Ad Frederick Charles Standish (1824-1883)

Captain Standish: an ideas man

9 January 2024 Written by VRC

Captain Frederick Charles Standish was a VRC Committeeman who was credited with the idea for the Melbourne Cup when he served on the Victoria Turf Club in 1861. The Newmarket was also his idea.

Captain Standish thought a “short and merry” race would add interest to the VRC's autumn program and he was certainly right. Some of the turf's greatest names have won the race and the sight of up to 24 powerful thoroughbreds dashing up both sides of the straight is always one of racing's heart-stopping moments. This was never more evident than in 2002 when less than a long head separated Rubitano from the next five placegetters. The race was short and merry but also fierce and desperately tight.

An elegant man and a keen punter who was allegedly “addicted to the delights of the sideboard”, Captain Standish was also Chief Commissioner of Police and legend has it he suspended the hunt for the Kelly gang the day weights were released for the Melbourne Cup.

VRC Standish Handicap Race Day, is a tribute to the former VRC Chairman, marking its inaugural appearance as a standalone event in the summer racing calendar. The race day's centrepiece, the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m), sees the winner earn automatic entry into the prestigious Group 1 Yulong Stud Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on Super Saturday, Saturday, 9 March 2024.