Craig Williams

Champion jockey Craig Williams at Flemington (Image: Racing Photos)

Country racing comes to town this Saturday at Flemington

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) is pleased to recognise country and regional racing participants this Saturday at Flemington with the running of Country Race Day. 

An annual celebration of grassroots racing, Country Race Day represents the strong relationship between country race clubs and the VRC as well as the contribution of country-based horses, jockeys and trainers at Flemington. 

All nine races at Flemington this Saturday will feature country-trained horses including Brilliant Concept for Warrnambool trainer Matthew Williams in the David Bourke Provincial Plate (1600m), Matt Cumani’s Ballarat-based gelding Sasko in the George Watson Handicap and Corowa galloper Front Page for Geoff Duryea in the Listed A.R. Creswick Stakes. 

All three horses come to Flemington in winning form with Sasko joining Honey Esprit (Race 3), Persan (Race 4), Chapada (Race 6), Vassilator (Race 8) and Prezado (Race 9) as horses to have won their most recent start at Flemington. 

VRC Chief Executive Officer Neil Wilson said Country Race Day may look different this year but the theme of the day remains the same. 

“Every year the VRC welcomes members of Victorian country and provincial race clubs to experience Flemington’s world-class facilities on Country Race Day and while we are disappointed not to be able to do that this year, we can still reflect on the important role that country clubs and participants play in the racing industry,” Mr Wilson said. 

“Many stars of our sport complete their preparations at country and regional facilities before shining on the big stage at Flemington and I’m pleased to see a large number of country-trained runners entered at racing Headquarters this Saturday.

“This year will also mark the fourth running of the Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series, with eight heats to be run across the state from October to November strictly for country-trained horses. 

“The heats enable connections of the first and second placegetters a chance to experience the magic of Cup Week and compete in the rich Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Final on Kennedy Oaks Day.” 

The feature race on Country Race Day is the Listed A.R. Creswick Stakes (1200m) which has produced Group 1 winners Gytrash and Nature Strip in the last two years. Another highlight of the day is the David Bourke Provincial Plate (1600m), named in honour of former VRC Chairman David Bourke CBE who also served as Chairman of the Victorian Country Racing Council for nine years until 1982. 

A digital race book will be available at Flemington.com.au with content that tells the story of Country Race Day. VRC Members, owners and all racing fans are encouraged to follow the race day via the VRC’s social media platforms and share their at home experiences using our official hashtag #Flemington on social media.