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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); Berborough (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)

TALKING POINTS

* Bart Cummings won the race on eight occasions, Colin Hayes four and Lee Freedman three

* David Hayes with five runners this year – Redkirk Warrior, Thronum, Fastnet Tempest, So Si Bon and Catchy – has won the race twice previously with Primacy (1993) and Redkirk Warrior last year

* Craig Newitt, who rides Missrock, shares the most numbers of wins, three, with Harold Badger, Damien Oliver, Athol Mulley and Harry White

* Redkirk Warrior will attempt to become the 14th winner of the Lightning Stakes/Newmarket double, last achieved by Black Caviar in 2011

* 24 mares have won the Newmarket, latest Black Caviar (2011). Missrock is the only mare this year

* Booker and Catchy will be attempting to become the 16th three-year-old filly to win and first since Alinghi in 2005

* Redkirk Warrior became the first horse since 1917 to win the Newmarket first-up. He became the first imported horse since Gothic (1927-28) to win and will be attempting to become first since Razor Sharp (1982-83) to win in successive years

* Riders Patrick Moloney (Rich Charm), Beau Mertens (Supido), Ben Allen (Fastnet Tempest), Chris Parnham (Lucky Liberty) and Ben Thompson (Booker) are all chasing their first Group One wins.

WHAT THE KEY PLAYERS ARE SAYING:

“Group One handicaps in big fields are never easy to win, but I wouldn’t swap him for any other horse. He’s a high-class colt. He’s well-weighted.” – Merchant Navy’s trainer Aaron Purcell

“It’s not weight-for-age but, gee, he’s a good horse,” – topweight Redkirk Warrior’s co-trainer David Hayes

“She ran super in the Oakleigh Plate and proved herself at Group One level. Hopefully we can have a bit more luck on Saturday.” – Booker’s rider Ben Thompson

“I’ve had a bit of luck in it and Missrock looks a good chance to hopefully make it four on Saturday” – jockey Craig Newitt

 
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