Dice Roll winning the Brian Beattie Handicap at Flemington on 19 June 2021 (Image: Racing Photos)
Winter racing at Headquarters reaches its crescendo on Flemington Finals Day this Saturday 3 July, with the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) set to welcome back crowds for the first time since May to potentially witness jockey Jamie Kah make history at Flemington.
Kah is on the cusp of becoming the first jockey to win 100 metropolitan races or more in one season in Victoria. Kah’s book of rides includes Grand Promenade, favourite in the Lexus Banjo Paterson Series Final, and Forbidden City for trainer Peter Moody in the Kennedy Taj Rossi Series Final.
Flemington Finals Day is the culmination of nine different series that cater to rising stars and talented off-season gallopers across a range of age groups and distances. Prizemoney has been elevated this year with $160,000 on offer for each of the three Listed races and The Mahogany Challenge, with the remaining five races all offering prizemoney of $150,000.
The feature Listed Seppelt Wines VRC-CRV Winter Championship Final (1600m) has attracted a quality field of open milers including Flemington-trained Dice Roll (Nick Ryan), who has been a revelation since recommencing his racing career in Australia, winning all three of his starts in this country. He will have to contend with Sydney raider Kirwan’s Lane (John O’Shea) and the ultra-consistent Odeon (Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra) who has only missed a placing once in his last six starts, including two second placings and two third placings in heats of the VRC-CRV Winter Championship Series.
The Listed Furphy All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) will see a fascinating field of sprinters scorch up the Flemington straight including multiple Listed winner Isaurian (James Cummings), last month’s Listed Hilton Nicholas Straight Six winner at Flemington Romancer (Grahame Begg), and the first two home in the final heat of the All Victorian Sprint Series at Flemington, The Astrologist (Leon & Troy Corstens) and Hi Stranger (Shane Fliedner).
Trainer Denis Pagan will saddle up Turn It Up Tommy in the Listed Kennedy Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m); Pagan’s stable star Johnny Get Angry was third in this race last year en route to victory in the Victoria Derby. Turn It Up Tommy will have to contend with last start Sydney winner Royalzel (Gary Portelli), as well as Taj Rossi Series Heat winners Cardigan Queen (Ciaron Maher & David Eustace), Celestial Fury (Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young) and Aktolgali (Robert Hickmott).
The Mahogany Challenge Final will see a good field of progressive stayers compete, including the impressive winner of the last heat of the Mahogany Challenge Series at Flemington Unique Artist (Phillip Stokes), Token Spirit (Robbie Griffiths & Mathew de Kock) who won the penultimate heat at Sandown, and Reuber (Cindy Alderson), who was runner-up in three of the series heats.
Flemington Finals Day has historically seen some key spring players unearthed, especially in the staying ranks. Last year, Persan won the G.H. Mumm Mahogany Challenge Final before progressing to run fifth in the Lexus Melbourne Cup and Cherry Tortoni won the Kennedy Taj Rossi Series Final before winning the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase and running fourth in the Victoria Derby.
Flemington Finals Day Program
||Sofitel Next Generation Sprinters Series Final (1200m)
||TAB Silver Bowl Series Final (1600m)
||Lexus Banjo Paterson Series Final (2600m)
||Kennedy Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m)
||MSS Security Rivette Series Final (1400m)
||Seppelt Wines VRC-CRV Winter Championship Series Final (1600m)
||G.H. Mumm Mahogany Challenge Final (2500m)
||Furphy All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m)
||TCL Leilani Series Final (1400m)