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The HDF McNeil Stakes is a Group 3 event for three-year-olds raced under set weight and penalty conditions at Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne each August during the Melbourne spring racing carnival. The race is run over a distance of 1200 metres and worth $150,000 in prizemoney. The 2016 HDF McNeil Stakes was won by Defcon from Highland Beat with Wazzeme third.
The HDF McNeil Stakes is an above average three-year-old race for this early in the spring and the race itself generally attracts a wide variety of three-year-olds who may go on to the bigger sprint or distance races later in the spring against their own age.
A race such as the Gr3 Vain Stakes for three-year-old colts & geldings on PB Lawrence Stakes day at Caulfield provides the ideal lead up to this event and Gold Symphony (2015) was the galloper to win the Vain Stakes and HDF McNeil Stakes double.
This McNeil Stakes can often produce winners who go on to become outstanding racehorses with classy gallopers Starspangledbanner (2009), Scenic Blast (2007), Miss Finland (2006), Bel Esprit (2002), Theatre (1998), Gold Ace (1995) and Sequalo (1993) all having won this race over the years.
Most of the time winner of the HDF McNeil Stakes is just a more than handy galloper who will go on to be more than competitive in stronger or similar type events.
Defcon (2016) resumed from an autumn spell before finishing strongly to win this event in classy style and recent HDF McNeil Stakes winners include Gold Symphony (2015) and Chivalry (2014).
Spring Carnival Guide
The HDF McNeil Stakes has proven to be an interesting form guide to future spring events over the past few years and Thermal Current (3rd in 2013) managed to win the Gr3 Red Anchor Stakes at Moonee Valley on WS Cox Plate day after running third here.
The 2012 edition of the HDF McNeil Stakes proved significant with Lady Of Harrods (2012) going on to win the Gr3 Thousand Guineas Prelude at Caulfield and Kabayan (2nd in 2012) claiming the Gr2 Stan Fox Stakes at Rosehill in Sydney. Shampexpress (3rd in 2012) finished third in the Gr1 Coolmore Stakes at Flemington on Derby Day before returning the following autumn to win the Gr1 Newmarket Handicap down the Flemington straight.
Satin Shoes (8th in 2011) ran third behind classy colt Sepoy in the Coolmore Stakes at Flemington and Sistine Angel (2010) ran second in the Thousand Guineas Prelude at Caulfield before taking out the Gr2 Edward Manifold Stakes at Flemington.
Both Yosei (4th in 2010) and Shamrocker (7th in 2010) went on to Group 1 success, with Yosei winning the Thousand Guineas at Caulfield later that spring, while the following autumn Shamrocker won the Australian Guineas at Flemington and the ATC Oaks at Randwick.
Starspangledbanner (2009) claimed the Gr1 Caulfield Guineas later in the spring, while Scenic Blast (2007) went on to have a great spring of that year with a second in the Danehill Stakes before a top third in the Coolmore Stud Stakes.
The HDF McNeil Stakes is certainly a race that can often unearth a classy three-year-old.
2016 HDF McNeil Stakes result
1. $7.50 Defcon 58.5 Dwayne Dunn
2. $4.80 Highland Beat 56.0 Damian Lane
3. $10.00 Wazzenme 56.0 Luke Nolen
4. $5.50 Seaburge 58.5 Mark Zahra
5. $11.00 Revolving Door 56.0 Nicholas Hall
6. $6.50 Hardham 56.0 Damien Oliver
7. $9.00 Blue Tycoon 56.0 Cory Parish
8. $26.00 China Dream 56.0 Craig Newitt
9. $12.00 Awake In Grinzing 56.0 Ben Melham
10. $51.00 Pyx Chamber 56.0 Michael Dee
11. $31.00 I'm Too Hot 56.0 Stephen Baster
12. $81.00 Kinetic Design 54.5 Luke Currie
Margins: 1.25 len, 0.10 len Time: 1:11.40
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