Group 1 gallopers headline season opener at Flemington
The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) will begin the 2021-22 season with VRC Season Premiere Race Day this Saturday 7 August.
The Race Day coincides with Jockey Celebration Day which recognises the contribution that both former and current jockeys have made to racing.
VRC Season Premiere Race Day will be run behind closed doors with the highlight of the nine-race card the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) which includes Caulfield Guineas runner up Aysar.
The Aurie’s Star boasts an honour roll that includes Group 1-winning sprinters Voodoo Lad (2018) and Hey Doc (2017) but it will be used by trainer Denis Pagan to launch the Lexus Melbourne Cup campaign of Group 1 Victoria Derby winner Johnny Get Angry.
In total, six of the 174 nominations for this year's Lexus Melbourne Cup will be running at Flemington on Saturday, with Johnny Get Angry joined by The Good Fight, Schabau, South Pacific, Killourney and Durston as the Road to the Cup gathers momentum.
VRC members will have extra reason to tune into the race day via RSN and Racing.com with the VRC Member Stakes offering the chance to earn a stake in each race. A cash-on-card credit at Flemington is up for grabs for the lucky members whose allocated horse wins on Saturday.
VRC Chief Executive Officer Steve Rosich said VRC Season Premiere Race Day was the start of an exciting season at racing Headquarters.
“We’re pleased to kick off the new season at Flemington with some high-class horses and a strong nine-race card that also serves as an important reminder of the contribution of jockeys across Australia,” Mr Rosich said.
“This year marks the 18th year of National Jockey Celebration Day and the VRC is proud to support the great work of Victorian Jockeys Associations and the National Jockeys Trust by hosting a race day to honour riders across the country.
“VRC Season Premiere Race Day is our last winter race day of 2021 and we look forward to the return of crowds to Flemington for Sofitel Girls’ Day Out on Saturday 11 September.
“We also encourage VRC members to register via Flemington.com.au for their chance to win in the hotly-contested VRC Member Stakes, with a $200 credit to be won and enjoyed next time they attend Flemington Racecourse.”
Race 1 on the program is the 2021 Country Achiever John Ledger (2530m), named in recognition of valued racing participant and trainer John Ledger.
Ledger has been based at Wangaratta Racecourse for more than 20 years and the VRC, in conjunction with the Australian Trainers’ Association, has recognised Ledger for his important contribution to the country racing industry.
The important day also commemorates jockeys who have lost their lives in Australian racing incidents.
A short ceremony will also take place in the Mounting Yard at 12:50pm on Saturday involving all jockeys riding on the day. Father Kevin Dillon will lead the ceremony with a blessing of the track and a minute’s silence. The racing colours of the National Jockeys Trust will be worn by the top weight rider in Race 3, the Jockeys Celebration Day Sprint (1100m).
A digital race book will be available at Flemington.com.au later in the week. This Saturday is a spectator free race day and VRC members, owners and all racing fans are encouraged to follow the race day via the VRC’s social media platforms using our official hashtag #Flemington.