Ad Le Ferrari ridden by Ben Allen wins the VRC-CRV Trophy

A brief look at the racing from VRC Country Race Day

22 June 2024 Written by Racing & Sports

The Victoria Racing Club hosted its annual VRC Country Race Day on Saturday 22 June 2024 with special acknowledgments and tributes to country racing participants and a nine-race card full of quality racing.

Flemington four-time for Hayes brothers

Doubters of the old saying ‘babies bring good luck’ might be forced to rethink their position after Lindsay Park dominated Saturday’s nine-race card at Flemington.

Brothers Ben, Will and JD Hayes celebrated their first metropolitan four-timer as a training team.

It came six days after Will Hayes celebrated the arrival of his first child, Oliver David Hayes, with partner Coco Webster.

With Will adjusting to family life and JD playing football for Euroa, Ben was in charge at Flemington and said the quartet of wins capped a memorable week for the family.

“It’s a big achievement for Lindsay Park, it’s the first time we’ve had a metro four-timer, so we’re very happy and it’s a big thrill,” Ben said.

“I know Will will be at home super excited and JD would have finished his footy game and he would have been having a bit of fun flicking through seeing all the results.

“Will, JD and I are proud of the whole team.”

The tone for the day was set in the opening event when Sneaky Sunrise, a two-year-old daughter of The Autumn Sun who started $3.60 favourite, made it back-to-back Flemington wins under Daniel Stackhouse in the Ken Cox Handicap (1420m).

The Hayes boys had to settle for a third placing with longshot Port Guillaume in Race 2, didn’t have a runner in Race 3, missed the mark with Frumos in Race 4 but then saw Crosshaven ($17) break a lengthy run of outs in the Country Achiever Shane Fliedner (1100m) that was Race 5.

The victory, which was overseen by Luke Currie, was the six-year-old’s first win since the Group 3 Heffernan Stakes at Caulfield on 26 November 2022, which is his only other win since the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) on Derby Day 2020.

Lindsay Park had Race 6 off then won back-to-back races with Le Ferrari and Aztec State.

Le Ferrari ($6.50) made it two city wins from his past three starts with a tenacious win under Ben Allen in the the CRC/CRV Trophy, while the Michael Dee-ridden Aztec State ($7) was too strong for his three-year-old rivals in the Brian Beattie Handicap.

Ford returns to Flemington a winner

Jay Ford made a winning return to Flemington when The Black Cloud made a rare trip interstate worthwhile in the VRC Country Raceday Sprint (1100m).

The Joe Pride-trained filly cashed in on some good placement from the Warwick Farm conditioner to score a decisive win in the 1100-metre event that rounded out the card.

The daughter of Shamus Award has been ridden by Ford in each of her six career starts, which have now yielded four wins and two seconds, and the 40-year-old hoop was not keen to let anyone else aboard.

“I haven’t been here in a long time,” Ford said.

“It takes a bit for me to go interstate, but I quite like this horse, and she made the trip worthwhile.”

The victory was Ford’s first at Flemington since partnering Takeover Target to victory in the 2006 Newmarket Handicap.

That is one of three victories up the Flemington straight for Ford, all of which have come at Group 1 level.

He was also aboard Takeover Target when he won the Group 1 Salinger Stakes (1200m), now VRC Sprint Classic, in 2004 and the 2006 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m).

Allen reigns aboard Waller’s King

Engaging John Allen for the ride on Born A King proved a masterstroke by champion trainer Chris Waller.

The Irish jockey got the imported stayer into the Top 10 for the first time this campaign when he had his first ride aboard the seven-year-old in the Boys To The Bush Community Trophy.

The son of Frankel had finished last of 14, 12th of 16 and 11th of 13 at his previous three runs this campaign, but relished the step up to 2540m dominate his rivals in the $150,000 event.

It was the sixth career win for the gelding, whose lone success in Europe came in a ratings race at Lingfield Park, and was his first since taking out the Listed Harry White Classic (2400m) at Mornington on AFL Grand Final Day last year.

Munhamek’s shot at Championship status

Nick Ryan knows Munhamek's lengthy and fruitful campaign must end at some time, but the indefatigable gelding is not exactly demanding a rest.

The Flemington trainer's stable star made it career win number 12 when he made light work of 61.5kg to win Saturday's $150,000 The David Bourke at Flemington.

The 1620-metre event is a qualifier for the $200,000 Listed Winter Championship Final (1600m) at the same track on July 6 and Ryan said he might be forced to not only head there with him but consider the Group 2 Lawrence Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m).

"It's hard to stop when they're going this well, isn't it? We'll see what weight he gets, I suppose, but it's two weeks (away) and then we've got those early weight-for-age races," Ryan said.

"He's got that much residual fitness; he's been in work about 15 months.

"We'll have a board meeting on Monday morning, I'm sure, and we'll discuss it but he's an eight-year-old, rising nine-year-old gelding in this form, so it might be strike while the iron's hot."

Craig bounces back on Country Race Day

Craig bounces back from unlucky run to return to winner’s list at Flemington on VRC Country Race Day.

There was no sign of the obstacles that confronted Craig at Flemington on June 8 when he returned to Victorian racing headquarters on Saturday and the untapped import responded with a stress-free victory.

The Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-trained gelding justified his status as the shortest-priced favourite of the day with a soft win in the $150,000 Rod Johnson Handicap (1620m).
The son of Territories was ridden in a positive manner by Luke Currie, who encountered trouble getting a run in the straight two weeks ago, and the jockey said while that is not necessarily what best suits the three-year-old it was his best hope on Saturday.
"I don't think I really rode him to his advantage, but I rode him to the race," Currie said.