Launched in 2015, the inaugural Country Championships proved a resounding success for the racing industry and generated unprecedented interest and coverage.

An initiative of Racing NSW and supported by the Government of NSW, The Country Championships was created to support and promote NSW racing in country areas, ensuring that horses from across the state are part of The Championships in Sydney in the autumn.

About The Series

  • The Country Championships consists of a series of seven qualifying races, each held at a club representing one racing region in NSW.
  • Each race will be worth $150,000 in prize money, and will be contested by eligible horses that must be under the care of a country trainer in that region.
  • An eighth ‘Wild Card’ race, worth $50,000, will be held to provide one more opportunity for horses to qualify for the final that have already contested an earlier heat.
  • The first and second horse in each regional race will qualify for the $500,000 Newhaven Park Country Championships final to be held at Royal Randwick in Sydney on Day 1 of The Championships.
The Matthew Dunn trained and Kerrin McEvoy ridden Gracie Belle did the Northern Rivers proud, winning the 2020 Newhaven Park Country Championship final at Royal Randwick on April 4.

2021 Country Championships Race Dates

Sat 13 February 2021Coffs Harbour1400mNorthern Rivers
Sun 14 February 2021Nowra1400mSouth East
Sat 20 February 2021Wagga Wagga1400mSouthern Districts
Sun 21 February 2021Taree1400mMid North Coast
Sun 28 February 2021Mudgee1400mCentral Districts
Sun 7 March 2021Tamworth1400mHunter & North West
Sun 14 March 2021Coonamble1400mWestern
Sun 21 March 2021Muswellbrook1280mWild Card
Sat 3 April 2021ROYAL RANDWICK1400mFINAL

Previous Winners

2020: Gracie Belle (pictured above) for Matthew Dunn and Kerrin McEvoy; second: Al Mah Haha for Tash Burleigh and Sam Clipperton; third: Plonka for Warren Gavenlock and Jason Collett.

2019: Noble Boy for Todd Blowes and Hugh Bowman; second: Lucciola Belle for Wayne Wilks and Andrew Gibbons; third: Bennelong Dancer for Donna Scott and Blaike McDougall.

2018: Victorem for Jenny Graham and Ben Looker; second: Don’t Give a Damn for Danny Williams and Kerrin McEvoy; third: O’ So Hazy for Scott Spackman and Brooke Sweeney.

2017: Free Standing for Cathleen Rode and Blake Shinn; second: After All That: Rodney Northam and Robert Thompson; third: Not For Export for Dar Lunn and Christian Reith.

2016: Clearly Innocent for Greg Bennett and Tommy Berry; second: Pera Pera fort Mack Griffith and Hugh Bowman; third: Ever So Natural for Cliff Bashford and Damien Oliver.

2015: Artlee for Todd Willan and Mitchell Bell; second: Tarangower for Paul Messara and Joao Moreira and Voodoo Lad for Rodney Northam and James McDonald.