Gonnadancealot after winning the Byerley Handicap at Flemington in July

Classics Spring Into Shape at Flemington

Flemington’s Group 1 staying classics, the $2 million Penfolds Victoria Derby and the $1 million Kennedy Oaks, will gather momentum on Wednesday with the running of Spring Classics Preview Race Day.

Spring Classics Preview Race Day is the only midweek meeting held at Flemington Racecourse outside of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. 

The joint feature race for fillies, the Kennedy Oaks Trial (1800m), offers ballot exemption for the Kennedy Oaks and has attracted an intriguing field including Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien’s well-bred filly Blackcomb, who is raced in similar ownership to O’Brien’s 2019 Kennedy Oaks winner Miami Bound. Gonnadancealot (Robbie Griffiths & Mathew de Kock) has already earned a guaranteed place in the Kennedy Oaks thanks to her victory in the Byerley Handicap in July and is an exciting prospect for her part-owner, English trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam who is the daughter of Lady Susan Renouf and Andrew Peacock.

The Penfolds Victoria Derby Trial (1800m) for colts and geldings offers a guaranteed place in this year’s Derby and will see Danny O’Brien saddle a trio of Derby hopefuls with Venting, Shabalala and Grinzinger King, the full brother to 2018 Victoria Derby winner Extra Brut. New Zealand visitor Rhinoceros is best known for his unusual name but could prove he’s a headline horse for more than one reason if he can win his way into the Penfolds Victoria Derby on Wednesday.

The Darley Spring Preview (900m) is the first race for two-year-olds for the new season and will see a precocious field of youngsters take to the track for the first time. Flemington trainers are strongly represented with the well-bred Contemporary (trained by James Cummings), and Nominator (Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott) of particular interest

This is the fifth year that Spring Classics Preview Race Day will be held at Flemington Racecourse with the race day introduced in 2017 to provide a stepping-stone to spring features for horses in the Kennedy Oaks and Penfolds Victoria Derby.

VRC Members can be part of the action with the VRC Members Facebook Trivia, the VRC Member Stakes and the VRC Punters Club all free to enter. Each competition has great prizes on offer, with the VRC Members Facebook Trivia offering Myer vouchers while the VRC Member Stakes, where 10 lucky members are allocated a horse in each race, could win a $200 food and beverage credit.

Members in the VRC Punters Club led by the TAB’s Nick Quinn have their chance to turn a $2000 pool into greater riches, with the winnings divided at the end of the day and issued as a cash-on-card credit for use at Flemington Racecourse. 

A Flemington race day is not complete without Peter Rowland’s famous chicken sandwiches which are available to purchase here. The first 100 orders to receive a complimentary bottle of G.H.Mumm Grand Cordon NV 750ml, courtesy of the VRC. 

VRC Executive General Manager Racing Leigh Jordon said the rare midweek meeting would provide a valuable opportunity for progressive staying three-year-olds to step up their spring campaigns.

“The Penfolds Victoria Derby Trial and Kennedy Oaks Trial have both provided good insights to the three-year-old classics during Cup Week, with Gonnadancealot and Rhinoceros of particular interest on Wednesday,” Mr Jordon said.

“It is also great to be able to provide the most forward two-year-olds their first taste of racing up the iconic Flemington straight in the Darley Spring Preview, the first race of the season for two-year-olds in Australia.”

The eight-race program begins at 1:00pm with the last race at 5:05pm and racing fans can tune in from home via RSN and Racing.com.