A look back at VRC Season Premiere's undercard
A brief look back at some of the undercard races from VRC Season Premiere Race Day.
Berkeley Square back with Flemington Group 1 aims
Trainer Dan O’Sullivan described Berkeley Square’s return to racing as a “terrific run” with the one-time Victoria Derby favourite finishing fourth in the VRC Member Denis Foley Sprint (1410m).
A winner over the same distance on this day last year, then following up with victory in the Listed Exford Plate (1400m) in September, Berkeley Square finished sixth in the 2500-metre Derby during the Melbourne Cup Carnival before a long layoff with a hoof injury from a loose shoe nail.
In the event won by the Flemington-based trainer Nick Ryan with outsider Edison ($51), Berkeley Square ($4.80) faced the challenge of reeling in the tearaway leaders, but still pleased O’Sullivan.
The Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington is his next aim with the four-year-old.
“I can’t see any point having another run at 1400. So, we’ll go straight to (extending) further. They ran strong sectionals which made it hard for him to win but I thought he was great," he said.
Benedetta gives Tatum Bull special Flemington moment
Jockey Tatum Bull achieved her first win at Flemington aboard the promising Benedetta in the Jockeys Celebration Day Handicap (1100m).
Composed on the favourite, Bull had previously had three placings at the track but went one better on the mare returning from a spell.
Trainer Jason Warren was pleased with the four-year-old’s effort.
“It was a textbook ride. It is nice to see Benedetta come back and do the job and she was about 80 per-cent wound up.”
Warren said that Benedetta would have a month between runs with her next outing.
Brayden Star takes another step
If consistency counts then five-year-old Brayden Star is high up there as a quiet achiever after earning a fourth career victory and a first at Flemington in the VRC Lionel Moss Trophy (1620m).
The race favourite has not finished outside of the top two placings in five runs this preparation for co-trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young.
“He hasn’t put in a bad run for us. He needed to win today but a win at Flemington – at headquarters – you enjoy it and we’ll do that," Busuttin said.
“This was a benchmark 84 today, though. There’s a lot to get through before then but we’ll be trying,” he added.
Brotherly love for Flemington straight
Albury-based trainer Donna Scott is no stranger to winning races at Flemington and the decision to family-owned point Our Last Cash in the Melbourne direction rather than to Sydney paid off as the six-year-old scored a 2¾-length victory in the VRC Members Sprint over 1100-metres.
It added to Scott’s list of successes at Flemington which began with Our Last Cash’s half-brother Lord Von Costa between 2016 and 2020.
Lord Von Costa won three races at Flemington in 11 outings including two at Listed level – the A.R. Creswick Series Final (1200m) in 2016 and the Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) in 2020.
Though Lord Von Costa delivered thrill for Scott and a loyal group of owners, she believes Our Last Cash may have an edge on his older sibling.
“Lord Von Costa loved the straight so we thought we’d have a crack here. I think this horse, though, has got a bit more ability but he’s very quirky and hard to manage but if he can do everything right he is probably a little bit better than him,” Scott said post-race.
The winning time of 1:03.29 etched a new class record time more than half-a-second quicker than Zac Da Boss’ mark set in May 2022.
Quote of the day
“Ollie has won about 150 group ones and between us that is 152. We certainly don’t tell him how to ride.” Trent Busuttin on whether the stable gave Damien Oliver any pre-race instructions before Brayden Star’s win.