Flemington set for a Super Saturday featuring the world’s top sprint race

7 March 2024 Written by VRC

It's set to be a Super Saturday to remember with one of the world’s fastest horses Imperatriz trying to repeat the deeds of Black Caviar in Saturday’s $1.5 million Yulong Newmarket Handicap at Flemington.

Black Caviar set a modern weight record for a mare when carrying 58kg victory in 2011 and Imperatriz will have to do the same if she is to win her tenth Group 1 race and her first Yulong Newmarket Handicap.

The 2023 Yulong Newmarket Handicap was ranked as the world’s highest rated sprint race and this year’s edition is set to uphold that status with a quality group of gallopers lining up to tackle the Flemington straight. Group 1 winners Magic Time (53kg) and Bella Nipotina (55.5kg) will be hoping to cause an upset with relatively light weights under handicap conditions.

The winning jockey of this year’s race will be awarded the inaugural Dean Holland Trophy, a special trophy created in memory of the late Dean Holland who won last year's race aboard In Secret.

The race day also marks the start of an important partnership extension with breeding and thoroughbred operation Yulong, who are guaranteed as the naming rights sponsor of the Newmarket Handicap for the next three years.

Other feature races on the day include the $300,000 Group 2 TAB Kewney Stakes (1600m) for three-year-old fillies and the $300,000 Group 2 MSS Security Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) for two-year-olds.

On course to catch all the racing action will be three-time premiership player with the Hawthorn Football Club and keen racehorse owner Jack Gunston ahead of the AFL season’s start.

The Flemington Fareground will be in full-swing for the race day with a host of free family-friendly activities under the shady elms including roller skating, carnival rides and karaoke lounge. There is a special party hour in the Fareground from 2:30pm to 3:30pm with $15 cocktails and the Furphy Beer Garden will also be the perfect place to relax between races.

VRC Chief Executive Steve Rosich said the club was looking forward to a Super Saturday, the third race day in the Flemington Racing Spectacular.

“This weekend’s race day is shaping up to be a Super Saturday in every sense of the word. The 151st running of the historic Yulong Newmarket Handicap is set to be a sensational race with Imperatriz trying to become the first mare since the champion Black Caviar to win the race carrying 58kg,” Mr Rosich said.

‘We’re pleased to be welcoming Yulong as naming rights partner for the race, which was last year ranked as the world’s highest rated sprint race, and we look forward to witnessing another exhilarating edition with them.

“The race day is a favourite for many because of its quality racing, but there’s just as much happening off course and with general admission tickets only $30 for adults, free entry for kids under 12 and free access to the Flemington Fareground, it’s shaping up to be a Super Saturday for all.”

In light of the Bureau of Meteorology’s latest forecast that the temperature will reach 39 degrees at Flemington late on Saturday afternoon, the eight-race meeting will now commence at 10.45am and conclude at 2.30pm.

The revised race times are as follows:

Race 1: 10.45am

Race 2: 11.15am

Race 3: 11.45am

Race 4: 12.15pm

Race 5: 12.45pm (Group 1 Yulong Newmarket Handicap)

Race 6: 1.20pm

Race 7: 1.55pm

Race 8: 2.30pm

The decision to start early has been made in the interests of horse and participant welfare, with RV’s Racing in Hot Weather Policy to be enacted.

The arrival time on-course has been reduced to 60 minutes for horses engaged in Races 1 and 2 and 90 minutes for horses in Races 3 to 8 (down from two and three hours respectively). Horses will also spend less time parading before their races.

In addition, misting fans will spray cold water on horses in safe spaces from the float car park and through the pre-parade ring, while extra attendees will be in place around the Mounting Yard to assist with hosing and sponging horses post-race.

Dress regulations for the members enclosure have also been revised for the day to cater for the weather conditions, with a jacket and tie optional in members’ areas. This decision has been made with the comfort of members and their guests in mind this Saturday and is not a permanent change in the dress code policy.

Despite the revised times, VRC Members and ticket holders can still enjoy a full day at Flemington, with the venue set to open at the earlier time of 10.15am. Public areas will be open until after the last race at 2.30pm, members’ areas until 3.30pm and the Club Stand Roof Garden, Terrace and Chairman’s Club until 4.45pm.

The public transport schedule is being revised and thus racegoers are asked to check the PTV website for the most up-to-date information.

General Admission tickets are $30 with children under 12 are admitted free to Flemington.

The 2024 Flemington Racing Spectacular concludes with TAB Australian Cup Day on Saturday 30 March.

Gates open at 10:15am with Race 1 at 10:45pm and the last race at 2:30pm.