Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival 2017

The Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival or Melbourne Festival of Racing is one of the calendar year’s early features and takes place from late January until late March or early April annually. The major race days across the Carnival include CF Orr Stakes Day that is host to the first Group 1 race of the year, Black Caviar Lighting Stakes Day, Blue Diamond Stakes Day with a trio of elite level races and Newmarket Handicap Day also known as Super Saturday.

Gallopers from right across the country face off in the Melbourne majors that take place across the Festival at all of Victoria’s premier racecourses mainly Flemington, Caulfield and Moonee Valley. The Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival is broken up into racecourse specific mini-carnivals at each track giving punters plenty of unique betting options over the early months of each year.

Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival Key Races

Blue Diamond Stakes

The Blue Diamond Stakes is Melbourne’s key race for 2YOs and is known as a stallion-making feature.

  • Track: Caulfield
  • Distance: 1200m
  • Conditions: 2YO Set Weights
  • Status: Group 1
  • Prize Money: $1.5 million
  • First Prize: $900,000
  • Sponsor: Ladbrokes
  • First Run: 1971
  • Reigning Champion: Catchy (2017)

Australian Guineas

The Australian Guineas is a mile race for three-year-olds and good lead-up to Sydney’s ATC Derby.

  • Track: Flemington
  • Distance: 1600m
  • Conditions: 3YOs Set Weights
  • Status: Group 1
  • Prize Money: $750,000
  • First Prize: $450,000
  • Sponsor: N/A
  • First Run: 1986
  • Reigning Champion: Hey Doc (2017)

Newmarket Handicap

The Newmarket Handicap is the top sprint race in Melbourne during the autumn held on Super Saturday.

  • Track: Flemington
  • Distance: 1200m
  • Conditions: Handicap
  • Status: Group 1
  • Prize Money: $1.25 million
  • First Prize: $750,000
  • Sponsor: Lexus
  • First Run: 1874
  • Reigning Champion: Redkirk Warrior (2017)

Australian Cup

The Australian Cup is the other Super Saturday race at Flemington in March and a good lead-up to Sydney’s The BMW.

  • Track: Flemington
  • Distance: 2000m
  • Conditions: Weight-for-age
  • Status: Group 1
  • Prize Money: $1.5 million
  • First Prize: $900,000
  • Sponsor: TAB
  • First Run: 1863
  • Reigning Champion: Humidor (2017)

2017 Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival Betting

All-in odds on the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival 2017 Group 1 races are available even before the fields are released. Links to our markets on some of the key futures Group 1 autumn racing carnival odds can be found in the “Key Races” section above.

Many Melbourne Festival of Racing winners will continue onto the Sydney majors in April so look for horses out to do major Group 1 doubles across the Autumn Carnival season including the Australian Guineas – Randwick Guineas for three-year-olds and Australian Cup – The BMW for weight-for-age stayers.

Betting on the Melbourne Autumn Group 1 Carnival races is very popular and all the usual horse racing odds and bet types are open including Win, Place and Exotics. There are also some exciting Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival betting promotions and offers running each season including Odds Boost & Odds Boost Extra on selected races.

2017 Major Race Days

See below for the full breakdown of the major Group 1 Race Days held throughout the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival 2017.

CF ORR STAKES DAY

Date: Saturday February 11, 2017

Racecourse: Caulfield

Feature Races:

  • $500,000 Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m)
  • $200,000 Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m)
  • $200,000 Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1400m)
  • $200,000 Group 2 Blue Diamond Prelude (Fillies) (1100m)
  • $200,000 Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (Colts & Geldings) (1100m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 TS Carlyon Cup (1600m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 Geoffrey Belmaine Stakes (1200m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m)

Host to the year’s first elite level feature race CF Orr Stakes Day is conducted in mid-February at Caulfield Racecourse and is headlined by the weight-for-age $500,000 Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m). The Caulfield card also features a trio of Group 2 support races including the three-year-olds facing off in the $200,000 Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) and the $200,000 Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) for the sprinters.

Of the other black-type races the other holding Group 2 status is the Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude for youngsters heading towards the Blue Diamond Stakes later in the carnival. The Colts & Geldings’ edition of the same Prelude also runs on CF Orr Stakes Day but only holds Group 3 status.

CF Orr Stakes betting available at Ladbrokes.com.au

The CF Orr Stakes is the first Group 1 race of the year and the last favourite to win the event was Dissident (2015). Photo Credit: Adrienne Bicknell.

BLACK CAVIAR LIGHTNING STAKES DAY

Date: Saturday February 18, 2017

Racecourse: Flemington

Feature Races:

  • $750,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 The Vanity (1400m)

The first Group 1 Autumn Racing Carnival Melbourne race card runs at Flemington a week after CF Orr Stakes Day with the $750,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) heading the card. The race is named in honour of triple winner Black Caviar who won in 2011-13 and is supported by two Group 3 features for three-year-olds.

The colts and geldings do battle in the $150,000 Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) as they head towards a possible run in the Australian Guineas the following month while the fillies face off in the $150,000 Group 3 The Vanity (1400m).

BLUE DIAMOND STAKES DAY

Date: Saturday February 25, 2017

Racecourse: Caulfield

Feature Races:

Punters are treated to a triple shot of Group 1 racing for Blue Diamond Stakes Day at Caulfield Racecourse in late February.

Racing is highlighted by the season’s top two-year-olds contesting the stallion-making $1.5 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m), which is supported by the weight-for-age $500,00 Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) and the $500,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) for the sprinters. Three Group 2 races are also part of the line-up including the Australian Cup hopes in the $200,000 Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m) for three-year-olds.

Weight-for-age runners that appreciate a bit of distance head towards later majors in the $200,000 Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) while the fillies take each other on in the $200,000 Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m).

AUSTRALIAN GUINEAS DAY

Date: Saturday March 4, 2017

Racecourse: Flemington

Feature Races:

  • $500,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 Frances Tressady Stakes (1400m)
  • $120,000 Group 3 Shaftsbury Avenue (1400m)

In early March the action moves back from Caulfield to Flemington for Australian Guineas Day where the marquee race is the $500,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) for the three-year-old milers.

Two Group 3 races also offer top autumn carnival betting opportunities with the fillies and mares running in the $150,000 Group 3 Frances Tressady Stakes (1400m) and the middle-distance gallopers getting a black-type chance in the $120,000 Group 3 TAB Rewards Stakes (1400m).

FLEMINGTON SUPER SATURDAY

Date: Saturday March 11, 2017

Racecourse: Flemington

Feature Races:

Super Saturday at Flemington, or Newmarket Handicap Day, runs in mid-March each Autumn Carnival and is headlined by two Group 1 features both offering over a million dollars in prize money. The sprinters face off in the $1.25 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) while the $1.5 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) is run under weight-for-age conditions over more distance and is the richest race on the card.

A trio of Group status support races also add interest to the line-up including the $200,000 Group 2 Kewney Stakes (1400m) for fillies and the juveniles running in the $200,000 Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m).

BLAMEY STAKES DAY

Date: Saturday March 18, 2017

Racecourse: Flemington

Feature Races:

  • $200,000 Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes (1200m)

The Blamey Stakes now features on its own Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival meeting having previously been held a week earlier on ‘Super Saturday’. Still contested at Flemington the Group 2 event provides a nice interstate lead-up for milers that could be heading to Sydney for a shot at the Doncaster Mile at Royal Randwick that April.

WILLIAM REID STAKES NIGHT

Date: Friday March 24, 2017

Racecourse: Moonee Valley

Feature Races:

  • $500,000 Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m)
  • $200,000 Group 2 Sunline Stakes (1600m)

The first and last of the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival meetings to take place at Moonee Valley Racecourse is William Reid Stakes Night that takes place under the lights on a Friday evening in late March.

Following on from the Black Caviar Lighting Stakes at Flemington the elite level sprinters get a chance at a Group 1 win in the $500,000 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at the notoriously tight circuit. The other feature race at the Valley on the night is the weight-for-age $200,000 Group 2 Sunline Stakes (1600m) for the fillies and mares.