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The Emirates Stakes is a Group 1 weight-for-age race held each November at Flemington racecourse during the four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival in Melbourne. The race is run over a distance of 2000 metres and worth $1,000,000 in prizemoney. The 2015 Emirates Stakes was won by Gailo Chop from Rising Romance with Contributer third.
In a change of the 2016 Melbourne Cup Carnival racing program by the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) and Racing Victoria, it was announced the Mackinnon Stakes (formerly held on Derby Day) would be renamed the Emirates Stakes and held on the final day (Stakes Day), while the former Emirates Stakes would become the Longines Mile and moved to the first day.
Emirates Stakes day is held on the final Saturday of the four-day Flemington carnival, and along with the Gr1 VRC Sprint Classic, ends group one racing for the Melbourne spring racing carnival. The Emirates Stakes changes are likely to attract better quality local and international gallopers, being two weeks after the Gr1 WS Cox Plate at Moonee Valley, and with combined prizemoney of more than $5M up for grabs, it becomes an attractive proposition for owners and trainers.
Emirates day is held four days after Melbourne Cup day, two days after Crown Oaks day and seven days after AAMI Victoria Derby day, and signals the end of the week long spring racing carnival at Flemington. It is known as 'family day', because there is plenty of racing and entertainment on offer for both parents and children alike.
The Emirates Stakes was first run in 1869 and is one of the premier weight-for-age races of the Flemington spring racing carnival. The move to the final day of the carnival makes it a great option for Cox Plate participants, being two weeks apart, plus any international visitors bypassing the Melbourne Cup will find it appealing as well, creating plenty of interest on the final day.
This race, when it was the Mackiinon Stakes on the first day, was widely recognised as an important final lead up race for any horse contesting the Melbourne Cup on the following Tuesday. In ecent times, it has provided four Melbourne Cup winners and two Japan Cup winners, with Rogan Josh (1999) being the last galloper to score the Mackinnon Stakes & Melbourne Cup double in the same year.
Now that it is being held after the Melbourne Cup, races like the Gr1 Tunrbull Stakes at Fleington and the Gr1 Caulfield Stakes at Caulfield, along with the Cox Plate, will provide the ideal lead up to the Emirates Stakes.
Gailo Chop (2015) finished unplaced in the Gr1 WS Cox Plate over 2040m at Moonee Valley prior to winning this race and recent Emirates Stakes winners include Happy Trails (2014) and Side Glance (2013).
Spring Carnival Guide
When it was the Mackinnon Stakes, it was a more than reasonable guide to the Melbourne Cup over the years, although that has changed in recent times, largely due to the Melbourne Cup attracting more international gallopers to make it a truly global event.
So You Think (2010) managed to run third in the Melbourne Cup at his next start, while Rogan Josh (1999) and Let's Elope (1991) are the last two gallopers to win the Mackinnon Stakes and Melbourne Cup.
Others who have performed well in both races include Champagne (1998) who ran third in the Melbourne Cup, Juene (2nd in 1994) who won the Melbourne Cup, and Veandercross (1992) who ran second in the Melbourne Cup.
The brilliant New Zealander Horlicks (1989) captured the Japan Cup after winning this race and champion galloper Better Loosen Up did the same thing in 1990.
2015 Emirates Stakes result
1. $8.00 Gailo Chop 59.0 Ben Melham
2. $16.00 Rising Romance 57.0 Damian Lane
3. $9.00 Contributer 59.0 James McDonald
4. $20.00 Magic Artist 59.0 Brenton Avdulla
5. $14.00 Set Square 56.0 Luke Currie
6. $20.00 Ecuador 59.0 Tommy Berry
7. $31.00 Extra Zero 59.0 Michael Walker
8. $5.50 Happy Trails 59.0 Dwayne Dunn
9. $8.50 Pornichet 59.0 Jim Cassidy
10. $41.00 Weary 59.0 Glyn Schofield
11. $31.00 Index Linked 59.0 Blake Shinn
12. $5.00 Stratum Star 58.0 Craig Williams
13. $10.00 Flamingo Star 59.0 Hugh Bowman
Margins: 0.5L, 0.4L Time: 2:03.5
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