VRC Tribute Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) will pay tribute to the dedication and service of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during the Melbourne Cup Carnival with two races to be staged in her honour throughout Australia’s greatest racing festival.
Queen Elizabeth II was known for her love of horses and of racing throughout her life and she maintained her passion during her seven-decade reign. She was a three-time visitor to Flemington, making a visit to Headquarters in 1954, 1963 and 1977, while she even had a Lexus Melbourne Cup runner in 1997 when hulking grey Arabian Story finished sixth.
Following her passing in early September, the VRC began investigating the most fitting way to honour her life. It was determined that dedicating two races to her during Australian racing’s biggest week would be an appropriate tribute on behalf of racing fans.
On Tuesday, Lexus Melbourne Cup Day, the race following the feature is the In Honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (1400m), a competitive handicap with a full field assembled.
Among the horses set to line up is the Ben and JD Hayes-trained Biometric, who won the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot in front of Her Majesty in 2019; the Hayes family trained for the Queen, with Ben and JD’s father David preparing her only Australian winner, Bold Sniper.
Meanwhile, the inaugural TAB Champions Stakes Day next Saturday will see the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) run as the Queen's Cup, with that race name being used for the final time.
Each season, the Queen's Cup is run at a different racecourse in a different state. Traditionally, it has taken over from a similar race on the programme, such as the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
The race was established as the King's Cup at Flemington in 1927, with a trophy provided by King George V and presented by his son, the Duke of York, who would eventually sit on the throne as King George VI.
Since 1952, the year of Queen Elizabeth II's accession, it has been run as the Queen's Cup and, by royal request, it has moved from state to state each year.
The last Queen's Cup to be run in Her Majesty’s lifetime, which stood in for the N E Manion Cup at Rosehill, saw Her Majesty's horse Chalk Stream - trained by Chris Waller and ridden by Kerrin McEvoy - finish third.
From next year, wherever the race will be run, it will once again be known as the King's Cup.
Meanwhile, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes – which has been run in the spring since 1979 and was initially established in 1954 to recognise the monarch’s first visit to Australia - will return to VRC Champions Stakes Day in honour of racing's most revered fan.
The trophy will be presented by His Excellency The Hon. David Hurley, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, on behalf of His Majesty King Charles III.