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The Eclipse Stakes is a Group 3 quality handicap that takes place at Sandown racecourse each November in Melbourne at the tail end of the Melbourne spring racing carnival. The race is run over a distance of 1800 metres and worth $125,000 in prizemoney. The 2016 Eclipse Stakes was won by Turnitaround from High Church with Lidari third.
Held on Gr2 Sandown Classic day, one week after the four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington, the Eclipse Stakes was held at Caulfield for the 2013/2014 season due to the upgrades taking place at Sandown.
The Eclipse Stakes is one of the last group three races of the spring in Melbourne and over recent years the race has been run over distances ranging from 1800m to 2100m due to the race now taking place at Sandown rather than Caulfield. When the race was held at Caulfield the traditional distance was 2000m and now that the race takes place at Sandown it is run over the closest available distance on the respective circuits.
Sandown has two tracks, the Hillside circuit which has an 1800m start and the Lakeside circuit which does not. The reason it is sometimes run over 2100 metres is that the meeting can be held on the Lakeside circuit, which does not have an 1800m start.
The Eclipse Stakes is run over a middle distance and typically attracts horses coming back in distance from the longer races over the Flemington carnival and might also suit mares who contested the Gr3 Matriarch Stakes on Emirates Day.
The long Sandown straight with its tough uphill run home can test a horse's mettle in the run to the line and this race suits horses who are solid conveyances at the distance.
Turnitaround (2016) finished unplaced in the Cup Day Plate over 1800m at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival before showing his rivals a clean pair of heels in this event and recent Eclipse Stakes winners include Casino Dancer (2015) and Zabisco (2014).
Spring Carnival Guide
Zazzman (2003) won the Queen Elizabeth Stakes & Eclipse Stakes double in 2003 and it is worth noting that top class gallopers Super Impose (1998) and Fields of Omagh (2001) both won this race and then went on to win the WS Cox Plate in later years.
2016 Eclipse Stakes result
1. $9.50 Turnitaround 58.5 Hugh Bowman
2. $21.00 High Church 54.0 Dean Yendall
3. $8.50 Lidari 59.0 John Allen
4. $12.00 Plot The Course 54.0 Damian Lane
5. $7.50 Alaskan Rose 54.0 Patrick Moloney
6. $4.20 Cool Chap 54.0 Kerrin McEvoy
7. $26.00 Lord Van Percy 55.0 Luke Nolen
8. $101.00 Auvray 57.0 Brad Rawiller
9. $7.00 Tucanchoo 56.0 Dwayne Dunn
10. $9.50 Jacquinot Bay 58.0 Craig Williams
11. $21.00 Magnapal 56.5 Luke Currie
12. $18.00 Gabella 54.5 Damien Oliver
13. $18.00 Desert Jeuney 56.5 Glyn Schofield
Margins: 0.3 len, 0.4 len Time: 1:51.26
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