ANZAC Day Race Day featuring Mounting Yard ceremony at Flemington
The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) will proudly acknowledge ANZAC heroes and service personnel on ANZAC Day Race Day at Flemington next Monday 25 April, with a traditional ceremony, commemorative displays, Two Up and an eight-race card featuring the 165th VRC St Leger
All profits from the day will go to the ANZAC Day Proceeds Fund, with racegoers also having the opportunity to donate direct to the ANZAC Appeal throughout the day.
This year marks 50 years of the Listed VRC St Leger (2800m) being conducted on ANZAC Day at Flemington Racecourse with the three-year-old feature boasting winners such as Grand Flaneur, Poseidon, Phar Lap, Tranquil Star, Sailor's Guide and Tulloch. The race pre-dates the Lexus Melbourne Cup but was not always run on ANZAC Day.
The annual ANZAC Day Mounting Yard Ceremony will be held at 2:55pm featuring exhibition horses and handlers in cavalry attire to signify the bond between human and horse during wartime.
The Australian National Anthem will be performed by Kathy Hinch accompanied by the Moonee Valley Brass Band as part of the ceremony.
The Light Horse and Field Artillery Museum will also host a Front Lawn display commemorating the role of the horse in past wars.
Racegoers can try their luck at the traditional wartime game of Two Up which will take place both on the west end of the Front Lawn as well as in The Atrium.
Children can experience games of yesteryear including tug of war, with a number of jockeys set to try their hand at the classic game throughout the day.
The eight-race card, where jockeys of the number one horse will wear special ANZAC colours will feature champion trainer and VRC Ambassador Gai Waterhouse aiming to continue her enviable record in the VRC St Leger.
Waterhouse has won the race five times in the last decade. This year she and her training partner Adrian Bott will saddle up Zoumon in the staying classic.
Zoumon, who was fourth in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at his last start, is set to go head-to-head once more with the James Cummings-trained Alegron, who was third in that same race after finishing second in the Group 1 Penfolds Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington in October. Remarkably, Alegron will be aiming to be the first horse since 1967 to win the St Leger having placed in the Victoria Derby.
The VRC St Leger is one of two races on the card which offers ballot exemption for next month’s Listed The Andrew Ramsden (2800m), a race that itself awards a golden ticket straight into the $8 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) on the first Tuesday in November. The second is the William Newton VC Handicap (2600m), headlined by 2019 Victoria Derby hero Warning and that year’s The Andrew Ramsden winner Steel Prince. \
The other feature race on the day is the Listed ANZAC Day Stakes (1400m) for two-year-olds which over the past decade has been a stepping stone to Group 1 glory for horses like Super Seth, Merchant Navy and Long John.
Merchant Navy could be represented in his first year as a stallion with his daughter Callsign Charlie among 23 entries.
The winner of each race on the day will be awarded a special bespoke trophy, featuring the motif of a Lighthorseman and his horse.
VRC Chief Executive Officer Steve Rosich said ANZAC Day Race Day was one of the most important race days on the VRC’s calendar.
“ANZAC Day Race Day is a chance for all of us to reflect on our history, both as a club and as a country,” Mr Rosich said.
“Flemington played an important role as a training ground for soldiers, especially during World War II, and the VRC has long acknowledged the role of our service personnel.
“Races like the VRC St Leger and the Lexus Melbourne Cup have been a beacon of hope, continuing through times of war and peace, and it is only appropriate that a race of such magnitude takes place on one of our most significant race days.
“We welcome members and racegoers to Flemington from midday to join us as we pay respect to our service personnel and also acknowledge the horses that contributed to Australia’s war effort.”
Pin sellers from the Watsonia RSL will be located at key entry points as well as roving throughout the racecourse raising funds for the ANZAC Appeal.
ANZAC Day Race Day will also be the first race day serviced by new hospitality partner Crown, with a special introductory offer of $5 fries and $5 pies available course wide. From 12pm until 2:10pm there will also be $5 Furphy beers available.
Delicious ANZAC biscuits made by the Country Women’s Association will be free with every tea and coffee purchase made on course.
The ANZAC Day AFL clash between Collingwood and Essendon will also be shown on screens around the course for racegoers to enjoy.
Past and current service personnel will gain free entry into Flemington Racecourse on ANZAC Day Race Day upon showing identification. Ticket prices start at $15 for adults, $12 for concession/student, $8 for pensioners and children under 16 are free.
Living Legends Designs On Rome and Fawkner will parade in the Mounting Yard after races two and four.
Gates open at 12pm with the first race at 1pm.