VRC to pay tribute to country participants on VRC Country Race Day

21 June 2024 Written by VRC

The Victoria Racing Club will host its annual VRC Country Race Day this Saturday 22 June 2024 with special acknowledgments and tributes to country racing participants, including the announcement of this year’s Country Achiever Award.

The Country Achiever Award recognises a country-based trainer who has made a significant contribution to the racing industry and is presented in conjunction with the Australian Trainers Association (ATA) and Country Racing Victoria (CRV). This year’s Country Achiever Award will be awarded to Bendigo trainer Shane Fliedner, who will attend the race day and be recognised with a race named in his honour.

A fixture in the industry for nearly 50 years, Mr Fliedner spent 22 years in the saddle as a jockey, amassing 12 regional riding premierships while based at Mildura. As a trainer he has won 335 races during his 26-year career.  A strong supporter of grass roots racing, Mr Fliedner has devoted many hours to the industry more broadly including being a founding committee member of the Bendigo Trainers’ Association and a long-serving committee member of the Victorian Branch of the ATA.

The nine-race card will be filled with many highlights including dual AFL premiership winning coach and Flemington trainer Denis Pagan looking for back-to-back wins at Headquarters with his horse Georgie Get Mad. Mr Pagan recorded his second ever Flemington winner with the gelding at the recent VRC Community Race Day, having previously won the Group 1 Penfolds Victoria Derby in 2020 with Johnny Get Angry.

The VRC will be partnering with community-based charity Boys to the Bush for the race day. Founded in Wagga Wagga, Boys to the Bush is a registered not-for-profit charity that focuses on preventative and early intervention strategies for disengaged young men.

It was created in 2017 by a group of teachers who had noticed the positive impact they had by focusing on a group of troubled boys and showing them basic country life skills and has now improved the lives of more than 10,000 of the community’s most vulnerable youth.

There will be a race dedicated to Boys to the Bush and opportunities for racegoers to donate via Ticketmaster and QR codes across the course, while the VRC will also donate $1 from the sale of every serving of hot chips on the race day as part of the new ‘Chips for Charity’ initiative.

Victoria Racing Club Chief Executive Steve Rosich said the club is proud to welcome Boys to the Bush to Flemington as part of VRC Country Race Day.

“VRC Country Race Day is dedicated to celebrating regional and rural racing participants and the important contribution they make to our industry,” Mr Rosich said.

“We also look forward to welcoming Boys to the Bush, a fantastic community organisation committed to improving the prospects of disengaged youth in rural and regional areas.”

Boys to the Bush co-founder and CEO Adam Demamiel said that they were pleased to be part of VRC Country Race Day at Flemington.

“Our organisation is all about helping kids in country areas, who we know are twice as likely as metro kids to enter out-of-home care, and whose educational and health outcomes lag significantly behind their metropolitan counterparts.

“Since 2017 Boys to the Bush has impacted over 10,000 lives through involvement in its range of programs, and we hope to reach 130,000 by 2030.

“Racing as an industry is very connected to country life, as is our charity, and we are delighted to be celebrating that at VRC Country Race Day.”

Living Legends Beat The Clock and Maluckyday will be on-course for the day, with racegoers able to visit the legends in the horse stalls and watch them parade in the Mounting Yard after races 2 and 4.

The VRC Punters Club will be open in Saintly Place and The Atrium for everyone to enjoy for just $10 per ticket. A guest tipster will be on-site to provide exclusive insights and selections for the racing program.

Gates open at 11:00am with race 1 at 11:50am. General Admission tickets are $20 per person with children under 12 admitted free. For more ticketing information, visit

Racing returns to Flemington on Saturday 6 July for Flemington Finals Race Day.