Spectacular season draws to a close at Flemington

15 July 2021 Written by VRC

The extraordinary 2020-2021 racing season will conclude on Saturday with Season Finale Race Day featuring the Flemington Cup 1849.

The extraordinary 2020-2021 racing season will conclude on Saturday with Season Finale Race Day featuring the Flemington Cup 1849.

The highlight of the nine-race card, the Flemington Cup 1849 was introduced as a permanent race last year and represents an intriguing part of racing history. It was first run on January 15 1849 in the paddocks adjacent to the Flemington Inn, near the site now known as Flemington Racecourse.

Last year’s edition was won by Exemplar trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, who are looking to go back-to-back with South Pacific to be ridden by record-breaking jockey Jamie Kah. South Pacific will have to contend with the progressive stayer Royal Crown (Mick Kent), who ran second to Grand Promenade in the Banjo Paterson Series Final last start. Also fancied in this race is Sydney raider Sweet Thomas (Matthew Smith), winner of the Stayers Cup at Rosehill last start over 3200m, and Saunter Boy (Ciaron Maher and David Eustace), who was second to South Pacific at Flemington two starts back.

Saturday will also present an exciting opportunity for young horses and riders to showcase their talents at Flemington.

The RMBL Investments Rising Stars Final is restricted to Victorian apprentices who compete over a season-long series. The title this year will go to Teo Nugent, who is already clear on points, but bragging rights will be on the line for the 12 apprentices booked to ride in the race. Teo’s ride in the Final is second favourite Galgani (Nikki Burke), who was second in the Leilani Series Final last start behind current favourite Lindhout (Enver Jusofovic), to be ridden by Carleen Heffel. Will Price’s ride Aidensfield (Ben & JD Hayes) and Thomas Stockdale’s mount Chassis (John Price) are also popular.

The Byerley Handicap, the only 1800m race for two-year-olds held at Flemington, offers ballot exemption to the winner in either the Penfolds Victoria Derby or Kennedy Oaks later in the year; last year’s edition saw subsequent Victoria Derby winner Johnny Get Angry run second. Current favourite in this race on Saturday is Sydney-based filly Honeycreeper (James Cummings) with last start winner Aktolgali one to watch for trainer Robert Hickmott.

Jamie Kah will this Saturday be presented with the award for being the season’s leading jockey at Flemington. Jamie is a runaway victor with 23 wins so far including a memorable Group 1 aboard Nature Strip in the Black Caviar Lightning at Headquarters earlier this year, and she has a further eight rides booked on Season Finale Race Day.

The VRC will also award the leading trainer at Flemington this season, with Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes in the lead on 12 wins but with the partnership now dissolved, Chris Waller only needs one more win to draw. Training partnerships Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra and Ciaron Maher and David Eustace sit on 10 wins each.