The Winter Challenge was first held in 2011 as a 1500m race at Rosehill, and it was won by Foreteller. In 2012 it was held over a mile at Warwick Farm, but following that it has stayed as 1500m at Rosehill. Interestingly, the only time a mare won was when it was held at Warwick Farm, and it tends to be won by older geldings. It is the last black type race of the season in Sydney and the main lead-up races are the Listed Winter Stakes over 1400m at Rosehill held two weeks earlier, and the Listed Civic Stakes over 1350m at Rosehill held four weeks earlier.
Chris Waller has been very successful at training winners of this race and has achieved 7 winners from the first 10 times the race has been run. Jason Collett has been the winning jockey 3 times while both Tommy Berry and James McDonald have ridden two winners.
Most likely types to win
With only a short race history to go on, it appears most winners are older geldings that have had a winter campaign, rather than a fresh horse getting ready for the spring.
Winter Challenge Facts
Last mare to win: Spinnawitch (2012)
Last 3YO to win: So far no three-year-old has won the Winter Challenge.
Multiple winners: None so far
Fastest time (1500m): He’s Your Man (2014) 1:29.07
Leading jockeys: Jason Collett with 3 wins (Mister Sea Wolf 2018, Shiraz 2017 and Coup Ay Tee 2013).
Leading trainers: Chris Waller with 7 wins (Order Again 2021, Seaway 2019, Mister Sea Wolf 2018, Marenostro 2016, He’s Your Man 2014, Coup Ay Tee 2013 and Foreteller 2011)
Interesting trivia: Chris Waller has won 7 of the 10 runnings.
Past winners of the Winter Challenge
Winners of past Winter Challenges tend to be sprinter-milers. Although it is held at the end of July most horses are finishing their campaign rather than starting it.