Spring Champion Stakes & The Invitation Preview – Field, Odds & Tips

Punters can look forward to the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes and a $2 million race called The Invitation at Randwick on Saturday.

It is Cox Plate Day, but Racing NSW is determined to steal some of Moonee Valley’s thunder by hosting these exciting races in Sydney. The Spring Champion Stakes has been running since 1971, but The Invitation is a newcomer to the scene, having been inaugurated last year.

We have previewed both races, rounded up the leading contenders and provided our top tips for The Invitation 2022 and the Spring Champion Stakes.


Spring Champion Stakes 2022

The Spring Champion Stakes was known as the Australasian Champion Stakes when it was inaugurated back in 1971. It was renamed seven years later, and it achieved Group 1 status in 1979. The race is for three-year-olds only, run under set weight conditions over 2000m at Randwick.

It has a $1 million prize purse, which generally helps to attract a talented field. Famous winners from over the years include Kingston Town, Beau Zam, Tie The Knot and Dundeel. Last year, Profondo secured an emphatic win in the Spring Champion Stakes on just his third start, having previously hit headlines as the $1.9 million sale-topper in the 2020 Magic Millions Yearling Sale.


Spring Champion Stakes Race Time 

The Spring Champion Stakes will begin at 16:45 on Saturday, 45 minutes before The Invitation 2022 is scheduled to start.


Spring Champion Stakes 2022 Fields & Contenders Preview

There will be 12 runners in the Spring Champion Stakes, running at set weights. This is yet another race with an open field. These are the horses at the top of the betting:



The Victorian raider will take the battle to Sydney’s elite three-year-olds on Saturday. He is one of just two runners from outsider NSW, along with Kiwi runner Sharp ‘n’ Smart, but he heads the betting after finishing runner-up in the Caulfield Guineas.

Elliptical was a little unlucky to finish less than a quarter of a length behind Golden Mile in that 1600m race, and it will be interesting to see how he handles the step up to 2000m. Trainers Anthony and Sam Freeman decided to swerve the Cox Plate and send him to Sydney instead, with Blake Shinn booked to ride. Elliptical will jump from Barrier 1



The Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou-trained colt won the Listed before finishing third to Sharp ‘n’ Smart and Matcha Latte in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes. He finished fast in that race, and he looked as though he wanted a longer trip. Ryan cannot understand why Williamsburg is not the favourite for this race, as he has 2000m “written all over him” and he enjoys racing at Randwick. 


She’s Extreme

She’s Extreme is one of just two fillies in the race, along with Group 2 Ethereal Stakes winner Renaissance Woman. The Anthony Cummings-trained She’s Extreme is a Group 1 winner, having clinched the Champagne Stakes at Randwick over 1600m in April. She was last seen running second to Zougotcha over the same distance in the Group 1 Darley Flight Stakes on this track at the start of October.



Promitto struggled in the Golden Rose Stakes over 1400m in September, but improved when running third in the 2000m Group 3 Craven Plate last weekend. He will now face a quick back-up by competing in the Spring Champion Stakes, bidding for a first win since clinching the G2 Skyline Stakes in February.


Sharp ‘n’ Smart

The Kiwi raider edged out Matcha Latte and Williamsburg in the Gloaming Stakes, which bodes well for this race. The lightly-raced colt will need to prove his mettle over 2000m, and he jumps from Barrier 8 on Saturday, ridden by Hugh Bowman.


Spring Champion Stakes Odds

Horse Fixed Win Fixed Place
Elliptical $4.40 $1.75
Williamsburg $4.80 $1.85
She’s Extreme $6.00 $2.15
Promitto $7.00 $2.35
Sharp ‘n’ Smart $7.00 $2.35
Renaissance Woman $10.00 $2.90
Matcha Latte $12.00 $3.40
Manzoice $21.00 $4.80
Conqueror $26.00 $5.50
Bunker Hot $61.00 $10.00
Coppleson $61.00 $10.00
Owen Country $61.00 $10.00


Spring Champion Stakes 2022 Tips

Williamsburg looks capable of holding off She’s Extreme and Elliptical to win this race. He ran very well over 1600m in the Gloaming Stakes, despite being clearly better suited to 2000m, and he has all the necessary ingredients to vanquish his opponents on Saturday. Trainer Gerald Ryan is extremely bullish on his chances, and it is easy to see why.


The Invitation 2022

Racing NSW created The Invitation last year. It is a race for fillies and mares, run over 1400m at Randwick during the Spring Carnival, with a $2 million prize purse.

Invitations to this race are only extended to fillies and mares trained in Australia and New Zealand. Racing NSW chairman Russell Balding called it a “marquee race for fillies and mares”. “As we head towards The Everest and The Golden Eagle, The Invitation will provide a further highlight to spring racing in Sydney with a unique formulation of the field by invitation only,” he added.

Icebath, who had been dubbed Australia’s biggest loser after suffering several narrow defeats, finally had some luck as she came from the back of the field to win the race, finishing 1½ lengths clear of Rocha Clock. She will return to defend her crown this year.


The Invitation Race Time 

The Invitation 2022 will take place at 17:30 on Saturday, making it the ninth race of the card at Randwick. It comes directly after the Spring Champion Stakes, which is Race 8.


The Invitation 2022 Field & Contenders Preview

The field for The Invitation comprises 12 starters, who were invited by the Racing NSW panel, and there are a couple of reserves. The field looks wide open, without a clear favourite, but these are the leading contenders:



The Matthew Smith-trained mare delivered an impressive performance to win the Group 2 Golden Pendant over 1400m at Rosehill Gardens last month. She was handed topweight of 58kg and she also had to overcome an outside barrier, but she got the better of Palaisipan, Pippali and Espiona.

Nimalee stepped up to 1600m in the Group 1 Epsom at Randwick on her last start, and she finished fourth, lengths behind winner Ellsberg. She should enjoy a drop back down to 1400m in The Invitation, and it will be tough for her rivals to beat her.



Icebath finished second in the Golden Eagle and the Doncaster Mile last season, leading some to suggest she would never win a feature race. That all changed when she powered to victory in The Invitation in less than 64 seconds.

However, she has not tasted victory since then. She was second by a shoulder in the Group 1 Cantala Stakes, bolstering her reputation as an unlucky loser, and she also placed in the G1 Doncaster Mile and G1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes in the autumn, finishing 2¼ lengths behind Nimalee in the latter. She was then second to Zaaki in the G2 Tramway Stakes and second to Anamoe in the G1 George Main Stakes this spring, so she went off as the favourite for the Epsom. She could only finish fourth, but she was a length clear of Nimalee.


Forbidden Love

Forbidden Love finished third in The Invitation last year. She is one of just three Group 1 winners in the field, along with Nimalee and Sheza Belter. Forbidden Love has drawn Barrier 2, which will leave her sandwiched between Sheeza Belter (1) and Icebath (3) when this race gets underway. Her last win came in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes in March 2021, and trainer Michael Freedman will hope to see her rediscover that form.



The enigmatic mare is champion trainer Chris Waller’s only runner in this race. She has been unplaced in both starts this spring, but she ran fourth in the Golden Pendant over the same distance, which augurs reasonably well, and Waller is keeping faith in her.


Sheeza Belta

Sheeza Belt is the only three-year-old filly in the race. She won the Group 1 JJ Atkins during her two-year-old season, which makes her an interesting contender. However, she has not raced since competing in Brisbane during the winter, so it will be difficult for her to make a mark while fresh against the mares.


The Invitation Odds

Horse Fixed Win Fixed Place
Nimalee $5.00 $2.00
Icebath $5.50 $2.15
Forbidden Love $6.50 $2.40
Espiona $7.00 $2.50
Sheeza Belter $11.00 $3.40
Swats That $12.00 $3.60
Electric Girl $13.00 $3.80
Expat $13.00 $3.80
Belle Plaisir $16.00 $4.40
Promise Of Success $16.00 $4.40
Never Talk $20.00 $4.80
Barb Raider $21.00 $5.00
Charmmebaby $41.00 $7.50
Ita $81.00 $12.00


The Invitation 2022 Tips 

Icebath may have carried the “unlucky loser” tag around with her, but that shows how frequently she places in big races. She always seems to be there or thereabouts, and she is obviously proven over the distance and on the course, and she looks appealing at $2.15 for a fixed place.


**Odds quoted are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change.