Flemington Finals Race Day wrap
Smaller stables were to the fore to start Flemington Finals Race Day as Luke Oliver, Jerome Hunter and John Salanitri won the first three races on the card.
Megamea, trained by Luke Oliver, delivered an emotional win for owner and former trainer Udyta Clarke in the TCL Leilani Series Final (1400m), after she was forced to step away after suffering a life-threatening brain bleed in late 2020.
Udyta, who famously trained sprinter Rich Charm to win the Group 2 TAB Linlithgow Stakes at Flemington in 2017, spoke to the meaning of the win in a heartfelt post-race interview.
“It’s right up there. It’s just very important, especially when she comes here and wins like that. It’s very nice.”
The Shea Eden trained Calmsir, who was still a maiden galloper, caused a boilover in the G.H. Mumm Mahogany Challenge Final (2500m). The three leadups to today’s final were all won by horses starting $21 and Calmsir kept with the trend, taking out the three-year-old staying feature at $41.
There was another upset at Flemington, with Mimi’s Award crossing the line first in the Lexus Banjo Patterson Series Final only for it to be upheld on protest and Monbaher declared the winner.
In the sprint feature of the day it was Saab Hassan and his stable star Sirius Suspect who were popular winners of the Furphy Santa Ana Lane Series Sprint Final (1200m).
The rising eight-year-old sprinter recorded his first win since taking out the Group 3 Standish Handicap on New Year’s Day, continuing his outstanding affinity with the Flemington straight.
The ‘straight six’ dished up another exciting finish as the field split into two groups, Sirius Suspect staying with the inside group and winning by a length over the outside division of Florescent Star, Sartorial Splendor and Zac De Boss.
Two thrilling finishes in a row certainly whet the appetite for the feature race on the day: the Penfolds VRC-CRV Winter Championship Series Final (1600m), and the race didn’t disappoint.
Tuvalu was a well-supported favourite after a strong win over Visinari at Flemington two weeks ago and repeated the dose after crossing to lead from a wide gate. Stablemate Mystery Shot and Ciaron Maher & David Eustace’s Sir Davy both chased in vain again, only narrowly improving on the margin from two weeks ago as Tuvalu ran out a two-length winner.
Jockey Jarrod Fry notched up the fourth listed win of his career and arguably the most significant, having built a strong relationship with the horse, riding him at his last six starts for four wins.
The recently renamed $3 million VRC Champions Mile (1600m) at Flemington in the spring was touted as an option for Tuvalu post-race, but stable representative Shane Jackson was keeping his cards close to his chest.
“I’ll leave that to the brains of the operation, Lindsey will be sitting at home making a plan, but I do know that he’ll go for a rest now,” Jackson said.
The card ended with another close finish as Arran Bay took out the TAB Silver Bowl Series Final (1600m) holding off race favourite Cardinal Gem and capping off another fantastic Flemington Finals Race Day.