With Australia’s most famous and anticipated race, the $5.65million Emirates Melbourne Cup, less than a week away, the opening day of the Flemington Carnival, Derby Day, lights up the track this Saturday.
Racing Victoria released the final fields for Saturday’s meeting, the feature race of which is the $1.5million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby. Eleven eager runners are set to contest the 2500 metre event, with the Mark Kavanagh-trained Shamoline Warrior the odds-on favourite at $2.80. Other entries heading the line-up include Patinack’s Onemorenomore and Gathering, Mike Moroney’s Monaco Consul and Danny O’Brien-trained Rockferry.
The Victoria Derby barrier draw will take at noon today.
The second big head-line event of the day is the Group 1 $750 000 Mackinnon Stakes boasting a field of 13 impressive runners. O’Brien has paid up for Melbourne Cup hopeful Vigor, as expected. Although not ideal, O’Brien may have to run the five-year-old on Saturday to assure a start in next Tuesday’s $5.5million Melbourne Cup. Vigor is currently 28th in order of entry for the race. Other key acceptors include defending Cup champion Viewed and O’Brien’s guaranteed Cup runner Master O’Reilly.
The Group 1 $500 000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) is another highlight on the day and this year is sure to be a captivating race with a field of 15 starters. With the announcement of the barrier draw, there has been a few intriguing upsets for the jockeys, horses and the punters. The fine filly Irish Lights, to be ridden by Dwayne Dunn, will start from barrier one. While the other outside position, gate 15, was drawn to the unbeaten King Pulse, to be ridden by Mark Zahra. Other notable entries include Wanted (br. 14), Demerit (br. 10) and Love Conquers All (br. 4).
The Group 1 $500 000 Myer Classic (1600m) this year will see 14 of the premier mares take to the field. Headliners include Hot Danish (br.5), Neroli (br.3), Zarita (br.11) and Typhoon Tracy, who drew poorly with barrier 13.
The Group 3 $250 000 Lexus Stakes will be keenly watched as many of the 16 runners are vying for victory to secure a spot in the 24 horse Melbourne Cup field.