The Kosciuszko 2022 Preview: Field, Betting, Winner Trends & Tips

The leading country-trained sprinters from New South Wales will vie for a $2 million prize purse in The Kosciuszko on Saturday.

This is the most lucrative race of its kind, and it takes place on Everest day, so it always generates a great deal of attention. It provides an intriguing opportunity to see the leading provincially trained sprinters from around the state in action.

A field of 14 will battle for glory over 1200m at Randwick under set-weight conditions in The Kosciuszko this weekend. It’s Me, who won the race in 2020, is the favourite after returning in fine order.

However, the odds suggest we could be in for a wide open race, with Far Too Easy, Front Page, 2019 winner Handle The Truth, Anethole and defending champion Art Cadeau all well backed.

Our guide to The Kosciuszko rounds up the leading contenders, delves into the race’s history and provides our top tips.


The Kosciuszko Background and History

Racing NSW created The Kosciuszko in 2018. It serves as the main support act for The Everest – the world’s richest race on turf – which takes place on the same card at Randwick. The Kosciuszko also follows a similar slot-holder model, but it is restricted to country-trained horses from New South Wales and Canberra.

The race is named after Mount Kosciuszko, Australia’s tallest mountain. The brewer, Lion, also has a beer called Kosciuszko, so it sponsors the race. The Kosciuszko is a relative newcomer to the Sydney Spring Carnival, but it is already very popular among racing fans and country trainers alike.


The Kosciuszko Winners

There have been four winners of The Kosciuszko since it was created in 2018:

  • Belfyer | The inaugural winner of the race. Belfyer was a seven-year-old gelding trained by John Shelton, drawn from Barrier 11, who carried 57.5kg. He defied odds of $71 to win the race.
  • Handle The Truth | The Keith Dryden-trained gelding was four years old when he won in 2019. He sprung from Barrier 7, carrying 57kg.
  • It’s Me | Another four-year-old who came from Barrier 7. It’s Me, trained by Brett Cavanough, was the hot favourite at $2.00. She carried just 53.5kg, and she is the only mare to win the race.
  • Art Cadeau | Last year’s winner was aged five. He came out of Barrier 3 and carried 57.5kg, with a starting price of $4.00


The Kosciuszko 2021 Winner

Art Cadeau nailed Handle The Truth right on the line to clinch a thrilling victory in The Kosciuszko last year. The authorities allowed 10,000 fans into Randwick to watch it unfold after Covid-19 restrictions, and they created a buzzing atmosphere during a captivating duel down the stretch.

Handle The Truth, who won the race in 2019 and finished fourth in 2020, looked on course for another famous victory after pulling two lengths clear of the chasing pack at the 200m mark. However, Art Cadeau displayed great pace and tenacity to reel him in during a nail-biting burst towards the finish line.

It made him the first horse to complete the Country Championships Final-The Kosciuszko double, delighting the crowd. “I haven’t heard anything like it,” said winning jockey Tommy Berry after the race. “I’ve had some pretty big wins at Randwick in my career but that is as big a cheer as I’ve ever got. That was just raw emotion from everyone so happy just to be back at the track”



The Kosciuszko Time & Date

The Kosciuszko will take place at 14:50 AEST on Saturday at Randwick. It will be the fifth race on the card, an hour and 25 minutes before The Everest gets underway. The Kosciuszko is run over 1200m at set weights and penalties on the right-handed turf track at Randwick.


The Kosciuszko Leading Contenders


It’s Me

James McDonald will ride It’s Me as she bids for a second victory in The Kosciuszko on Saturday. She will carry 56.5kg this time around, 2.5kg more than when she won in 2020, but she has landed an excellent draw in Barrier 5.

It’s Me made a strong start to the campaign, winning at Eagle Farm, and she then ran less than a length fourth behind Everest runner Shades Of Rose, so she is in great form. One issue is that she displayed lameness in her off fore foot over the weekend, but if she makes a full recovery, she will be the one to beat in this race.

Far Too Easy

The David McColm-trained Far Too Easy has been well backed into second favourite at $5.50 for The Kosciuszko after saluting in the One Metro Win Handicap on the Gold Coast last month. He will now bid for victory in The Kosciuszko, with champion Brisbane jockey James Orman in the saddle.

It would be a remarkable story, as Far Too Easy had a brush with death after flood waters swept through his stable earlier this year. He has landed Barrier 7, which has yielded two of the race’s four winners.

Front Page

Front Page will carry 59kg for The Kosciuszko on Saturday. He is resuming after an 18-week spell, but he has already won twice when fresh. Front Page has drawn Barrier 4, and he is likely to push forward, so he could emerge as the frontrunner. Conditions should suit him, so he will be a formidable contender.

Handle The Truth

The 2019 winner is set to contest The Kosciuszko for the fourth year in a row. He could only finish fourth in 2020, but he was unlucky to finish second last year, and will get another crack at glory this weekend. Handle The Truth is now seven years old, and he will carry 59kg for this race, with Nash Rawiller booked to ride.

Art Cadeau

The defending champion will be lumbered with top-weight 60kg, and he is heading into this race fresh from a spell. He delivered a tremendous burst of pace down the stretch last year, and he has the top handicap rating of any contender this time around, so he will have to dig deep in a bid to become the horse with the heaviest load to ever win this race. Art Cadeau was first-up when he won The Kosciuszko last spring, so trainer Terry Robinson has opted for the same approach this time around.


The Kosciuszko Odds

Horse Fixed Win Fixed Place
It’s Me $5.00 $2.10
Far Too Easy $5.50 $2.25
Front Page $6.00 $2.40
Handle The Truth $8.00 $2.90
Anethole $10.00 $3.30
Art Cadeau $10.00 $3.30
Fender $17.00 $5.00
Another One $21.00 $5.50
Le Melody $21.00 $5.50
Spiranac $21.00 $5.50
Commando Hunt $26.00 $6.50
Mnementh $26.00 $6.50
Cavalier Charles $34.00 $7.50
Talbragar $34.00 $7.50
Irish Songs $61.00 $12.00
Ten Bells $67.00 $11.00
Testator Silens $81.00 $13.00
Know Where To Look $101.00 $14.00


The Kosciuszko Prize Money 

Prize money for The Kosciuszko has increased from $1.3 million last year to $2 million in 2022. The winner will earn $1 million, while the runner-up takes home $400,000. The third-place horse gets $200,000, while there is $100,000 for fourth and the rest is shared among the remaining horses. The prize-winning slot holders must receive at least 40% of the prize money for their selected horses.


The Kosciuszko Winner Trends 

Each of the 14 horses competing in The Kosciuszko is selected by one of 14 ticket holders randomly chosen in the $5 million lottery to buy a slot in the race. This generally creates uncertainty in terms of the field, but many sprinters have contested it on multiple occasions now. There is not a great deal of historical data at our disposal, as it is a relatively new race, but these are the trends we can deduce:

  • Three of the previous four winners carried 57.5kg or 57kg, suggesting that horses with strong records thrive.
  • Belflyer won The Kosciuszko first-up after a spell, but the subsequent three winners had all made at least one appearance that spring.
  • Barrier 7 is the most successful, having yielded two of the four winners thus far. A soft barrier draw is useful, as is experience at Randwick.
  • The winner has come from the top three in the betting each year since Belflyer won at $71 in 2018.


The Kosciuszko Tips

It is hard to look past It’s Me in this race. She has been drawn perfectly for the gun run, just behind midfield and with cover. It’s Me is obviously proven at the track and the distance, having won the race two years ago. She did not defend his crown last year, but she will now have the chance to secure a second victory in the biggest race for country-trained horses. It’s Me already has three Randwick wins under her belt, and she will take some stopping on Saturday.

An interesting longer-shot could be Another One, who is priced at $5.50 for a fixed place. The Gary Colvin-trained five-year-old won the Country Championship at Randwick over 1400m in April. The going was heavy that day, which bodes well for Saturday’s race, as a lot of rain is forecast in Sydney during the build-up to The Kosciuszko. It’s Me is unproven in the wet, whereas we know that Another One can thrive on heavy ground. He was third in the Town Plate last time out, but the track was firm that day, and he could go better in sloppy conditions this weekend.


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