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Stars collide in classic Caulfield Stakes

It might be known as Guineas Day, but the two Group 1s for three-year-olds are not the only features on Saturday's Caulfield card.

The $1 million Ladbrokes Stakes - aka: Caulfield Stakes - is one of two other elite-level events on the program and has attracted one of its finest line-ups in years.

Seven G1 winners will do battle in the 2000-metre weight-for-age event that is expected to provide a good pointer to the spring majors to come.

2018 Ladbrokes Stakes field

1 - BENBATL: The first of three Northern Hemisphere-trained runners in the race, who is in town as one of the official international invitees for the Cox Plate. The Saeed bin Suroor-trained son of Dubawi hasn't contested anything but Group races since his second start, the past five at the highest level, including wins in the Dubai Turf (1800m) on World Cup night and Dallmayr Preis (200m) in Germany.

2 - HUMIDOR: Still regarded by many as the second-best horse in the country, thanks largely to his almost party-pooper effort in last year's Cox Plate. Heading for another showdown with Winx at The Valley and has uncovered a late-in-life love for Caulfield, which has generated a G1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) win and close-up Underwood Stakes (1800m) third.

3 - TOSEN BASIL: Speaking of narrow Underwood defeats, Darren Weir's Japanese import split Humidor and winner Homesman in a performance that gave the believers hope after a jury-out Aussie debut in the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m). Has long been touted as one of Weir's leading Cups hopes.

4 - HARLEM: This year's Australian Cup winner who will be one of the roughies here, which emphasises the depth of this race.

5 - THE CLIFFSOFMOHER: Might not be one of the seven G1 winners engaged, but it's not rude to say the Aidan O'Brien-trained 5YO is better credentialed than many that are. Runner-up in last year's Epsom Derby - beating home Cracksman - and boasts five other top-four G1 finishes, to go with his G2 win in the Moorsbridge Stakes (2000m).

6 - HOMESMAN: Macedon Lodge import who thrived off a light autumn preparation to emerge as a potential spring star, underlined by a last-start Underwood Stakes win over many rivals he meets again here. Was only second-up that day and could end the day Caulfield Cup favourite with a repeat showing here.

7 - BLAIR HOUSE: Cox Plate-bound Charlie Appleby-trained 6YO who boasts a G1 win over Benbatl, in the 1800-metre Jebel Hatta, and although unplaced at his Australian debut in the Underwood Stakes, he missed the start and caught the eye working home along the inside. Even better suited here up to 2000m.

8 - NIGHT'S WATCH: Another who has gone to a new level this campaign. Finished fractionally behind Homesman in the G2 Dato' Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) then booked his Caulfield Cup spot with a narrow-but-impressive Naturalism Stakes. Given this is his G1 debut, it's by far his biggest test, but he looks to have more upside than most.

9 - INVICTUS PRINCE: Best known for beating home all bar Winx in the G1 Winx Stakes back in August, but has failed to flatter in two subsequent runs. Looks outclassed.

10 - D'ARGENTO: Rosehill Guineas winner who gets back out to 2000m for the first time since that victory in March. Has been building this prep and was only cut down late by a rejuvenated Hartnell in the G1 Epsom Handicap (1600m). Big chance for the grey to confirm his Cox Plate bona fides.

11 - SEDANZER: This year's Brisbane Cup (2400m) winner who is likely to race in a prominent position, but would probably be more at home in the G2 Herbert Power Stakes.

12 - UNFORGOTTEN: This year's ATC Oaks winner who many have been waiting eagerly to see in Melbourne. Second-up Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) win was followed by a fast-closing third in the Epsom and will relish the step up to 2000m. Remains in the entries for both the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate and performance here will determine her path for the remainder of spring.

Humidor (NZ), picture Quentinjlang.com

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