Futurity Stakes: What you need to know

By: Friday 21 February 2020

FUTURITY STAKES

1400m, Caulfield, $500,000, weight-for-age, February 22

HISTORY

* First run in 1898 when won by Resolute. Group One since 1980

* Lee Freedman with four winners - Mannerism (1992); Schillaci (1993/95); Mr Murphy (2001) and David Hayes - Primacy (1994); Fields Of Omagh (2006); Niconero (2008/09) - head the modern day trainers

* Jockey Roy Higgins won the race eight times while Damien Oliver has won four with Mannerism (1992); Testa Rossa (2000); Mr Murphy (2001); Suavito (2016)

* Desert Sky and Mr Murphy dead-heated in 2001

NOTABLE WINNERS

* Comedy King (1910); Phar Lap (1931); Ajax (1938/39/40); Bernborough (1946); Gunsynd (1972); Manikato (1979/80/81/83); Vo Rogue (1988); Schillaci (1995); Testa Rossa (2000); Fields Of Omagh (2006); Niconero (2008/09); More Joyous (2011); Black Heart Bart (2017); Alizee (2019)

TALKING POINTS

* New Zealand star Melody Belle resumes from a spell chasing her 11th Group One win and second in Australia

* Epsom Handicap and Golden Eagle winner Kolding will make his Melbourne debut

* Caulfield Guineas-winning colt Super Seth takes on older horses for the first time and is the only three-year-old in the field of eight

* Nine-year-old Black Heart Bart aims for a second Futurity victory after winning in 2017

* Winner will be offered a wildcard into the $5 million All-Star Mile if not already in the field through top 10 public vote

WHAT THE KEY PLAYERS ARE SAYING

"He's hard-fit and we thought there was no natural speed in the race so he'll be able to lead. There's some quality there, I'm not sure we can win the race but he can certainly run well if he's allowed to control it" - Streets Of Avalon's trainer Shane Nichols

"He has struggled to keep up in the 800-metre trials but his trackwork over a bit of ground has been very good. He worked beautifully on the course proper at Flemington on Tuesday. If it's a stop-start race it might be hard for him but if it's a truly run race you never know" - Cape Of Good Hope's co-trainer David Hayes

"She had a decent blow this morning and blew up a bit over the back, so you'd think there'd be a bit of natural improvement ahead of Saturday" - Paul Richards, spokesman for his son Jamie, trainer of star New Zealand mare Melody Belle

"I'm expecting him to nearly win, just because he's that style of horse. He either wins or just gets beaten. He's been beaten twice in his last nine starts and both of those were first-up" - jockey Glen Boss on Kolding