Flemington celebrates country racing’s contribution on VRC Country Race Day

15 June 2023 Written by VRC

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) will pay homage to the contribution made by country racing clubs and participants on VRC Country Race Day this Saturday 17 June.

With 54 country race clubs around the state, VRC Country Race Day provides a central point for members and racegoers of regional venues to gather in celebration of their local club.

To acknowledge grassroots racing, members of any Victorian country race club can present their membership at the member enquiries window located at the Phar Lap statue, train platform or Hill Gate entrances to gain complimentary access to the VRC Members Enclosure for themselves and a guest on VRC Country Race Day. VRC members dress regulations apply.

The 2023 Country Achiever Award will be presented to Benalla training stalwart Wayne Nichols. Wayne will be acknowledged with a race named in his honour, Race 4 the 2023 Country Achiever Wayne Nichols.

A fixture in the industry for almost 40 years, Wayne has trained more than 250 winners during his career with his most notable horse being Group 2 and Group 3 winner Diplomatic Force who placed in the Group 1 Goodwood. Now eighteen-years old, Diplomatic Force is living out his retirement at Wayne's Goorambat property.

VRC Executive General Manager for Racing Leigh Jordon said the Club was delighted to highlight country racing across the state.

“Country race clubs and their loyal members provide the backbone of the racing industry and the success of many trainers, jockeys and horses begins at the grassroots level,” Mr Jordon said.

“It is a day in which we celebrate all that is great about country racing and the links between racing at all levels.”

“We are also thrilled to have Wayne Nichols join us on Saturday as we celebrate his passion for and service to country racing.”

On the track, Horsham trainer Paul Preusker and connections will be targeting back-to-back Flemington wins with Steparty, following an impressive victory in the Royal Children's Hospital Trophy (1200m) at Flemington on VRC Community Race Day. The boom two-year-old colt will line up in the Rod Johnson Handicap (1420m).

The feature race, The David Bourke (1620m), named after former VRC Chairman and long-time Pakenham Racing Club Secretary David Bourke, boasts an honour roll that includes world champion sprinter Nature Strip, Flemington Group 1 winner Gytrash and three-time Flemington winner Tuvalu in the past five years.

The handicap will feature So You Think progeny The Summit, having his first start for Lindsay Park, French Emperor who will be looking to recapture his TAB Champions Stakes Day 2022 winning form for Price Kent Racing and Jimmy The Bear for Patrick Payne.

Connections will be targeting heats of the Winter Race Series with seven sets of heats to be run. The winner and runner-up of each heat will qualify for the final on Flemington Finals Day on Saturday 1 July.

Off the track, the popular VRC Punters Club is back, proudly supported by TAB. Register before Race 3 on the day for only $10 and enjoy all the fun in The Atrium (VRC members) and Saintly Place Sports Bar (general admission).

Redkirk Warrior known as ‘Kirk’ to those who care for him, he is described as a bossy horse to his paddock mates and loves to play, which is often very rough! He enjoys human company and loves to meet people.

The Kids Corner in The Atrium will also be a popular destination for VRC members and their families.

Popular Living Legends Pakistan Star and Redkirk Warrior will be in the horse stalls throughout the day and parading in the Mounting Yard after races 2 and 4.

Gates open at 10:50am with race 1 at 11:50am. General admission tickets are $20 per person with children under 12 admitted free. For more ticketing information, please visit

Racing returns to Flemington on Saturday 1 July for Flemington Finals Race Day.