Group 1 glory at the Flemington Racing Spectacular
We take a look at the upcoming Group 1 races at Flemington in March. How they came about, who won each race last year and which horses you should keep an eye on in the 2023 Australian Guineas, Newmarket Handicap and Australian Cup.
The Group 1 Australian Guineas is run over a distance of 1600 metres. First run in 1986, it was created to fill a gap in the racing calendar and provide a major race for three-year-olds in the autumn. The race has since become one of the most prestigious races on the Australian racing calendar, attracting top-quality horses from around the country.
Where are they now? The 2022 winner, Hitotsu, was retired in January 2023. The four-year-old was a stable favourite at Ciaron Maher Racing and enjoyed an unbeaten 2022 autumn campaign which included the Group 1 ATC Australian Derby (2400m) in Sydney. He will now be sent to stud to begin his breeding career.
Who to watch in 2023? Jacquinot, Elliptical and Legarto are our top picks to keep an eye on.
The Group 1 Newmarket Handicap was first run in 1874, introduced by the Victoria Racing Club to provide a major sprint race during the autumn racing carnival. The race quickly gained popularity and has since become one of the most prestigious sprint races in Australia, attracting the best sprinters from around the country and the world.
Where are they now? Last year’s winner, Roch ‘N’ Horse, went on to place second in the Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) and Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) (both at Flemington), before winning the Group 1 Darley Champions Sprint (1200m) on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. She was solid in her first-up effort in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m), finishing off well, beaten 4 lengths. She should improve on that run and be ready to fire back at the scene of her two greatest victories.
Who to watch in 2023? I Wish I Win, In Secret and Uncommon James look like the horses to beat at the moment.
The Group 1 Australian Cup is run over a distance of 2000 metres, and was first run in 1863, making it one of the oldest horse races in Australia.
Initially created as a weight-for-age race, the race was designed to showcase the best middle-distance horses in the country, and has since become one of the premier weight-for-age races in Australia.
The Australian Cup has been won by some of the most famous horses in Australian racing history, including Phar Lap, Makybe Diva (who still holds the Australian record time of 1:58:73) and Saintly. Legendary trainer Bart Cummings won the race 13 times, a feat that is still unmatched.
Where are they now? 2022 winner, Duais was one of the stars of the autumn carnival winning Melbourne and Sydney’s biggest staying Group 1 weight-for-age events – the Australian Cup (2000m) and Tancred Stakes (2400m). Duais returned in the Spring Carnival and contested the Group 1 TAB Turnbull Stakes, Caulfield Cup and the Lexus Melbourne Cup where she was unable to match her autumn performances. The Edward Cummings-trained mare is recovering from a recent surgery to remove a small bone chip where she is undergoing rehabilitation before a potential return to the racetrack.
Who to watch in 2023? Gold Trip, Alenquer, Hezashocka and Emissary look like they're being preparing for a big run in the 2023 Australia Cup.
Don't miss out on your chance to witness Australia's best three-year-olds at Flemington on Saturday 4 March for the time-honoured Group 1 Australian Guineas. Find out more and book your tickets to Australian Guineas Day. This is one race day on the calendar that you won’t want to miss.