The original Flemingtion Cup trophy (Credit: National Gallery of Victoria)
The race day is headlined by the new Flemington Cup 1849 (2800m), a race that represents an intriguing part of racing history.
The first Flemington Cup was run on January 15, 1849 and arranged by James Dunbar, licensee of the Flemington Inn. Run in the paddocks adjacent to the Flemington Inn and nearby the site now known as Flemington Racecourse the Flemington Cup was won by Belzoni in a field of six.
VRC Chief Executive Officer Neil Wilson said the Flemington Cup 1849 serves as a reminder of the cultural and historical significance of racing at Flemington.
“The Flemington Cup 1849 recognizes a race first run before the Melbourne Cup,” Mr Wilson said.
“The two-handled cup that was presented to the winner in 1849 is the earliest feature racing trophy to be made in Melbourne. It is a rare example of colonial silver work and has been in the care of the National Gallery of Victoria since 1984.
“The VRC decided to acknowledge this rich piece of racing history and fittingly it comes in the same year that we celebrate 180 years of racing at Flemington.”
Mr Wilson also commented on the end of an incredible 2019 – 2020 season at racing headquarters.
“This season at Flemington has been remarkable, from a very wet Melbourne Cup Carnival where the shining star was Australia’s own Vow and Declare in the Lexus Melbourne Cup, to the introduction of new concepts such as twilight meetings and Rapid Racing and now the COVID-19 pandemic which has highlighted the resilience of racing and its people.”
Saturday will also present an exciting opportunity for young horses and riders to showcase their talents at Flemington. The Rising Stars Final is restricted to Victorian apprentices who will battle it out for the title of rising star, while budding stayers will compete in the Byerley Handicap, the only 1800m race for two-year-olds held at racing headquarters.
The Byerley Handicap offers ballot exemption to the winner in either the AAMI Victoria Derby or Kennedy Oaks later in the year and AFL legend Denis Pagan will take on leading stables with Johnny Get Angry, the only horse to race from Pagan’s small team.
The VRC will continue to use the world-first Flemington wind tracker which was introduced with great success on Flemington Finals Day.
Saturday’s program will also feature four of nine races named in honour of the Flemington Cup 1849 celebration plus a tribute to retiring trainer and 1985 Melbourne Cup winning jockey Pat Hyland.
A digital race book will be available at Flemington.com.au with content that tells the story of the Flemington Cup 1849. This Saturday is a spectator free race day and 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.