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A guide to the Group One Manikato Stakes

THE MANIKATO STAKES – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

* Group One, 1200m sprint, weight-for-age

* Purse of $1 million makes it Australia’s richest thoroughbred race under lights

FIELD

* Magic Millions winner Sunlight and last season’s Randwick Guineas winner Kementari are vying for favouritism

HISTORY

* First held in September of 1968 as the Freeway Stakes, it was run over six furlongs and won by Winfreux

* Renamed in 1984 after dual winner Manikato, buried at Moonee Valley where he won five William Reid Stakes

* Moved in 2012 from September to the night before the Cox Plate

* Run on a tight turning, StrathAyr track (turf with sand base), 1805m circumference and 173m home straight

TALKING POINTS:

* Malaguerra holds the Mooney Valley 1200m track record with Miss Andretti (2006) at 1 min 09.29 secs

* Five horses have won the race at least twice: Dual Choice, Tauto, Spinning Hill, Spark Of Life and Manikato

WHAT SOME OF THE KEY PLAYERS ARE SAYING

* “She’ll have to run a career-best but her work is good” – Tulip’s co-trainer Ben Hayes

* “She’s handled everything I have put to her but just as the coach, I feel I’ve done everything I can do to give her the best opportunity” – Sunlight’s trainer Tony McEvoy

* “He (U S Navy Flag) probably has to pick up the pieces again, which I’m hoping he can do” – Aidan O’Brien’s foreman TJ Comerford

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