Held on the same card as the CF Orr Stakes, the G2 Autumn Stakes is restricted to 3 Year Olds and is a 1400m race run under the conditions of set weights and penalties. It has traditionally been used as a lead up race to the G1 Australian Guineas held at Flemington.
The race dates back to 1968 and went through a period where it was downgraded to Listed status, then back to Group 3 and in 2008 attained its current Group 2 standing. Previously held at Sandown, the race has been held at Caulfield continuously since 1997 and has had some name variances, including the Schweppervescence Cup, Australia Day Vase, D’Urban Stakes and the Perri Cutten Cup.
Total prizemoney on offer in 2017 is $200,000, with the winner to receive $120,000. The 2016 winner was the Darren Weir trained Mahuta, ridden by Brad Rawiller. Other past winners include Denman, Apache Cat, Dash For Cash and Canny Lad.
The Godolphin owned Peacock will be second-up this preparation following his return to racing in the G2 Australia Stakes. In that race he settled in the second-half of the 9 horse field and ran home to finish 5.5 lengths from the winner Malaguerra, with Black Heart Bart finishing in 2nd position. His Spring was a 3 start campaign where he kicked off in a 1300m handicap at Newcastle where he carried 60.5kg and faded off after leading them up. Second-up in the Listed Poseidon Stakes over 1400m he was 3rd behind Inside Agent and the prep was closed out with a strong win in the Listed Gothic Stakes. The Lonhro colt has a strong record at 1400m of 3:2-0-1 and is 1 form 1 at the Caulfield 1400m. Opening price $6.50.
Announcing his arrival on the main stage in fine style by securing the Victoria Derby, the Mick Price trained 3YO faced a slight hiccup in the lead-up to his return. Trialling on the synthetic at Geelong after they were moved off the grass surface, he finished last of 5, but his trainer was still pleased with the effort. With a pedigree and physique that suggests he will appreciate the longer races, he might find the 1400m a bit sharp, but with a campaign aimed around the Australian and Rosehill Guineas and then on to the ATC Derby, his efforts will be worth following.
The Ciaron Maher trained colt comes into this on a unique preparation, targeting this race first-up. The Domesday colt has only faced the starter on three occasions and quickly progressed during his Spring preparation. Starting his career in a 3YO set weights maiden at Bendigo, he settled handy to the pace and was too strong to record a two length victory. Second-up in a benchmark 64 at Geelong over 1400m when carrying 57kg he again scored victory. Given a shot at the G2 Sandown Guineas he started at long odds and went within a head of the win, narrowly finishing 2nd to Morton’s Fork. Luke Nolen rode the colt at his three Spring starts and will be in the saddle again here in the Autumn Stakes. Opening price $6.50.