The 2016 Manikato Stakes field has been released and 11 of the most talented sprinters in the country are set to contest the Group 1 event at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Chautauqua swooped home from the tail of the field to record an outstanding victory in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) 12 months ago and he is back to defend his title in the feature sprint.
The son of Encosta De Lago was run off his feet by his rivals in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 30 and he will have the chance to return to winning form when he jumps from barrier 1 on Friday night.
Buffering won the 2013 edition of the Manikato Stakes and the veteran sprinter is set contest the Group 1 event for the sixth year in a row.
The nine-year-old also returned to the races in the Moir Stakes and could only battle on fairly to finish fifth.
The Moir Stakes is set to be the key form reference to the Manikato Stakes and Lucky Hussler will also back-up in the Group 1 event this weekend.
One of the most interesting horses in the 2016 Manikato Stakes field is Godolphin-owned Holler, who is set to have his first race start since he finished seventh in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1207m) at Royal Ascot on June 18.
Holler took out the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Royal Randwick on March 5 and he was only narrowly denied by Flamberge in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 24.
The other x-factor in the 2016 Manikato Stakes field is Golden Slipper winner Capitalist, who has failed to fire in his two race starts to date during the 2016 Spring Racing Carnival.
The only horse that is set to take winning form into the 2016 Manikato Stakes is Robbie Griffiths-trained The Quarterback.
The Quarterback went to another level when he took out the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) during the Melbourne Festival Of Racing and he returned to the races with a fast-finishing victory in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 2.
Darren Weir-trained Lucky Hussler (barrier ten), Stradbroke Handicap winner Under The Louvre (barrier five), Gary Portelli-trained Rebel Dane (barrier four), Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Japonisme (barrier eight), Matthew Dale-trained Fell Swoop (barrier three) and All Aged Stakes winner English (barrier nine) round out the 2016 Manikato Stakes field.