The George Main Stakes is the first Group 1 of the new season staged at Randwick Racecourse with the race taking place in late September each year during the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.
Run over 1600m and open to horses of all ages, it is a weight-for-age race with the prize fund of $350,000 with an added incentive to the winner - that being exemption from the ballot of the Group 1 Epsom Handicap
staged at Randwick two weeks later during Super Saturday.
Named after George Main, the former chairman of the Australian Jockey Club, the race always attracts a high-class field as they attempt to land a big early-season prize during the two-day Australian Turf Club Carnival at Royal Randwick.
First run in 1945 when won by Modulation, the George Main Stakes has been by some real stars of Australian racing with Kingston Town the most notable having recorded back-to-back victories in 1981 and 1982 during his illustrious career. Shannon (1946 and 1947), Count Radiant (1964 and 1965) and Regal Rhythm (1967 and 1968) are others to triumph in successive years in the race.
Other notable winners include champion racehorse Emancipation (1983), Shogun Lodge (1999), Defier (2002), the outstanding galloper Lonhro (2003), seven-time Group 1 winner Grand Armee (2004) and More Joyous (2010), who became the first mare to win in 14 years when taking the prize and went on to major success including winning the 2012 Doncaster Handicap
The traditional lead up to the George Main Stakes includes running in the Group 3 Tramway Handicap (1400m), a route Sincero took in 2011 when winning both, two weeks earlier at Randwick, while after running in the race the Epsom Handicap
(1600m) is the usual next target with the winner guaranteed a place in the field.
George Main Stakes Day features four other Group race contests including the Group 2 The Shorts for sprinters over 1100m, the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m), the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes for three-year-old fillies over 1400m and the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Stakes over the same distance.
The George Main Stakes was not staged in 2007 due to an outbreak of Equine Influenza.