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The Newmarket Handicap

New Market Handicap Odds

Name SportsBet Odds
Black Caviar $1.35
Hay List $12.00
Star Witness $15.00
Undeniably $26.00
Catapulted $26.00
Eagle Falls $26.00
Response $26.00
Ortensia $31.00
Stirling Grove $31.00
Decision Time $31.00
* Note: Odds are subject to change and correct at time of publication 9:30pm AEDST 28/02/2011. All prices are Fixed Win.

The Newmarket Handicap is one of the oldest and most prestigious sprint races in Australia. This race was first held in 1874 at the Flemington Racecourse and it was won by Maid of Avenel. The Newmarket Handicap is one of the highlights of the Flemington Festival of Racing and it is held during the second weekend of March.

The original race distance of the Newmarket Handicap is six furlongs or approximately 1200 metres. In 1973, the distance was adjusted to exactly 1200 metres due to the introduction of the metric system in Australia. The Bart Cummings-trained Century was the first thoroughbred to win the race under the metric system distance with Roy Higgins as his jockey.

It is hard to pick a winner for the Newmarket Handicap for it allows 24 horses to compete for the biggest share of the AUD$1 million prize pool. Trophies worth $5,000 are also awarded to the top three finishers. The unpredictability of the Newmarket Handicap makes it a thrilling event every year and it has been won by some of the best sprinters in Australian horse racing.

One of the most exciting finishes in Newmarket Handicap history happened in 2002 when Rubitano won the race in a very tight finish wherein the top six finishers were separated by a long head. Among all the winners, 2000 Newmarket Handicap winner Miss Pennymoney posted the fastest winning time at 1 minute, 7.6 seconds while 1988 winner Special had the slowest time of 1 minute, 11.2 seconds.

Flemington Races Track Map:

Flemington Races

Due to the high volume of opposition for participating race horses, trainers look to hone their thoroughbreds in some lead-up races for the Newmarket Handicap. The most ideal tune-up races for the Newmarket Handicap are the 1200-metre Australia Stakes (now known as the William Reid Stakes) at Moonee Valley, the 1000-metre Lightning Stakes at Flemington and the 1100-metre Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield.

In 2007, the Newmarket Handicap was held at the Caulfield Races due to the rehabilitation of the Flemington track. It was the only time when the race was not held in Flemington. With a history spanning about 130, the Newmarket Handicap has seen only four back-to-back winners. Aspen first achieved the feat in 1880 and 1881 while British race horse Gothic followed suit in 1927 and 1928.

The third back-to-back winner is Correct in 1960 and 1961 while the latest race horse to win in consecutive years is Razor Sharp in 1982 and 1983. Given that 24 horses participate in the Newmarket Handicap every year, the odds of winning in consecutive years is very slim. There have also been a number or race horses that have registered consecutive runner-up finishes in the Newmarket Handicap.

North Head finished in second place in 1906 and 1907 while Desert Rose also did the feat in 1911 and 1912. Six decades later, Dual Choice became the bridesmaid in 1971 and 1972 to winners Baguette and Crown respectively. Always Welcome shared the same fate in 1978 and 1979 when he finished beyond Maybe Mahal and Better Beyond respectively.

Among horse trainers, Bart Cummings has the most successful Newmarket Handicap career for he has won the race eight times. He first won with Crown in 1972 and he followed it up the next year with Century. He once again won in 1975 with Cap D’antibes and he won back-to-back in 1978 and 1979 with Maybe Mahal and Better Beyond respectively.

Cummings won once again in 1981 with Elounda Bay which was steered to victory by jockey Mick Dittman. Cummings scored consecutive victories once again in 1990 and 1991 with Gold Trump and Shaftesbury Avenue. Gold Trump was taken to victory by jockey Harry White while Shaftesbury Avenue was partnered by jockey Darren Gauci.

Following Cummings is Colin Hayes with four victories courtesy of Red Tempo (1985), Special (1987), Grandiose (1988) and Desirable (1977). Many trainers that have won the Newmarket Handicap thrice and the latest to achieve the feat is Lee Freedman thanks to Shillaci (1992), Alinghi (2005) and Miss Andretti (2007). Frank Musgrave also won a triple with Ajax (1938), Parkwood (1931) and Amata (1916).

As for the jockeys, Damien Oliver has won the race thrice with Alinghi (2005), Toledo (2001) and Shillaci (1992). No other jockey has won the Newmarket Handicap more than twice. The last jockey to win the Newmarket Handicap two times is Darren Gauci with Shaftesbury Avenue (1991) and Red Tempo (1985).

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