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Image: Bruno Cannatelli
Star mare Sunlight won last years edition of the Newmarket Handicap

NEWMARKET HANDICAP

Run at Flemington over 1200m, $1.25 million, handicap

HISTORY

* First run in 1874 when won by Maid Of Avenel

NOTABLE WINNERS

* Malua (1884); Wakeful (1901); Gothic (1927-28); Aurie’s Star (1937); Bernborough (1946); Correct (1960-61); Century (1973); Maybe Mahal (1978); Placid Ark (1987); Shaftesbury Avenue (1991); Schillaci (1992); Exceed And Excel (2004); Takeover Target (2006); Weekend Hussler (2008); Black Caviar (2011); Lankan Rupee (2014); Brazen Beau (2015); Redkirk Warrior (2017-18); Sunlight (2019)

TALKING POINTS

* Trainer Bart Cummings won the race eight times, Colin Hayes four and Lee Freedman three

* Jockey Damien Oliver shares the most wins, three, with Harold Badger, Craig Newitt, Athol Mulley and Harry White

* Gytrash will attempt to become the 15th winner of the Lightning Stakes-Newmarket double, following Redkirk Warrior’s achievement in 2018

* 25 mares have won the Newmarket, latest Black Cavier (2011). There is only one mare, Tofane, in this year’s line-up

* Sunlight in 2019 became the 16th three-year-old filly to have won the Newmarket. Libertini and Loving Gaby represent the fillies this year

* Tony McEvoy trained Sunlight to win the Newmarket. This year, with son and training partner Calvin, he has Despatch running this year

* 30 three-year-old colts or geldings have won the sprint, the latest Shamexpress in 2013. This year they are represented by Bivouac, Exceedance, Banquo

* Exceedance, Bivouac and Libertini meet again after filling the trifecta placings in the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes during the spring

* Black Caviar holds the race record of 1.07.36, recorded in 2011

WHAT THE KEY PLAYERS ARE SAYING:

“Whether it frightens the others off, I don’t know. But I’m pretty upbeat about him on what he’s done since. He hasn’t gone backwards at all. I’m pretty happy with him” – trainer Gordon Richards on the improvement from Gytrash since his Lightning Stakes win last month

“I don’t think anybody could be unhappy as his run at Caulfield was the best by far for a Newmarket trial” – Halvorsen’s trainer Robbie Griffiths

“I think it’s the right size field that hopefully they stay in one group because we were definitely a victim of the field splitting into two groups in the Lightning and not getting a truly run race” – co-trainer David Eustace on Loving Gaby

“There will be horses in the Newmarket that can’t handle the track, but it’s a big Group One. They’ve got to run and we’ve been in that situation before, but a wet track, that’s not going to bother us” – Exceedance’s co-trainer Wayne Hawkes

 
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