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Flemington - 2023 wrapped

27 December 2023 Written by Brad Bishop – Racing & Sports

22 meetings were conducted at Flemington over the course of 2023 with plenty of highlights to look back on.

The Rapid Racing meeting on December 20 brought down the curtain on racing for 2023 at Flemington, that saw a total of 2302 horses contest 196 races on Australia’s most famous racecourse.

Below is a look at some of the standout performers for the year.

MOST WINS FOR THE YEAR – HORSE

A swag of horses won multiple races for the year, including Pride Of Jenni, who was the only dual Group 1 winner at Flemington for 2023, taking out two Group 1s over the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the TAB Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) and the Kennedy Champions Mile (1600m).

However, three horses share the award for most wins at Flemington in 2023 with three.

Cause For Concern

The Shawn Mathrick-trained gelding won a couple of 3YO handicaps in winter and returned in Cup Week to win the Group 2 The Damien Oliver on Penfolds Victoria Derby Day.

First Immortal

Campaigned exclusively at Flemington in the middle part of the year and four starts in a six-week patch generated two wins over 2000m and a 2500m success, underlining his potential as one of Australia’s most promising stayers.

Mimi’s Award

Like First Immortal, won at the May 20 and July 1 meetings before also winning on July 15. The Lindsay Park-trained mare found a purple patch of form netting three wins in four starts over staying trips of 2500 to 2800 metres.

MOST WINS FOR THE YEAR – JOCKEY

Forty-nine individual jockeys celebrated success at Flemington throughout the year, but none won more races than Blake Shinn.

He was in the winner’s stall 22 times, including trebles at the July 1 and September 24 meetings.

MOST WINS FOR THE YEAR – TRAINER(S)

Ciaron Maher and David Eustace were the most successful of the 74 stables to win at least one race with the soon-to-disband training team taking out 15 races for the term.

Pride Of Jenni’s two Melbourne Cup Carnival wins were among four Group 1 wins, the others being Gold Trip’s TAB Turnbull Stakes and Coolangatta’s Black Caviar Lightning.

MOST SUCCESSFUL TRAINER/JOCKEY COMBINATIONS

Coolangatta was ridden to victory in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) by Jamie Kah, which was one of four wins for Maher and Eustace by the star jockey.

There were six combinations who celebrated success on three occasions each;

James McDonald for Chris Waller
Mark Zahra for Ciaron Maher & David Eustace
Michael Dee for Danny O’Brien
Carleen Hefel for Peter Moody & Katherine Coleman
Thomas Stockdale for Robbie Griffiths & Mathew de Kock
Blake Shinn for Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young

HIGHEST-RATED WINNERS (Timeform)

It will come as no surprise that Without A Fight’s Lexus Melbourne Cup win, when he lumped 56.5kg to a 2.25-length win and thus became the first horse to complete the Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup double in 22 years, was the highest-rating performance of the year with the import earning a 127+ Timeform figure.

Gold Trip earned a 126+ rating for his barnstorming win in the Group 1 TAB Turnbull Stakes (2000m), when he swept over the top of subsequent Caulfield Cup runner-up West Wind Blows, Melbourne Cup runner-up Soulcombe and Cox Plate winner Romantic Warrior.

Rounding out the top three was Mr Brightside, who earned a 125+ number for his dominant win over Alligator Blood in the Group 1 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).

FASTEST TIME FOR EACH DISTANCE

Distance

Horse

Time

Race

Date

1000m

Najem Suhail

57.02

G.H. Mumm Century Stakes (L)

November 9

1100m

Sigh

1:02.47

Country Achiever Wayne Nichols Quality

June 17

1200m

In Secret

1:08.24

Yulong Stud Newmarket Handicap (G1)

March 11

1400m

Annavisto

1:21.59

Frances Tressady Stakes (G3)

February 18

1600m

Pride Of Jenni

1:34.86

Kennedy Champions Mile (G1)

November 11

2000m

Right You Are

2:00.58

TAB Australian Cup Prelude

March 11

2500m

Mostly Cloudy

2:36.83

Quality Handicap

September 16

MOST SUCCESSFUL BARRIERS

Barrier four provided more winners in 2023 than any other starting position, followed by gate six and alley five.