See the 2020 HDF McNeil Stakes Preview and Results
The race was first run as an unlisted handicap over 1100m in 1989 and was won by Good Old Ted. In 1991 it was upgraded to a Listed race, then in 1999 it was upgraded again to its current Group 3 status. In 2006 the distance was extended to 1200m. It is held on Group 1 Memsie Stakes day along with the Group 3 The Heath 1100 sprint race, the Group 3 WW Cockram Stakes over 1200m for mares and the Listed Heatherlie Handicap over 1700m.
Horses that are not first-up from a spell often come into the McNeil via the Group 3 Vain Stakes run 2 weeks before on PB Lawrence Stakes day at Caulfield. Some may come via the Group 3 Spring Stakes at Morphettville three weeks before. The race is generally very competitive and is often a stepping stone to major Group races in the Spring Carnival, including the Thousand Guineas Prelude, Thousand Guineas, Edward Manifold Stakes and Crown Oaks for fillies, plus the Danehill Stakes, Caulfield Guineas, Coolmore Stud Stakes and Victoria Derby.
There are some great horses in the list of past winners for this race. A few have even done well overseas like 2017 winner Merchant Navy who won the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington two starts later then was sold and went to Europe where he won the G2 Greenlands Stakes then the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes.