The 2017 Group 1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) will take place at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday, November 4.
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Traditionalists probably aren't the biggest fans of the Cantala Stakes which has undergone many name changes over the years. It was originally known as the Coburg Stakes before the Cantala Stakes, George Adams Handicap, Ampol Stakes, Honda Stakes, Nissan Stakes, Chrysler Stakes and Emirates Stakes (1998-2015).
Returning to the Cantala Stakes name, the race has been moved from the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival to the first day in a straight-swap with the Mackinnon Stakes which changed its name to become the Emirates Stakes.
Since its inception, only three horses have managed to go back-to-back, with Iolaire (1907-08), Aquanita (1960-61) and Seascay (1994-95) achieving the rare feat. A couple of others have won the race on more than one occasion but not in consecutive years.
De Gama (1914 & 1917), Amounis (1926 & 1929) and Heroic Stone (1965 & 1967) are the three horses that are multiple winners without back-to-back victories.
The Cantala Stakes has been won by some outstanding gallopers with Amounis (1926 & 1929) Matrice (1956), Wenona Girl (1963), Vain (1969), Gunsynd (1971), Taj Rossi (1973), Family Of Man (1978), Better Loosen Up (1989), Shaftesbury Avenue (1990), Testa Rossa (2000), Happy Trails (2012) and Boban (2013) being the most famous winners of the prestigious event.
The most recent winner is the Kris Lees-trained four-year-old gelding Le Romain. The Sydney-based galloper had been runner up in the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m), Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m), Group 2 Cameron Handicap (1350m) and fifth in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) before a much-deserved victory in the Cantala Stakes.
Jockeys have shared wins in the Cantala Stakes with Jim Cassidy the last hoop to win back-to-back editions of the race; ‘The Pumper’ rode Bezeal Bay (1998) and Bonanova (1999) to consecutive wins with both horses starting favourite.
Trainers have also shared wins around with Peter Hayes the last to win consecutive Cantala Stakes. He would prepare the winner three years in a row with Seascay (1994-95) and Miss Margaret (1996).
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