Formerly known as the Mackinnon Stakes, the 2017 Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) will take place at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday, November 11.
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The Emirates Stakes was traditionally held on Derby Day (first day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival) but has moved to the final day. It replaces the Mackinnon Stakes while the former race known as the Emirates Stakes has become known as the Cantala Stakes or Longines Mile.
Dating back to 1869, the Emirates Stakes has a rich history and was first won by Glencoe who had won the Melbourne Cup in the previous year.
Originally called the Melbourne Stakes, the race was changed to the Mackinnon Stakes from 1937, until again being renamed the Emirates Stakes in 2016.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the race distance which has primarily been contested over 2000m or the equivalent since its inception.
With its prizemoney doubled to $2 million in 2016, the VRC are hoping for increased attention as Cox Plate runners back-up two weeks later for a hotly contested rematch.
The Emirates Stakes is one of two Group 1 contests held on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival; the other is the $1 million Darley Classic (1200m).
There are two key races that form students should look at when assessing the chances of Emirates Stakes runners. The Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) held at Caulfield three weeks earlier and the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) held at Moonee Valley two weeks earlier.
The honour roll of winners is impressive with some of racing’s greatest champions having claimed the Emirates Stakes.
Notable winners include Glencoe (1869), Chester (1878 & 1880), Malua (1884), Carbine (1890), Wakeful (1901-03), Poseidon (1907), Eurythmic (1920-21), Gloaming (1924), Phar Lap (1930-31), Peter Pan (1932 & 1934), Rogilla (1933), Ajax (1938), Tranquil Star (1942 & 1944-45), Flight (1946), Comic Court (1949-50), Hydrogen (1953), Rising Fast (1954-55), Sailor’s Guide (1957), Tulloch (1960), Sky High (1961), Tobin Bronze (1966), Rain Lover (1968), Dulcify (1979), At Talaq (1986), Horlicks (1989), Better Loosen Up (1990), Let’s Elope (1991), Rogan Josh (1999), Lonhro (2002), So You Think (2010) and Happy Trails (2014).
It was most recently won by five-year-old entire Awesome Rock for father-son training-combination Leon and Troy Corstens. Jockey Stephen Baster rode Awesome Rock to defeat Hauraki.
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