|2017 winner||Shillelagh ($12)
The Kennedy Mile is a Group 1 Quality race run over a mile on the first day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival: Victoria Derby Day. The Kennedy Mile is one of the highlights on what the purists say is the best day of racing in Australia, where every race is awarded Group status.
This race was first contested back in 1881 as the Coburg Stakes. Since then the race has undergone a variety of name changes. It has also been dubbed the George Adams Handicap, the Emirates Stakes, and the Cantala Stakes amongst others.
The race is officially registered as the Cantala Stakes, and raced under that name every year from 1919 and 1961, as well as in 2016. However, since 2017 the race has been known as the Kennedy Mile.
While Sydneysiders would surely disagree, some judge the Kennedy as the premier mile race during the spring carnival. The handicap conditions ensure that every horse has a chance of winning, leading to an open betting race. In fact, in the last ten editions of the race, the average winning price has exceeded the thirteen dollar mark.
With one million dollars in prize money up for grabs, the Kennedy Mile is a race that is targeted by plenty of owners and trainers alike. Being towards the end of the carnival, this race becomes a Grand Final for all horses involved. In other words, it is the best race that most of the horses involved will run in all spring, and the race that they have been set for.
Last year, the Chris Waller-trained Shillelagh got the better of his stablemate and second-place specialist Tom Melbourne in the narrowest of finishes.