The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) will proudly acknowledge ANZAC heroes and service personnel on ANZAC Day Race Day this Sunday 25 April with a traditional ceremony, commemorative displays, Two Up and an eight-race card featuring the 164th VRC St Leger.
Profits from the day will go to the ANZAC Day Proceeds Fund with this year marking 60 years of racing conducted on ANZAC Day at Flemington Racecourse. The VRC will mark the milestone in conjunction with the centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
Sunday will also mark the relaxing of hard zones at Flemington Racecourse, with racegoers able to enjoy a wider range of movement across course. Members will be able to pass from the members’ enclosure into general admission areas under the new guidelines.
The annual ANZAC Day Mounting Yard Ceremony will be held at 2:55pm featuring exhibition horses and handlers in cavalry attire inspired by the charge of the 4th Australian Light Horse at Beersheba.
To commemorate the RAAF’s 100 years of service, a replica Sopwith Camel aircraft will be on display on the Front Lawn.
The Sopwith Camel is one of the best known aircrafts of the Great War era and will be displayed alongside a World War I propeller and vintage RAAF uniforms.
Racegoers can try their luck at the traditional wartime game of Two Up on the west end of the Front Lawn while children can experience games of yesteryear including tug of war and hopscotch plus write letters to current servicemen and women at the arts and crafts table.
The eight-race card, where jockeys of the number one horse will wear special ANZAC colours, is headlined by the time-honoured Listed VRC St Leger (2800m), a race older than the Lexus Melbourne Cup which will see Kennedy Oaks runner-up Salto Angel come up against young stayer Through Irish Eyes.
The other feature race on the day is the Listed ANZAC Day Stakes (1400m) which has been won in recent years by high-class gallopers Flying Award (2020), Chaillot (2019) and Merchant Navy (2017).
Race names on the day will honour the ANZAC spirit and RAAF centenary with former RAAF servicemen Flight Lieutenant William Newton, Flight Lieutenant Peter Armytage and Wing Commander Ian Bayles each recognised on the day.
Highlighting the William Newton VC Handicap is Australia’s most promising stayer Persan.
VRC Chief Executive Officer Steve Rosich said the club was proud to host the 60th ANZAC Day Race Day at Flemington.
“ANZAC Day Race Day allows us to reflect on the role that Flemington and the VRC played during wartime, whether it be as a training ground or through its fundraising efforts for patriotic funds,” Mr Rosich said.
“This year is extra special as we mark 60 years of racing on ANZAC Day at Flemington. Racing played its part as a welcome distraction for many during hard times including wartime, with races such as the Melbourne Cup and VRC St Leger run continuously despite challenging circumstances.
“We welcome members and racegoers to Flemington for gate opening at 12pmto join us as we pay respect to our servicemen and women and also acknowledge the horses that contributed to Australia’s war effort.”
Pin sellers from the Watsonia RSL will be located at key entry points as well as roving through venues raising funds for the ANZAC Appeal.
For each Racing Rewards Complimentary Guest Pass redeemed on the day, the VRC will also donate $5 to the ANZAC Appeal.
Delicious ANZAC biscuits made by the Country Women’s Association will be free with every tea and coffee purchase made on course.
The ANZAC Day AFL clash between Collingwood and Essendon will also be shown on screens around the course for racegoers to enjoy.
Past and current servicemen and women will gain free entry into Flemington Racecourse on ANZAC Day Race Day upon showing identification. Ticket prices start at $15 for adults, $12 for concession/student, $8 for pensioners and children under 16 are free.
Living Legends Almandin and Fawkner will parade in the Mounting Yard at 2:25pm.
Gates open at 12pm with Race 1 at 1pm.