The 2016 Newmarket Handicap nominations and 16 Group 1 winners have been included in the initial entries for the $1.25 million race.
The Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) was one of the highlights of the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival and a number of the leading sprinters that did battle in that race last year could clash in the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington on March 12.
Delectation scored an upset victory in the Darley Classic and he will be given the chance to prove that was no fluke when he takes on the likes of Terravista again in the Newmarket Handicap.
Chautauqua finished a close second behind Delectation in the Darley Classic, but he is no certainty to contest the Newmarket Handicap, while Srikandi will not be seen at the races until the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick during The Championships.
Other Group 1 winners that have been included in the 2016 Newmarket Handicap nominations are Boban, Bounding, Flamberge, Kermadec, Lucky Hussler, Politeness, Tiger Tees and Turn Me Loose.
Brazen Beau recorded an impressive win in the Newmarket Handicap last year as a three-year-old and a number of talented colts, geldings and fillies remain a chance of contesting this year’s race.
Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Japonisme and placegetter Counterattack will be given the chance to replicate the feats of their stablemate, while Waller also has Caulfield Guineas winner Press Statement in the nominations, but he will likely head towards the Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m).
Petits Filous got a taste of Group 1 level when she finished behind Buffering in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival and she could head to the Newmarket Handicap following the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m), while star colt Exosphere will follow the same path if he proves he is able to handle the Flemington straight.
Anatola, Bassett, Brockhoff, El Greco, Gold Symphony, Headwater, Holler, Keen Array, Kentucky Flyer, Kinglike, King’s Troop, Mogador, Painted Firetail, Pasadena Girl, Perignon, Puritan, Secret Agenda, Spill The Beans, Take Pride and Zoutenant are other three-year-olds that could contest the Newmarket Handicap.
Other notable horses in the Newmarket Handicap nominations include Charmed Harmony, Black Heart Bart, Ball Of Muscle, Scissor Kick, Tawteen, Wawail, Yesterday’s Song, Sports Edition and Dothraki.
First acceptances for the 2016 Newmarket Handicap will be released on February 23 before the final field is announced on March 9.