The 2015 Newmarket Handicap field has been released and only nine horses are set to contest the Group 1 event at Flemington this weekend.
The field for the 2015 Newmarket Handicap is the equal smallest in the history of the time-honored race, but there is no questioning the quality of the race that will feature a clash between the three highest rated sprinters in the world.
Lankan Rupee has been included in the Newmarket Handicap field and will have the chance to become the first sprinter since Razor Sharp in 1983 to win the Group 1 event race in back-to-back years.
The Redoute’s Choice gelding was unable to perform at his best during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and he was restricted to just one win in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m), but he returned to his explosive best with a most impressive performance in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 21.
Lankan Rupee will carry 58.5 kilograms when he jumps from barrier nine in the Newmarket Handicap and will equal the metric weight-carrying record held by Hay List if he is successful on Saturday.
Terravista scored his maiden win at Group 1 level when he took out the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival and he will carry two kilograms less than Lankan Rupee in the Newmarket Handicap this weekend.
The talented sprinter has not been seen at the races since his Newmarket Handicap triumph and no horse has won the race first-up since Polycrates in 1917, but Terravista has an outstanding first-up record and has won all four of his first-up starts.
Chautauqua was narrowly denied by Terravista in the Darley Classic, but he will have the chance to turn-the-tables on his rival and record a maiden win at Group 1 level in the Newmarket Handicap.
The Encosta De Lago gelding has been allocated 55.5 kilograms by Racing Victoria handicappers and he will be taking winning form into the Newmarket Handicap after he started his autumn preparation with a win in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 14.
The horse considered the most likely to upset one the leading trio is talented three-year-old Brazen Beau, who will carry just 52 kilograms in the Newmarket Handicap on Saturday.
Brazen Beau stamped himself as one of the best three-year-olds in Australia when he took out the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day and he made his racing debut against older horses with a second place finish behind Lankan Rupee in the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes.
Trainer Chris Waller will also be represented in the race by Delectation, who will be making his first appearance at the races since he finished at the tail of the field in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 21.
The 2015 Newmarket Handicap final field is rounded out by Lionel Cohen-trained Aeronautical, Group 1 winning mare Driefontein, the speedy Lord Of The Sky and Western Australian hope Watermans Bay.