||Set Weights for 3YO fillies
Nakeeta Jane ($3.80)
One of the early highlights during the Sydney Autumn Carnival is the Surround Stakes. A Group One race for three-year-old fillies, the Surround Stakes is contested over 1,400 metres at Randwick Racecourse.
The race was first run in 1979. It was named after champion racehorse Surround, the only three-year-old filly so far to win the Cox Plate. While the Surround Stakes has spent most of its existence as a Group Two race, the decision was made to upgrade it to a Group One for 2018, which is only fitting given the quality of the horse it's named after.
A handful of talented fillies have saluted in this race, particularly in the last decade. More Joyous, Streama, Dear Demi and First Seal have all greeted the judge in the Surround Stakes, making the upgrade to Group One grade seem all the more fitting.
The Surround Stakes has historically been run at the same meet as the Chipping Norton Stakes. For that reason, a vast majority of past Surround Stakes have been held at Warwick Farm racecourse in Sydney's South West.
The 1,400 metre start at Randwick sees the gates crash open on a chute that feeds onto the side straight. With only a forty-five-degree turn out of the chute, horses drawn out wide aren't majorly disadvantaged, although it does help to have an inside draw.
The Light Fingers stakes run a fortnight earlier at Randwick is the main lead-up race for the Surround Stakes. The Light Fingers is a Group 2 contested over 1,200 metres. Therefore, horses that run on tend to fare well in the Surround Stakes.
2018 Surround Stakes
Last year's edition was the first time the Surround Stakes was run as a Group One. And the race lived up to the grade, producing a blanket finish where Shoals had too much in the tank to hold on from a swarm of fast-finishers.
2019 Surround Stakes
In a thrilling four-way go, it was Nakeeta Jane who prevailed in last year's edition.
She was the widest runner and just got there in the final few strides.