AAMI Victoria Derby Day meeting
AAMI Victoria Derby Day is one for the purists: four Group 1s complemented with a stellar support card of two Group 2s, three Group 3s and over $7.25 Million in prizemoney.
It is, for many, the best race day on the Australian racing calendar. Horses are hitting their peak in terms of preparation through the spring carnival and all races provide plenty of depth attracting horses from across the country and, in some years, other parts of the globe.
The meeting has traditionally adopted a black and white fashion theme and it is normally the first day where patrons get to see the 18,000 rose bushes blooming at their best. Heats for the lucrative MYER Fashions on The Field – this year, MYER Fashions on Your Front Lawn, kick into gear. A digital version of the event, it is sure to attract plenty of interest with many lucrative prizes on offer for both female and male entrants.
Sadly, this year, there will be minimal (if any) crowds in attendance courtesy of the global pandemic. However, with a global audience spanning over 170 countries worldwide and over 750 Million people, this won’t stop Flemington from being presented in showpiece condition. The event will well and truly cater for the at-home viewer.
The $2,000,000 AAMI Victoria Derby (G1) is the star attraction for 3YOs over the testing 2500 metre distance. Many of the greats have won the race over the years highlighted by Phar Lap who won the coveted race in 1929 before going on and securing the Melbourne Cup in 1930. Lantern won the Cup in 1864 prior to winning the Melbourne Cup; Fireworks won two Victoria Derbies back in 1867/68 and the unbeaten Grand Flaneur secured the coveted prize in 1880 the same year he won the Melbourne Cup. He was unbeaten in nine race starts.
Briseis was one out of the box when she secured the Derby, Cup and Oaks treble – the only horse to do so back in 1876. But certainly, in those early years, Martini-Henry’s effort in 1883 takes the cake. He won the Victoria Derby at his first start and the Melbourne Cup at his second! A son of Musket, the site for his grave was found only last year courtesy of the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour some 60kms outside of Longreach at Bexley Station. It had remained undiscovered for several generations.
There are many great modern-day heroes the likes of Mahogany (1993) and Red Anchor (1984) but with names the ilk of Rebel Raider (2008), Efficient (2006) and Nothin’ Leica Dane (1995) there is no shortage of depth to the honour roll.
The Derby is supported by three other Group 1s on the Program. Namely:
The $1,000,000 TAB Empire Rose Stakes (G1) – WFA Fillies and Mares over 1600 metres, it has always attracted the best of fillies and mares over a mile from across Australasia. Multiple Group 1 winners Melody Belle (2019), Shillelagh (2018) and Shoals (2017) are the most recent winners.
The $1,500,000 Kennedy Cantala (G1) – the feature (quality) handicap mile over the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the race has boasted some star performers in recent years the likes of which include Fierce Impact (2019), Best of Days (2018) and Shillelagh (2017). It has presented the odd blow out with Tears I Cry (2007) winning at 100/1.
The $1,500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (G1) – a race which has continued to grow in stature, it is a stallion-making race for star sprinting three-year-olds run under set weights. Conducted over 1200 metres, the race has boasted such prized colts as Exceedance (2019) defeating another star colt in Bivouac, Merchant Navy (2017), Brazen Beau (2014), and Zoustar (2013). Not be outdone the fillies have been just as impressive headlined by Sunlight (2018), Headway (2009), and Gold Edition (2006).