The Victorian Racing Club (VRC) has unveiled the world’s largest starting gates at their famous Flemington track, home to the highly anticipated 2010 Melbourne Cup on Tuesday November 2.
The epic barrier stall will accommodate a 25-horse field and have been designed specifically to improve two of the country’s most revered Group 1 races, the Newmarket Handicap and the Melbourne Cup.
Previously the course relied on a two stall system to counter for the huge 24-horse final field of the Emirates Melbourne Cup, but the new starting gates means the entire field of runners can now be evenly spaced.
Other benefits of the new stall design includes the large 135 degree opening at the rear instead of the standard 90 degrees, the funnel-like shape allowing for easier entry into the stalls.
John Fargher, managing director of Steriline Racing who designed and built the Flemington starting stalls said the rear gate shape is “Especially useful for trialling two-year-olds who are unaccustomed to the barriers.”
The new starting gates were used for the first time on Sunday for Flemington’s Melbourne Cup Carnival Preview Day in the opening race, the Maribyrnong Trial Stakes (1000m).
Now all that is left to be decided is which horses will make up the 24-horse final field for the 150th Melbourne Cup this November.
Currently Shocking is the hot favourite to win the $6 million Melbourne Cup, the reigning champion paying $9 at Sportsbet following his eye-catching second to Zipping in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) on Sunday.
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