Nature Strip

Nature Strip winning the 2019 Darley Sprint Classic (Image; Racing Photos)

Nominations close for Cup Week features

Entries have closed for three of the Melbourne Cup Carnival’s major Group 1 races, with 89 nominations taken for the AAMI Victoria Derby, 68 for the Kennedy Oaks and 69 for the Darley Sprint Classic. 

The time-honoured $2 million AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) for three-year-olds celebrates 165 years and headlining the nominations for this year is Cherry Tortoni. 

Byerley Handicap winner Alcyone has already gained ballot exemption into the AAMI Victoria Derby and joins Godolphin stablemate Choir among the nominations. Peter Moody’s Group 1-placed colt Glenfiddich and Danny O’Brien’s duo Flying Award and Young Werther also feature among the stellar entries. 

The AAMI Victoria Derby Trial will be run on Spring Classics Preview Day at Flemington Racecourse tomorrow, offering gallopers another chance to secure a place in the Derby on Saturday 31 October. Fourteen runners in tomorrow’s race are nominated in the AAMI Victoria Derby as they look to follow in Warning’s footsteps and win the trial on the way to the main prize. 

The $1 million Kennedy Oaks (2500m) will start to take shape after the Kennedy Oaks Trial tomorrow where Flemington-trained Oaks nominees Salto Angel and Yatton will compete for a guaranteed place in the fillies’ classic. 

Chris Waller’s Hungry Heart, a daughter of champion Frankel, David Payne’s talented filly Montefilia, Flemington winner Café Rizu, and Leon and Troy Corstens’ Succeed Indeed are other notable names in the Kennedy Oaks entries. 

Australia’s premier Group 1 sprint is the $1.5 million Darley Sprint Classic (1200m) where last year’s dominant winner Nature Strip again features in the nominations. 

Flemington straight-six Group 1 winners Gytrash, Santa Ana Lane and Bivouac have nominated for the Darley Sprint Classic, as well as boom three-year-olds Anders and Rothfire. 

VRC Executive General Manger Racing Leigh Jordon said nominations were strong and anticipation was building for the three Group 1 races. 

“One of the highlights of the Melbourne Cup Carnival is the Darley Sprint Classic. It’s the spring grand final for some of Australia’s best sprinters and has attracted horses from across the country,” Mr Jordon said.

“Nominations for the AAMI Victoria Derby and Kennedy Oaks highlight good depth in our three-year-old staying ranks.

“The AAMI Victoria Derby Trial and Kennedy Oaks Trial have both provided a guide to the three-year-old classics over Cup Week, with Choir and Salto Angel of particular interest tomorrow.”

The 2020 Melbourne Cup Carnival begins with AAMI Victoria Derby Day on Saturday 31 October 2020 followed by Lexus Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday 3 November, Kennedy Oaks Day on Thursday 5 November and Seppelt Wines Stakes Day on Saturday 7 November. 

Network 10 is the exclusive broadcast partner of the 2020 Melbourne Cup Carnival with all races live and free on 10 and streamed on 10 Play.

The full list of nominations for the AAMI Victoria Derby can be found here.

The full list of nominations for the Kennedy Oaks can be found here.

The full list of nominations for the Darley Sprint Classic can be found here