The 2017 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) will be run at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday, March 4.
A set-weights race for three-year-olds that is held at Flemington annually as part of the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival, the Australian Guineas attracts the country’s best fillies, colts and geldings.
With a $750,000 prize fund, the race often sees a future (or current) star racehorse emerge victorious.
The Australian Guineas is clearly the star attraction on the Flemington program with two support races – Group 3 TAB Rewards Stakes (1400m) and Group 3 Frances Tressady Stakes (1400m).
Taking place on the first day of the two-day VRC Autumn Carnival, the Australian Guineas takes place one week prior to Super Saturday where the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) are the highlights of the Flemington raceday.
From 1998 to 2000, the Australian Guineas was run over 2000m, and in 2007 the race was transferred to Caulfield Racecourse while track reconstruction took place at Flemington.
David Hayes and Lee Freedman have trained three Australian Guineas winners each; Hayes prepared King’s High (1989), Zabeel (1990) and Miss Finland (2007) while Freedman trained Mahogany (1994), Flying Spur (1996) and Mr Murphy (2001).
Favourites have claimed 11 of the past 30 Australian Guineas, but they have a terrible record in recent years with Light Fantastic the last favourite to win the race in 2008. Since then, eight favourites have gone under with all of them unplaced and only three finishing in the top five.
The Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) for colts & geldings and the Group 3 The Vanity (1400m) for fillies are widely recognised as the ideal lead-up races to this event.
First run in 1986, the Australian Guineas was won by True Version when the race held Group 3 status before being elevated to a Group 1 the following year.
The honour roll lists some quality gallopers with the most recent winner of the Australian Guineas being Palentino in 2016.
Other former winners of the Australian Guineas include Military Plume (1987), Zabeel (1990), Triscay (1991), Mahogany (1994), Dash For Cash (2002), Reset (2004), Apache Cat (2006), Miss Finland (2007), Mosheen (2012), Shamus Award (2014) and Wandjina (2015).