Flemington Racing Spectacular comes to an outstanding close as Zaaki dominates
The Flemington Racing Spectacular concluded today with top-class galloper Zaaki becoming the fourth winner of the $5 million The Seppelt Wines All-Star Mile (1600m) and capping off three consecutive weeks of sensational racing at Headquarters.
More than 12,500 people watched the ever-popular Zaaki add his name to The Seppelt Wines All-Star Mile honour roll for leading trainer Annabel Neasham and premiership-winning jockey Jamie Kah.
For Queensland resident Nicholas Bouseka there was extra delight, with Zaaki’s victory leaving him $250,000 richer, having been named as the gelding’s owner ambassador.
The 63-year-old said it was an unbelievable day that he would never forget.
“It feels surreal, everyone has been saying to me all day ‘are you excited?’ and now I am excited because the reality is I now have the cheque!” Mr Bouseka said.
Over 35,000 people have flocked to Flemington over the last three weekends for the Flemington Racing Spectacular and enjoyed first class action on and off the racetrack.
The Flemington Racing Spectacular – which encompassed Australian Guineas Race Day on March 5 and Super Saturday Race Day on March 12 before today’s The Seppelt Wines All-Star Mile Race Day – saw more than 300 horses race for over $14 million in prizemoney.
On Australian Guineas Day racegoers cheered home Penfolds Victoria Derby winner Hitotsu as the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained galloper made a triumphant return in the $1 million Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m), becoming the first three-year-old to ever win the autumn classic in their first run of the calendar year.
On Super Saturday New Zealand mare Roch ‘n’ Horse, became the first horse in more than 130 years to win the $1.5 million Group 1 Yulong Stud Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at her first Australian start for Flemington trainer Mike Moroney.
Super Saturday also saw young trainer Edward Cummings join his legendary grandfather Bart as a winner of the $1.5 million Group 1 TAB Australian Cup (2000m) when taking the 160th edition of the race with talented mare Duais.
The four features were among 27 races over the three-day festival, with 16 different jockeys successful for 21 stables. Ciaron Maher and David Eustace were the most successful trainers with four winners, while Jamie Kah’s quartet of winners put her ahead of John Allen and Josh Parr on three.
Victoria Racing Club Chief Executive Officer Steve Rosich said it was a superb end to a fantastic month of racing at Flemington.
“The Flemington Racing Spectacular has lived up to its name in every sense of the word, providing spectacular racing action on the track and exceptional entertainment off it over the past three weeks at Australia’s premier track,” Mr Rosich said.
“There have been some incredible stories, from Hitotsu joining a rare group to win both of Flemington’s three-year-old classics to Roch ‘n’ Horse creating history in the Yulong Stud Newmarket Handicap.
“For Edward Cummings to join his grandfather Bart as a Group 1 TAB Australian Cup-winning trainer in the 160th year of the prestigious race was a great highlight, while Zaaki proved yet again why he is one of Australia’s best horses with his imperious victory in The Seppelt Wines All-Star Mile.
“It has been great to welcome crowds back in their thousands to Flemington and a combination of top-class racing, a festive atmosphere and terrific weather has seen Headquarters at its finest. We are excited for the year ahead, including our flagship Melbourne Cup Carnival in the spring.”
Racing will return to Flemington in April for ANZAC Day Race Day on Monday 25 April.
Image caption: Zaaki and Jamie Kah (Credit: Racing Photos)