|RACE NAME||STATUS||PRIZE MONEY||DISTANCE||RACE TYPE||RACE CODE|
|CARBINE CLUB STAKES||GR3||$200,000||1600m||3YO SW+PEN||MR1|
|MUMM WAKEFUL STAKES||GR2||$300,000||2000m||3YO SW+PEN||MR2|
|SENSIS STAKES||GR3||$200,000||1100m||4YO&UP SW+PEN||MR3|
|LEXUS STAKES||GR3||$300,000||2500m||QUALITY HANDICAP||MR4|
|COOLMORE STUD STAKES||GR1||$500,000||1200m||3YO SW||MR5|
|AAMI VICTORIA DERBY||GR1||$1,500,000||2500m||3YO SW||MR7|
|CANTALA STAKES||GR1||$1,000,000||1600m||QUALITY HANDICAP||MR8|
|SALINGER STAKES||GR2||$300,000||1200m||QUALITY HANDICAP||MR9|
Arguably the greatest race-day on the Australian racing calendar Derby Day is a day for the racing purist, with all races on the card held at Group level, including the four Group 1’s of the Cantala Stakes, Coolmore Stud Stakes, Myer Classic and the big one, the Victoria Derby. UBET is offering money back up to $50 on all races if your runner finishes 2nd or 3rd.
The Carbine Club Stakes kicks off the day, a set weights and penalties race for 3 year olds. Hey Doc is the top-weight and starts from the widest gate, but has still had his price firm with UBET after opening at $4.80. Mount Panorama is the big mover, with his quote slashed from $31 in to $17.
The Wakeful Stakes is race 2 and the traditional VRC Oaks lead-up has seen a move for the Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas trained Pretty Punk. The 8 length maiden winner has the services of Caulfield Cup winning jockey Nicholas Hall. Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne lines up on a horse she also trains, Queen Of Zealand and is sure to be closely watched.
Race 3 sees the 1100m scamper of the Sensis Stakes and the Hayes/Dabernig trained Sheidel has met with solid support. Opening at $6 the mare has firmed in to $4.40 and will have the services of the ‘magic man’ Hong Kong based jockey Joao Moreira.
The Lexus Stakes is the last chance for the stayers looking to get into the Melbourne Cup as if they can take the win they gain ballot exemption for the Cup. Oceanographer and Tom Melbourne are two horses that fit that category and they will both be looking to force their way into the 3200m Cup on Tuesday.
First of the Group 1 races on the programme is perhaps the most mouth-watering of the day. Extreme Choice v Astern v Star Turn. Or will the undefeated Russian Revolution continue on his winning ways. It shapes as a real blockbuster, with UBET reporting money for most runners. The biggest bets have come for Astern, while Extreme Choice is attracting a large volume of the market.
The Myer Classic for the fillies and mares is Race 6 and the 3YO Whispering Brook will be looking to avenge her 3rd in the Thousand Guineas. With just 49kg to carry under the weight-for-age scale, she has been well backed from $7.50 into a $6 quote. The Ron Quinton trained Dixie Blossoms has also met with some support.
The VRC Derby is the main event and Sacred Elixir has been well supported ever since the all-in market was opened. Once the final field was declared, the money continued to flow with the Tony Pike gelding in to $2.80. The Peter Jolly trained Morvada has been well supported and there was one bet of $7,000 at $15 for the gelding.
The Cantala Stakes was formerly the Emirates Stakes run on the last day of the carnival, but has featured in a calendar change and now forms part of the Derby day programme. Palentino has had a mixed preparation, but the Flemington 1600m is his specialty, as he is a two-time winner in Group 1 events at the track and distance. The United States was impressive in the Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate day and remains a steady favourite.
The last race on VRC Derby Day is the Linlithgow Stakes at Group 2 level, a race formerly known as the Salinger Stakes. The Les Bridge trained Southern Legend has been well supported with some strong money at $4.80 which saw his price cut to $4.40. Keen Array has a good record at 1200m and has won his past 2 starts over the 6 furlong trip, while the Cox Plate winning Waller/Bowman combination line up with Counterattack, the 4YO attracting some support.
Victoria Derby Day embodies a world of glamour and sophistication around the Flemington course and all black type racing on the track. Derby Day is definitely a day for the racing purists. There are four races at Group 1 level, with two of those – the Mackinnon Stakes and Lexus Stakes providing opportunity for last minute entry into the Melbourne Cup four days later. The feature event is the Group 1 Victoria Derby boasting in excess of $1.5m in prize money. In fact, the VRC has a massive stakes pool of almost $5m for the nine Group races conducted on Derby Day. With quality fields and competitive racing, this is one of the biggest betting days on the Australian turf calendar. At Flemington, the roses are in full bloom and all vantage points taken. It is a must attend event for Melbourne’s social set and often boasts special guests and high profile celebrities. Traditionally, this is the day for unbridled elegance, with black and white the prominent colours for ladies, while the men also suit up in their ‘Sunday best’. The official flower for Victoria Derby Day is the cornflower.
With five Group 2s and Group 3s complimenting the four Group 1s, Victoria Derby Day is one of the highest as far as betting turnover is concerned. Derby Day 2013 produced a record Saturday turnover for TattsBet with $14m invested on the Flemington meeting alone in Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. Across all meetings in all four jurisdictions, UBET’s turnover was a record $32.5m, second only to the Melbourne Cup which was $68m (with $44m invested on the Cup itself). But it’s a day when the characters of the turf unleash and open their wallets for ‘whopping wagers’. One that has become urban legend involved former high profile businessman and media tycoon, Kerry Packer. It’s believed Packer inspired a massive plunge on his horse Mahogany, taking millions from bookies in Sydney and Melbourne after it strolled home in the 1993 VRC Derby. In fact, this is just one of a number of stings Mr Packer was famous for in the 1980s and 1990s. One of Packer’s biggest plunges came off in the 1998 Melbourne Cup when Jezabeel won. The mare had been sensationally backed from 14-1 into 6-1 just prior to the start and most of the big bets belonged to Packer.