The Festival of Racing sees equine athletes as well as our highly talented jockeys and trainers return to Group 1 racing this season. Ahead of the first Group 1 of 2018, the C.F. Orr Stakes at Caulfield, we've complied a list of established and emerging stars on and off the track for you to keep an eye out for during the Festival of Racing.
A winning treble at Moonee Valley in December has reinforced the rise of teenage apprentice Stephanie Thornton ahead of this year's Festival of Racing.
Find our more about Stephanie Thornton
Having won three of the four majors in Australian racing and significant success overseas, Craig Williams is consistently riding winners.
Find out more about Craig Williams
Damian 'Frosty' Lane launched himself into star-status after winning the Australian Derby, Mackinnon Stakes and the Australian Cup in 2017.
Find out more about Damian Lane
With two Group 1 winners in the 2017 Spring Racing Carnival, Mark Zahra won't be short of rides during the Festival of Racing.
Find out more about Mark Zahra
At just 16, Ben Allen rode half the card at a day out at Benalla. Since then, his success has grown with a Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes to his name
Find out more about Ben Allen
Entering his 27th year as a jockey, Stephen Baster has 13 Group 1 wins under his belt with his most recent coming in the 2017 Crown Oaks.
Find out more about Stephen Baster
With more than 40 Group 1 successes worldwide under his belt, including two Melbourne Cup winners, Kerrin McEvoy is a safe bet for trainers.
Find out more about Kerrin McEvoy
After relocating from his native Northern Territory to Victoria, Ethan Brown is quickly rising up the apprentice ranks and is a jockey to keep an eye on.
Find out more about Ethan Brown
At just 30, Ben Melham already has 13 Group 1 wins under his belt, stamping himself as one of Victoria's most consistent senior jockeys.
Find out more about Ben Melham
An eight-time Scobie Breasley Medal winner, 'Ollie' is arguably Australia's best-known rider having won the Grand Slam of Australian racing and 108 G1's.
Find out more about Damien Oliver
Beau Merterns put himself on the map when he rode Snitty Kitty to victory in the G2 Caulfield Sprint in Spring and by doing so, set a new race record.
Find out more about Beau Merterns
At the age of 44, Dwayne Dunn has shown no signs of slowing down having won 15 Group 1 victories. He's regarded as one of the safest hands in racing.
Find out more about Dwayne Dunn
Won this season's Makybe Diva, placed behind Winx in the Turnbull Stakes and Cox Plate in spring. Likely to defend his crown at the G1 Australian Cup.
The star 3YO who ran fourth in the Cox Plate is likely to resume in the CS Hayes Stakes before targeting the G1 Australian Guineas on March 3.
After winning his past six starts including the Everest and Darley Classic last spring, Redzel is comfortably Australia's best sprinter.
After winning the G1 Coolmore Stud Stakes in spring last year, Merchant Navy will be eyeing off the G1 Newmarket Handicap title to his his name.
Merchant Navy Profile
After cleaning up with dual Group 1 wins last spring, Tosen Stardom will have one final racing campaign before taking up stallion duties.
Tosen Stardom Profile
Eyeing off the coveted $1.5 million G1 Blue Diamond Stakes on February 24 is Qafila. An impressive 2YO who is an early favourite.
The reigning Thousand Guineas winner who'll line up on February 17 for the Vanity Stakes before heading to the Australian Guineas on March 3.
An emerging 2YO who's mother is Black Caviar and is a half-brother to Oscietra. He hasn't yet raced, but a debut looms during the Festival of Racing.
After winning last year's Manikato Stakes, fan-favourite Hey Doc will be eyeing off the G1 William Reid Stakes under lights at The Valley.
Hey Doc Profile
After winning the Caulfield Guineas at 101-1, the incredibly-photogenic Mighty Boss will be targeting the Australian Guineas on March 3.
Mighty Boss Profile
A 2YO that's won both starts for the Hayes/Dabernig stable is sure to feature during the Blue Diamond. Keep an eye on this one!
Long Leaf Profile
After winning the G1 Myer Classic at Flemington in spring, Shoals will line up in the G3 Kevin Hayes Stakes at Caulfield on February 10.
Since gaining his training licence in 2014, Archie Alexander has trained Group 2 winner Lord Fandango to victory in the Herbert Power Stakes
Find out more about Archie Alexander
A family trio, David Hayes' status in racing is legendary, however in recent years has partnered with nephew Tom Dabernig and recently son Ben.
Find out more about Hayes & Dabernig
In the 2016/17 season, Darren Weir broke an Australian record, winning an astonishing 449 winners across the country including 137 city wins.
Find out more about Darren Weir
A whirlwind spring saw Aaron Purcell launch himself into the spotlight with Group 1 winners in the Coolmore Stakes and Thousand Guineas.
Find out more about Aaron Purcell
Since notching his first win as trainer in 1991, Mick Price has had many Group 1 successes, claiming the Blue Diamond Stakes twice.
Find out more about Mick Price
Since forming a formidable partnership in 2016, Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have clicked with immediate results for Tulloch Lodge.
Find out more about Waterhousoe & Bott
Known for his great success with wonder mare Winx, Chris Waller has enjoyed countless wins in Melbourne from his Flemington stable.
Find out more about Chris Waller
The Grandson of the legendary Bart Cummings, he took over the reins as Godolphin's head trainer in 2017 with immediate success.
Find out more about James Cummings
There wasn't much that Tony McEvoy didn't achieve in 2017, taking home Group 1 wins in the Manikato Stakes and the Australian Guineas.
Find out more about Tony McEvoy