Flemington’s famous Mounting Yard makeover

11 December 2021

For centuries, the Mounting Yard at Headquarters has been the focal point of every race day staged by the Victoria Racing Club.

It is the place where pre-race anticipation builds, where winners are welcomed back post-race and where crowds flock between races hoping to spot their favourite horse, jockey or trainer.

However, while the Mounting Yard has been expanded numerous times in recent years, the infrastructure has not always matched that progress.

“During my time at the VRC, the Mounting Yard has been extended three times and I know that it was extended before that too,” Mick Ryan, the VRC’s Senior Manager Grounds and Gardens said.

“Where the winner returns to scale used to be public lawn and so it used to be much lower than the mounting yard today, which is elevated around it.

“That meant that the drainage has been inconsistent in that particular part, with pipes located three metres below the surface. In order to fix that, we had to rip up the entire mounting yard so that we could locate those pipes and replace them.

“Now, drainage will be consistent across the entire mounting yard and, in particular, drainage will be much better in winter.”

One of Flemington’s most famous fixtures is its many roses, which burst to life at the height of spring.

Those around the Mounting Yard have also undergone an upgrade since the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

“Some of the roses were up to 18 years old and they weren’t symmetrical,” Ryan said.

“It’s been a long-term plan to make the replacement after the Melbourne Cup Carnival this year and we actually ordered some of the roses 18 months ago. They were grown on a farm in South Australia before being brought to Flemington.

“Among the varieties are Gold Bunny climbing roses, Bordeaux roses and Flamingo roses, ensuring that Flemington’s roses remain one of its most vibrant attractions.”