A Guide To The $2m Group 1 Cantala Stakes

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Best Of Days

THE CANTALA STAKES

The $2 million Cantala is a Group One handicap race over 1600m at Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse

It will run as race eight at 4.35pm AEDT on Saturday, November 2

HISTORY

  • First run in 1881 over 1600m and won by Courtenay
  • Made a Group One race in 1979
  • Re-named and switched with the Mackinnon Stakes on Derby Day in 2016

NOTABLE WINNERS

Carbine (1890), Phar Lap (1930-31-32), Aquanita (1960 -61), Wenona Girl (1963), Storm Queen (1966), Vain (1969), Gunsynd (1971), Better Loosen Up (1990), Testa Rossa (2000) and Tears I Cry (2007) So You Think (2010), Happy Trails (2012), Boban (2013), Le Romain (2016)

TALKING POINTS

  • Prize money boosted from $1 to $2 million for 2019
  • Best Of Days won last year from Le Romain and Peaceful State
  • Chris Waller has three definite starters – Life Less Ordinary, Night’s Watch and Star Of The Seas, while Noire is the first emergency
  • Waller’s first win at the Melbourne Cup carnival was with Albert The Fat in this race in 2011
  • Fierce Impact won the Toorak Handicap and fellow Cantala runner Night’s Watch was second
  • Fierce Impact, Night’s Watch, Chief Ironside, Cliff’s Edge and Best Of Days are all eligible for a $500,000 bonus if they win, having figured in the top three placings in either the Toorak Handicap or Crystal Mile leading into this race

WHAT THE KEY PLAYERS ARE SAYING

  • “We’re very strong this year in the Cantala with three runners and possibly even a fourth depending on scratchings. Night’s Watch is certainly a horse to watch. He ran second last start in a similar race, the Group One Toorak Handicap, and Star Of The Seas will keep him honest. We’ve also got Life Less Ordinary who is an older horse in the stable but certainly capable of keeping the younger horses honest” – trainer Chris Waller
  • “There was enough in that run the other day to say he is coming back OK, but I just want to see more improvement going forward.” – Land Of Plenty’s co-trainer Peter Snowden
  • “All three are capable and all three don’t mind a bit of rain which I think would bring them into the race a bit more. It’s a very open race. So Si Bon will need a bit of luck in running from the wide gate and Sikandarabad is a bit similar from his gate. Fifty Stars has really come on from the Epsom and the Epsom form is quite strong” – co-trainer Ben Hayes on So Si Bon, Sikandarabad and Fifty Stars
  • “Hopefully that strong Sydney handicap form can prove enough for him to be competitive but he has drawn very wide” – trainer James Cummings on Cascadian
  • “The opportunity for Best Of Days to defend his title will be interesting. He backs up from probably the run of his campaign so far last week at The Valley and he looked a magnificent Flemington horse when he ran in this race last year” – Cummings on Best Of Days

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