Flemington spring programming changes revealed

23 May 2024 Written by VRC

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) is pleased to announce key spring programming changes for the upcoming 2024-2025 racing season, cementing Penfolds Victoria Derby Day as one of the highest quality and prestigious race days on the Australian calendar. The program adjustments will see the Group 3 TAB Vanity (1400m) for three-year-old fillies be run on the first day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival alongside three time-honoured Group 1 races and an undercard all at Group level, the only race meeting in Australia to hold such status.

The $300,000 Group 3 Lexus Archer Stakes (2500m) will now be run on Sofitel Makybe Diva Stakes Day on Saturday 14 September 2024. The Lexus Archer Stakes features ballot exempt status for the Lexus Melbourne Cup and has been moved from its previous place on Penfolds Victoria Derby Day.

The change ensures the Lexus Archer Stakes continued relevance to the Lexus Melbourne Cup and optimises the program for stayers trying to win a golden ticket into Australia’s most iconic race.

Other key programming changes for the 2024 Melbourne Cup Carnival include the Listed Desirable (1400m) Stakes to autumn from Lexus Melbourne Cup Day and The Listed Amanda Elliott (1400m) will move to Lexus Melbourne Cup Day from TAB Champions Stakes Day, providing a greater lead time to the Group 3 Blue Sapphire on Thousand Guineas Day.

As announced earlier this year, the $500,000 Restricted Listed Inglis Banner will be run at Flemington for the first time on TAB Champions Stakes Day, which will see the VRC move the Group 3 Darley Ottawa Stakes (1000m) to the autumn racing program. The Listed Chester Manifold will move from New Years Day to Oaks Day and increase in distance from 1400m to 1600m.

VRC Executive General Manager Racing Leigh Jordon said the changes were designed to continue to innovate the racing program at Flemington.

“Last year's Melbourne Cup Carnival saw super competitive and entertaining racing across all four days and we’re continually looking at how we can improve the quality of spring racing at Flemington in consultation with key stakeholders including Racing Victoria, trainers and owners,” Mr Jordon said.

“The move of the Group 3 TAB Vanity onto Penfolds Victoria Derby Day ensures the first day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival continues to be a favourite for racing purists with every race at group level.”

“It’s been well over a decade since the Lexus Archer Stakes provided the winner of the Lexus Melbourne Cup and we feel it will have more relevance earlier on in the spring program.

“The move allows connections to plan their journey earlier towards the first Tuesday in November with more certainty.”

Racing Victoria Executive General Manager Racing Matt Welsh said the changes will elevate racing across the state.

“We support the move of the Archer Stakes to mid-September. The timing should enhance the depth and quality of the race, providing local owners and trainers a terrific opportunity to secure a coveted Lexus Melbourne Cup berth,” Mr Welsh said.

“Additionally, it will strengthen races such as the Geelong, Moonee Valley, and Bendigo Cups, which will become even more important for those looking to boost their credentials for a Melbourne Cup start. The resulting changes to the programming of other black type races at Flemington will ensure an appropriate pattern is maintained and the quality of racing enhanced.”

2024 VRC spring changes

  • Group 3 TAB Vanity on Penfolds Victoria Derby Day, Saturday 2 November.
  • Group 3 Lexus Archer Stakes on Sofitel Makybe Diva Stakes Day, Saturday 14 September.
  • Listed Amanda Elliott on Lexus Melbourne Cup Day, Tuesday 5 November.
  • Inglis Banner on TAB Champions Stakes Day, Saturday 9 November.
  • Listed Chester Manifold on Oaks Day, Thursday 7 November.
  • Group 3 Darley Ottawa Stakes, autumn 2025.
  • Listed Desirable Stakes, autumn 2025.