The Newmarket Handicap is an Open Handicap Group 1 race held each March at Flemington Racecourse. Taking place during the Melbourne autumn racing carnival, this event is run over a distance of 1200 metres for $1,000,000 in prize money.
The Newmarket Handicap is held on Super Saturday of Racing, a much promoted and anticipated event each autumn. It shares the bill with the Group 1 Australian Cup, which also offers a prize pool of $1,000,000. The Newmarket Handicap is the premier sprint race in Melbourne each autumn, and always manages to attract a quality field.
This event is run down a straight track, with the entire 1200 metres involving no turns at all. This type of track suits some horses much more than others, with similar races often acting as a good form guide for this event. Both the Group 1 Lightning Stakes and the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate are noted as being good indicators for the Newmarket Handicap, with Hay List finishing second to Black Caviar in the 2012 before taking out this event.
Both of the winners from 2011 and 2010, Black Caviar and Wanted, also had wins in the Lightning Stakes before winning the Newmarket Handicap. Over the years, a number of great horses have won this event, including names like Black Caviar in 2011, Miss Andretti in 2007, Takeover Target in 2006, Alinghi in 2005, General Nediym in 1998, Schillaci in 1992, and Special in 1998.
The Newmarket Handicap has been run since 1874, with Maid Of Avenel taking out the first win over a distance of 6 furlongs. Over this time, this event has changed to a 1200 metres event and upgraded from a Principal Race to a Group 1 race in 1980. The Newmarket Handicap has been won twice by four horses over this long history, Aspen in 1880 and 1881, Gothic in 1927 and 1928, Correct in 1960 and 1961, and Razor Sharp in 1982 and 1983.
In recent years, winners of the Newmarket Handicap have included Weekend Hussler in 2008, Scenic Blast in 2009, Wanted in 2010, Black Caviar in 2011, and Hay List in 2012. Hay List won the race ahead of Buffering in second position and Foxwedge in third.