same distance in July, before securing another runner-up finish over a mile in the Group 1 Prix Jacques Le Marois, when he finished a neck behind champion filly Inspiral.

The English raider has now joined the in-form Ciaron Maher and David Eustace yard, and they have secured the services of English jockey Jamie Spencer to ride him. Spencer has been aboard Light Infantry on his last five starts.

He is a classy runner, who has impressed over 1400m and 1600m, so he should handle the 1500m distance, and he performs well on all surfaces. However, he has never previously raced around a turn, this is his first start in Australia and he is accustomed to bigger tracks. Light Infantry had a valuable gallop at Canterbury this week, and Spencer said he is in great shape.


I Wish I Win

The Peter Moody-trained I Wish I Win opened at $6 for a fixed win with TopSport in this race, but he has now drifted out to $7. Luke Nolen is set to ride the gelding, who has won two of his three starts this spring. 

He won first up, before saluting in the Listed Testa Rossa Stakes at Sandown. I Wish I Win then ran fifth in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap earlier this month. He was runner-up in the Group 1 Manawatu Sire Produce Stakes in New Zealand last year, and he also finished third in the Group 1 Levin Classic at Trentham in March.


Chain Of Lightning 

Chain Of Lightning is a stablemate of I Wish I Win, trained by Moody. “The two best horses I have in the stable are four-year-olds and are looking for a mile, so the Golden Eagle with $10 million in prize money caught our attention,” he said this week, when justifying his decision to skip Derby day in Melbourne.

He will hope that Chain Of Lightning follows in the footsteps of his previous superstar mares, Black Caviar and Typhoon Tracy. She has won six of her last seven starts, including the Group 2 Tristarc Stakes at Caulfield over 1400m on 15 October.



Hinged is a Group 1 winner, having saluted in the Surround Stakes at Randwick back in February. She also placed in the G1 Coolmore Classic and the G1 Vinery Stud Stakes, before finishing fourth in the Australian Oaks in April. Hinged was fifth in the G1 Winx Stakes first-up this spring, before finishing third in the G1 George Main Stakes and third in the G1 Epsom Classic, so she always seems to be there or thereabouts in big races.



Vilana warmed up for this race by winning the Silver Eagle at Randwick two weeks ago. That was his first appearance after a 126-day break, and it bodes well for his prospects in the Golden Eagle. He has five wins from eight starts, including the G3 Fred Best Classic in May, and he represents Godolphin’s best chance of success in this race.


In The Congo 

In The Congo is one of two runners from the Waterhouse and Bott yard, along with dual Group 1 winner Converge. He likes to lead or settle on the speed, and it will be interesting to see if he has the stamina to last the distance. Tim Clark will ride In The Congo, who was last seen finishing second to Rocketing By in the Sydney Stakes on Everest Day. He had a wide barrier in that race, so he did well, and Waterhouse says he has improved considerably since then.


Golden Eagle Odds

Horse Fixed Win Fixed Place
Light Infantry $4.20 $2.00
I Wish I Win $8 $3.20
Chain Of Lightning $7.50 $2.70
In The Congo $11 $3.90
Hinged $14 $4.80
Vilana $14 $4.80
Welwal $14 $4.80
Gypsy Goddess $16 $5
Mr Mozart $16 $5
Fangirl $16 $5
Pinstriped $26 $7
Brigantine $31 $7.50
Converge $41 $8.50
Overpass $26 $7
Cardinal Gem $34 $8
Hope In Your Heart $41 $8.50
Kiss Sum $51 $11
Hilal $61 $13
Military Expert $81 $14
Lady Of Honour $101 $15
Jimmy The Bear $101 $15
Lavish Girl $101 $15
Lightsaber $101 $15
Flying Crazy $201 $26


Golden Eagle Prize Money 

The Golden Eagle prize money has increased from $7.5 million last year to $10 million this time around. That has seen it eclipse the Melbourne Cup ($8 million) and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (€5 million / $7.7 million) to become the second richest turf race in the world, after The Everest.

The winning horse will earn $5.25 million, while the runner-up takes home $2 million. The horse that finishes third earns $1 million, with $500,000 for fourth, $250,000 for fifth, $175,000 for sixth, $120,000 apiece for seventh and eighth, $100,000 for ninth, $75,000 for 10th, $30,000 for the runners that finish 11th and 12th, $20,000 each for 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th, and $10,000 each for 17th and 18th.

Ten percent of the prize money is paid to charities nominated by each horse’s owner. There will also be a $150,000 donation to the equine welfare fund and a $100,000 donation to the jockeys’ welfare fund too.


Golden Eagle Tips

Hinged is in great form heading into the Golden Eagle. She is a Group 1 winner, and she has placed in her last two starts, when taking on brilliant rivals. The odds on her to place look appealing. In The Congo also has an excellent chance of success in this race, so backing him for a fixed place is an attractive prospect too.