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Group One, $1 million, 1600m, Quality handicap

HISTORY

* First run in 1919 and won by Chal.

* Notable winners: Aquanita (1960-61), Wenona Girl (1963), Storm Queen (1966), Vain (1969), Gunsynd (1971), Better Loosen Up (1989) and Testa Rossa (2000).

* Up until 2015 the race was run as the Emirates Stakes.

* Nikita Beriman became the first female jockey to win a Group One race in Victoria when she took out the 2007 renewal on $101 chance Tears I Cry.

* Last year, Turn Me Loose finished first ahead of Politeness and Rock Sturdy.

WHAT THE MAIN PLAYERS ARE SAYING

* “He likes to sit in that three-wide line and roll into the race and Flemington really suits that” – Bon Aurum’s trainer Ciaron Maher.

* “I think the big plus with Mackintosh is that he’s only had two races this preparation, so he’s quite a fresh horse coming down to Victoria which I think is a big thing” Mackintosh’s trainer Chris Waller.

“The mere fact Craig (Willams) was happy to stick with the horse before we knew the barrier draw and weight is comforting and if Victoria’s number one rider wants to ride my horse, who am I to say no” – Hopfgarten’s trainer Robert Heathcote.

“I think he’s got most of the Melbourne horses covered. I think the three that are coming down from the Epsom will be the horses to beat” – Palentino’s jockey Mark Zahra.

 
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