Nominations close for Cup Week Classics
Entries have closed for the Melbourne Cup Carnival’s three-year-old classic races, the Group 1 Penfolds Victoria Derby (2500m) and the Group 1 Kennedy Oaks (2500m).
The time-honoured $2 million Penfolds Victoria Derby has attracted 63 nominations while the $1 million Kennedy Oaks, restricted to fillies, has attracted 48 nominations.
Last year’s Victoria Derby produced one of sport’s most memorable moments when former AFL premiership-winning coach turned racehorse trainer Denis Pagan won with Johnny Get Angry. Pagan will try and emulate last year’s fairy tale finish with Turn It Up Tommy in the 2021 Penfolds Victoria Derby.
Joining Turn It Up Tommy on the list of nominations is Group 2 winner Forgot You, Penfolds Victoria Derby Trial winner Gundec and Chris Waller’s Group 3 winner Head of State.
Headlining the nominations for the Kennedy Oaks is Anthony and Sam Freedman’s Group 2 TAB Edward Manifold Stakes winner Elusive Express and her stablemate Zouzarella.
Also featured on the list is Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s Group 1 winner Never Been Kissed and Barb Raider, the filly capable of delivering trainer Jerome Hunter his first Group 1 win.
Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien is in an envious position with four fillies nominated for the Kennedy Oaks, a race he won in 2019 with Miami Bound.
El Patroness is one of O’Brien’s leading contenders following her win against colts and geldings in the Kirkland Gold Super Impose Stakes (1800m) at Flemington on TAB Turnbull Stakes Day.
O’Brien’s other Kennedy Oaks nominees Kapalua Sunset and Blackcomb carry the same colours as Miami Bound but race for an ownership group featuring Hawthorn Football Club superstars Jack Gunston and Jaryd Roughhead among others.
Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Executive General Manger Racing Leigh Jordon said nominations were strong and anticipation was building for the two three-year-old features during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“One of the highlights of Cup Week every year is the Penfolds Victoria Derby,” Mr Jordon said.
“It’s a race older than the Lexus Melbourne Cup that has been won by some champions of the turf including Phar Lap, Tulloch, Mahogany and Efficient and we look forward to seeing who will add their name to the honour roll this year.
“The Kennedy Oaks stamps the champion three-year-old staying filly in Australia and it’s going to be an exciting month as we count down to the million-dollar race.
“Nominations for the Kennedy Oaks highlight good depth in our three-year-old staying ranks with Kapalua Sunset one to watch for Danny O’Brien.”
The 2021 Melbourne Cup Carnival begins with Penfolds Victoria Derby Day on Saturday 30 October, followed by Lexus Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday 2 November, Kennedy Oaks Day on Thursday 4 November and Mackinnon Stakes Day on Saturday 6 November.
Revel in spirit of Cup Week with the 2021 Melbourne Cup Carnival broadcast live and free on Network 10 and streamed on 10 Play.
The full list of nominations for the Penfolds Victoria Derby can be found here.
The full list of nominations for the Kennedy Oaks can be found here.
Image: 2020 Victoria Derby winner Johnny Get Angry (Credit: Racing Photos)