May 20, 2020: Victoria Racing Club Limited: Third Lexus Melbourne Cup plan for Cross Counter 30 May 2020


Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby has confirmed that 2018 Lexus Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter will run in the race for the third time in November, if COVID-19 protocols permit.

As part of a Racing Post stable tour column, Appleby said the Lexus Melbourne Cup was firmly on the cards for last year's topweight, who finished eighth behind Vow And Declare in the race.

Cross Counter has started just once since the Lexus Melbourne Cup when fifth over 3000 metres at Riyadh but has returned to England to be prepared for another Cup assault following the cancellation of the Gold Cup in Dubai.

"He was fresh and well when he went to Riyadh for the Saudi Turf Handicap in February, and he did a bit more than we wanted - he was a bit gassy," Appleby wrote.

"He was fifth, beaten seven lengths. The Gold Cup in Dubai was cancelled and he's arrived back in Britain in good order.

"An accomplished international campaigner, Cross Counter won the Melbourne Cup in 2018 and was beaten a length-and-a-half in eighth last year. If it is logistically possible, the Cup will be his end-of-year target once again."

A decision on possible international participation in the Spring Carnival is still to be made, with the hope COVID-19 restrictions could be eased to accommodate European runners.

Appleby also hinted his impressive comeback horse Barney Roy could also come to Australia for a possible Cox Plate tilt if the trip was possible.

"He showed his class, winning twice at Meydan at the Dubai World Cup Carnival - his turn of foot can be devastating," Appleby wrote.

"He showed that he's back to his best, and next month's Prince of Wales's Stakes at Ascot is his next assignment.

"He will also be on our international team later in the year."








Victoria Racing Club Limited operates as a horse racing club in Australia. The company was founded in 1864 and is based in Flemington, Australia.


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May 21: Victoria Racing Club Limited: Living Legends to be celebrated at Flemington

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) will acknowledge retired equine champions on Living Legends Race Day presented by Lexus this Saturday at Flemington.

Living Legends is home to many former stars of the turf and a wonderful setting where the public can enjoy interacting with the sport's heroes.

Saturday's program will feature seven races named in honour of Living Legends who have tasted success at the highest level at Flemington and captured the hearts of racegoers.

Melbourne Cup winners and Living Legends residents Rogan Josh, Brew, Efficient and Almandin will be acknowledged via race names as will dual Flemington Group 1 winners Apache Cat and Redkirk Warrior and a Flemington favourite in Tom Melbourne, who is the latest resident to join the Living Legends stable.

VRC Chief Executive Officer Neil Wilson said it was important that racing fans reflect on the feats of these remarkable equine athletes.

"The VRC is proud to dedicate this race day to Living Legends, to appreciate the horses who have left their mark on racing's history and its fans," Mr. Wilson said.

"In normal circumstances we would invite racegoers to Flemington to connect with the Living Legends and recognise the incredible work of the organisation, but this year we are delighted to be able to acknowledge the former champions via the VRC website and digital racebook, VRC social media channels and with the help of our media partners Channel 7, and RSN."

Mr. Wilson also thanked Dr. Andrew Clarke from Living Legends for his dedication to retired racehorses.

Source: Company Website

May 16: Victoria Racing Club Limited: Oceanex wins Andrew Ramsden

Oceanex became the first horse to gain entry into the 2020 Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) when causing a minor upset in winning Saturday's $320,000 Listed The Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) at Flemington.

The heavily backed King of Leogrance ($1.80 favourite) was afforded every opportunity by Damien Oliver but was outstayed inside the final 200 metres from Oceanex ($6.50), displaying fresher legs with an economical run from barrier one.

The four-year-old daughter of Ocean Park settled behind the leader Too Close The Sun before peeling off heels at the 300-metre mark and edging past King of Leogrance under the clocktower to win by three-quarters of a length.

Super Girl ($26) finished third with Skelm ($31) and Dark Alley ($14) next best - that trio of runners all with handicap ratings in the 70s.

Terang and Warrnambool Cup winner Too Close The Sun ($7) folded up to finish second last in the 11-horse field.

Progressive mare OCEANEX backed up her Port Adelaide Cup win and heads to the first Tuesday in November 🏆@MickPriceRacing @WaikatoStud - 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) May 16, 2020 "I know she drew barrier one and got the gun ride with a clean pair of hands from (Mark) Zahra, but still, she beat the right horse in the race and she won convincingly going away," said winning trainer Mick Price, who created a training partnership with Mick Kent Jnr last year.

Price credited advice from visiting British jockey Tom Marquand as the reason Oceanex, previously kept to 2000 metres, extending in distance.

"Marquand got on her in Sydney and said 'you want to try this over a mile-and-a-half (2400 metres)'," Price said.

"So her first run over 2500 metres in Adelaide (when first in the Port Adelaide Cup) was strong and today was fantastic."

Trainer Danny O'Brien was making no excuses for King of Leogrance in defeat saying the last start Adelaide Cup winner ran 'super'.

"He just found one better," O'Brien said.

Should Oceanex contest the Lexus Melbourne Cup, she would become Price's third starter in Australia's famous race.


May 22: Victoria Racing Club Limited: Peter Moody returns to Flemington

Peter Moody has saddled more than one thousand horses in the tie-up stalls at Flemington and this Saturday he returns with one runner after four years away from the game.

The champion horseman has trained 162 Flemington winners, including 14 at Group 1 level. On six occasions it was Black Caviar who he was waiting for at the winner's stall.

While Moody has been a regular at our most prestigious racecourse in recent times with media or ownership commitments, it's now the prospect of arriving with a gear bag in one hand and a lead rope in the other that has him excited.

"I suppose it doesn't make much of a difference in terms of where we go but Flemington really is a special place," Moody said.

"It's going to be great to get back there again and to be back on the side of the fence that I belong.

"I am enjoying it (training again), my body is not but my mind is really enjoying the challenge and generally handling the horses.

"It's something in the last 15 years of my training career I didn't really get the chance to do because I was too busy."

Moody's sole runner is the progressive stayer Shepard in the first race on the card on Living Legends Race Day, the Rogan Josh Stayers Trophy over 2500m.

May 22: Victoria Racing Club Limited: Alfa Oro to continue journey at Flemington

Talented four-year-old Alfa Oro heads to Flemington on Saturday where connections will be hoping to reap full rewards for their patience when the Matt Laurie-trained galloper contests the Almandin Handicap (1100m).

The son of Bachelor Duke has shown well-above-average ability in his five career starts, fashioning an impressive record of three wins and two seconds.

A last-start domination of his rivals in track-record time on the Pakenham Synthetic, where Alfa Oro crossed the line under a stranglehold, showed the class of the gelding, who shaped as a potential Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) candidate before a life-threatening trackwork injury intervened.

"It was just a routine piece of trackwork," Laurie said.

"He suffered a spiral fracture in a front leg and had some major surgery with a steel plate and 12 screws inserted.

"We were fortunate he was able to be saved."

Source: Company Website

May 21: Victoria Racing Club Limited: Flemington, Sandown track updates

Melbourne's weather is certain to serve up wet tracks at Flemington on Saturday and Sandown on Sunday but there are hopes that both can improve out of the Heavy range by race day.

The Flemington track as of early Thursday afternoon was rated a Heavy 9 after it received 35.2 millimetres of rain over the past 48 hours, while the Sandown track, which is to host both the Australian Hurdle and Steeplechase on Sunday, is a Heavy 9 after further rain on Thursday.

Flemington track manager Liam O'Keefe said that while a few more millimetres of rain could be anticipated over the next few days, he said it won't be of the same strength as recent days.

"It looks like the bulk of the rain has gone through with maybe just a few light showers for the rest of the day before a relatively fine day on Friday," O'Keeffe said.

"We're at a Heavy 9 but we could improve a few ratings points from here on in."

Sandown track manager Tim Bailey said the track was likely to improve its rating if it could enjoy a couple of fair days leading in.

"If we get zero (rain) then we get back to something like a (Soft) 6 but another five millimetres or more and we'll be racing on a Heavy track," Bailey said.

Bailey warned that a section of the jumps track up the hill at Sandown is wetter than the course proper as it does not enjoy the same draining.

May 20: Victoria Racing Club Limited: Malibu to bring up $1m in Style

He's not the best horse that Neville Parnham has trained but the renowned Perth horseman will proudly tip his hat to Malibu Style if the hardy sprinter can run in the first four at Flemington on Saturday.

If Malibu Style can finish no further back than fourth, where he would earn $5050, he will take his career earnings to beyond $1 million - not a bad result for a horse Parnham picked out at the Classic Yearling Sale in Melbourne and purchased for $40,000 in 2013.

Since then Malibu Style, who is still part-owned by Parnham, has raced 65 times for 11 wins and 21 placings and stakes of $996,925.

"He's been very good to us and hopefully he'll crack that million dollars on the weekend as he deserves to," Parnham said on Wednesday.

"These sort of genuine, honest horses are hard to come by and he's done it over a number of seasons now."

Source: Company Website

May 19: Victoria Racing Club Limited: Rodd ready for Melbourne return

Michael Rodd's return to competitive riding in Melbourne on Saturday will see him reunite with a former star of Singapore racing and trainer Mark Kavanagh at his home track.

Rider agent Phillip Roost confirmed Rodd will contest at least five of the nine races at Flemington on Saturday, including aboard Debt Agent in the Open Handicap over 1600 metres - the second heat of the Winter Championship series.

Rodd rode Debt Agent in Singapore on 12 occasions for 11 wins, including five Group 1 successes, which saw him crowned Singapore Horse of the Year under his previous name Debt Collector.

Debt Agent is yet to place from six Australian starts for trainer Jim Conlan but was only beaten a length when seventh in last year's G2 Crystal Mile (1600m) at The Valley.

The 38-year-old jockey will also rekindle his past when he rides the Kavanagh-trained Montenegro Man, who resumes in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1100m).

Rodd was stable rider for Kavanagh through the late 2000s and the pair memorably combined to win three feature races on Cox Plate Day in 2008 with Whobegotyou (Moonee Valley Vase), Sea Battle (Crystal Mile) and Maldivian (Cox Plate).

Montenegro Man last raced in February, with his four-start summer campaign boasting a win over subsequent G1 placegetter Bam's On Fire over 1200m at Caulfield on January 4.

May 19: Victoria Racing Club Limited: Freeman feeling fine for Flemington

Trainer Robert Hickmott will be represented by a German import returning from injury at Flemington for the second-consecutive Saturday on Saturday.

Django Freeman will make his long-awaited Australian debut in an open handicap over 1600 metres, just seven days after stablemate Schabau raced for the first time in 14 months.

Runner-up in the Group 1 Deutsches Derby (2400m) in Hamburg at his most recent start last July, Django Freeman arrived in Melbourne last August and was being set for a first-up tilt at the G1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on the first weekend in October. But the Campanologist entire instead suffered a trackwork injury on the eve of the TAB Turnbull Stakes Day, sustaining a hyperextension issue.

"He put his foot in a hole and his knee went backwards," Hickmott told RSN927.

The subsequent recovery from bone chip surgery means Django Freeman will still have his first Australian start at Flemington, albeit in the second heat of the Winter Championship series, allocated 58.5kg behind equal 63kg topweights So Si Bon and Pacodali.

"The big, flat Flemington track will suit him down to the ground," Hickmott said.

"It doesn't look an overly strong race and he comes in well at the handicap, so we look forward to seeing him race.

May 18: Victoria Racing Club Limited: Freeman feeling fine for Flemington

Trainer Robert Hickmott will be represented by a German import returning from injury at Flemington for the second-consecutive Saturday on Saturday.

Django Freeman will make his long-awaited Australian debut in an open handicap over 1600 metres, just seven days after stablemate Schabau raced for the first time in 14 months.

Runner-up in the Group 1 Deutsches Derby (2400m) in Hamburg at his most recent start last July, Django Freeman arrived in Melbourne last August and was being set for a first-up tilt at the G1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on the first weekend in October. But the Campanologist entire instead suffered a trackwork injury on the eve of the TAB Turnbull Stakes Day, sustaining a hyperextension issue.

"He put his foot in a hole and his knee went backwards," Hickmott told RSN927.

The subsequent recovery from bone chip surgery means Django Freeman will still have his first Australian start at Flemington, albeit in the second heat of the Winter Championship series, allocated 58.5kg behind equal 63kg topweights So Si Bon and Pacodali.

"The big, flat Flemington track will suit him down to the ground," Hickmott said.

"It doesn't look an overly strong race and he comes in well at the handicap, so we look forward to seeing him race.

May 16: Victoria Racing Club Limited: Hayes picks G1 target for Sikorsky

Ben Hayes set his sights on winning 'the real Kennedy Mile' with Sikorsky after the four-year-old won a benchmark 78 handicap over 1600 metres in the same name at Flemington on Saturday.

Hayes, who prepares Sikorsky in partnership with David Hayes and Tom Dabernig, believes the son of Pierro could be back at Flemington on Derby Day for the Group 1 Kennedy Mile (1600m), also known as the Cantala Stakes.

"We really like this horse, we like him before he had his injury," Hayes said, referencing his near fore tendon strain sustained after finishing fourth in the 2018 Victoria Derby (2500m).

"Today proved to us that he's come back really well. I'm sure Ollie (Damien Oliver, winning jockey) will be very happy with what he felt under him today." Oliver also shares Hayes' enthusiasm for future feature races over the Flemington mile, albeit nominating the $128,000 Listed Winter Championship Final (1600m) on July 4 as a suitable short-term assignment.

"I was just saying to Ben (Hayes) that I reckon a race like the Winter Championship would be a good option for him," Oliver said.

"He's on the way up, he's low in the (handicap) ratings and seems to like it here.

"He's a horse that runs 2000 metres but I think I like him at the mile on a big track too," Oliver added.

May 16: Victoria Racing Club Limited: Trebles assist premiership bids

Trebles to Damien Oliver and Lindsay Park Racing during Saturday's Andrew Ramsden Race Day at Flemington enhanced their respective claims for yet another Melbourne premiership.

Oliver's three winners came aboard Librate ($5.50), Iconoclasm ($5.50) and Sikorsky ($2.90 favourite), the latter for the training combination of David Hayes, Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig.

The training trio also successfully prepared Divine Caprice ($16) and Super Titus ($16) during the nine-race Flemington card. All three Lindsay Park winners have spent time at their rural Euroa property through the autumn period, supporting their long established Flemington base.

"He's been racing well this prep, just getting too far back and flashing home," Ben Hayes said of Super Titus after his victory in the $108,000 Lexus Trophy (2000m).

"The big thing with him was getting him to settle and since we've put the hood on he's really relaxed. So it was really good to see him jump well, get closer, present and finish off."

Super Titus and Sikorsky are likely to race at Caulfield in two weeks for their next start, Super Titus in another $108,000 open handicap (2000m) while Sikorsky contests a benchmark 84 handicap (1400m).

Divine Caprice could return to Flemington for a $100,000 two-year-old fillies handicap over 1100 metres on June 6.

This week has been kind to Lindsay Park Racing, preparing five individual Victorian two-year-old winners over the past seven days.

May 15: Victoria Racing Club Limited: Richards believes in Better Kick

Flemington trainer Steve Richards initially missed his first preference at the 2019 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale but doubling back realised a chestnut colt on his shortlist remained available.

A frantic set of calls took place, all the while Richards was thinking - like most buyers do - 'Take home the one you want'.

The son of Scissor Kick from the Musk Creek Farm draft was purchased privately for $50,000 and, reflecting on the sale, Richards said he selected him for a simple reason.

"He was just a nice horse," he said.

"It's one of those things you either like them or you don't (but) there was something about him, just a gut feeling.

"It was lucky that he got passed in and we were able to get him."

The chestnut colt with four white feet, named Better Kick, will stand out in the mounting yard at Flemington on Saturday ahead of Race 2, the AMMI Next Generation Sprint (1000m).

To be ridden by Damien Oliver and on the back of two recent jumpouts, Better Kick has come up as a favourite ahead of his debut in a market that is cramped with another four horses.

Richards isn't concerned about prices, his thoughts lie in educating the young horse with the November foal date who has shown promise from the day he entered the stable.

May 15: Victoria Racing Club Limited: Harnett's Man his best ever

Nick Harnett suspects Final Man could be the best horse he's ever trained and the emerging three-year-old gets a chance to confirm it when he tackles Saturday's TAB Trophy (1400m) at Flemington.

In only his second racing campaign, the imposing son of Reward For Effort has won four of his five starts and progressed from maiden grade to three-year-old metropolitan company.

His two-length victory on a Heavy track at Caulfield last start was arguably the most impressive performance of his career and Harnett has no reason to doubt his chances of extending his winning streak on Saturday.

"He just keeps improving," Harnett said.

"I've just ticked him over since his last win, his work has been good and there's no reason why he can't go close again.

"I always knew he could gallop but it probably has surprised me how far he's come this preparation.

"I've had some nice horses over the years - Chiavari and Mr. Gold Flyer both won a few races in town - but he could be the best of them."

And while he's given thought to spelling Final Man and bringing him back for a spring campaign, Harnett is finding is hard to ignore Victoria's lucrative winter program for three-year-olds.

The trainer is no stranger to Flemington success during winter, having won two Grand National Steeplechases and a Grand National Hurdle during a stellar career in the saddle.

May 14: Victoria Racing Club Limited: Might and Power Laid to Rest at Living Legends

One month to the day since his passing, Might And Power has been honoured with a final visit to Caulfield, Flemington and Moonee Valley before being laid to rest in a moving ceremony at the expanded memorial garden at Living Legends.

Inducted into the Australian Racing Hall Of Fame in 2002, Might And Power - also known as Bob - captured the hearts of racing fans winning the rare treble of the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup (1997) and the Cox Plate a year later. Famous for his front-running style and demolition of his opponents, Might And Power was crowned World Champion Stayer in 1997 and Australian Horse of the Year in 1998 & 1999.

Might And Power (aka Bob) passed away from colic in the early hours of 12 April 2020 after nearly 13 years as the "Lord Mayor" of Living Legends, with countless appearances at racedays, city parades, schools and hospitals.

CEO and Veterinary Director, Dr. Andrew Clarke, said it was important to give the 26-year-old a fitting farewell and recognise the role he played in so many people's lives.

"Might And Power was one of our first three horses here at Living Legends, and he's been with us on our whole journey so it's especially sad to say goodbye but we remember what a positive impact he had on people's lives well after his racing career was over."

"Bob was a once-in-a-lifetime horse and we're incredibly grateful to the Melbourne Racing Club, Victoria Racing Club and the Moonee Valley Racing Club for embracing this opportunity to celebrate his career," Dr. Clarke said.

The Bob's Rainbow tribute is well underway at Living Legends, with the public invited to make a donation and add their chosen colour to the rainbow bridge next to Bob's memorial in his honour.

May 14: Victoria Racing Club Limited: Lexus Melbourne Cup Golden Ticket up for grabs in The Andrew Ramsden

A quality field of stayers will vie for direct entry into the 2020 Lexus Melbourne Cup via The Andrew Ramsden (2800m) at Flemington this Saturday.

Adelaide Cup winner King of Leogrance headlines the field for Flemington trainer Danny O'Brien and is a firm favourite with the TAB. Challengers to King of Leogrance include Warrnambool Cup winner Too Close to the Sun and Group-winning mares Oceanex and Sopressa who provided the quinella in the recent Port Adelaide Cup.

Trainer Paul Preusker will try and go one better after being narrowly defeated in The Andrew Ramsden last year with Surprise Baby. Preusker is represented by Dark Alley, a son of 2011 Melbourne Cup placegetter Lucas Cranach.

Steel Prince and Surprise Baby produced a thrilling finish to quinella The Andrew Ramsden in 2019 and both performed commendably in the Lexus Melbourne Cup, finishing ninth and fifth respectively.

Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Chief Executive Officer Neil Wilson said he was looking forward to another running of the revamped The Andrew Ramsden which begins the road to the Lexus Melbourne Cup for one lucky runner.

"The excitement that erupted from connections of Steel Price in the Flemington Mounting Yard last year emphasised how much it means to secure a place in the Lexus Melbourne Cup," Mr. Wilson said.

May 14: Victoria Racing Club Limited: Hickmott cautious on Schabau's return

Trainer Rob Hickmott would love German import Schabau to return a winner in Saturday's Lexus Trophy (2000m) but there is another race sponsored by the luxury car company in November at Flemington that is the ultimate prize.

Hickmott has built a strong reputation for preparing stayers, in his own right and as head trainer for Lloyd Williams at Macedon Lodge, where he put the polish on Melbourne Cup winners Green Moon and Almandin.

The focus for Lexus Melbourne Cup places will be centered on the Listed Andrew Ramsden (2800m) on Saturday, with the winner granted automatic entry into November's famous two-mile race, however, Schabau's appearance on the undercard will garner plenty of attention.

Unbeaten in three runs in Australia, culminating in the Listed Roy Higgins Quality (2600m), his progress to the 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup was halted by a tendon injury, but after an extended layoff, the five-year-old is right to resume.

"He had an eight per cent lesion in his tendon after the Roy Higgins win and I know it's only a minor tendon but there's no such thing as a good tendon injury," Hickmott told RSN927.

"Obviously being out at Lloyd's (Williams) we used to rehab them the old-fashioned way.

May 13: Victoria Racing Club Limited : Super chance for Cup spot

Bendigo trainer Josh Julius is bracing for another six months of troubled sleep if his best horse can go to Melbourne on Saturday and win.

The birth of a daughter, Frankie Rose, last October shaved a few more hours sleep off the young trainer's already tight schedule and he expects to lose even more if his potentially aptly-named Super Girl can fly and win a Lexus Melbourne Cup berth via Saturday's Andrew Ramsden Stakes at Flemington.

"Potentially lining up on that first Tuesday in November with a homebred trained out of Bendigo would be pretty cool," Julius said.

"We're just rapt to be fit enough and well enough to be part of the day and so whatever happens happens.

"I have a six-month-old at home and I thought I wasn't getting any sleep let alone knowing that you had that (Lexus Melbourne Cup) spot."

Julius is careful not to get ahead of himself, however, with the five-year-old mate who has won him three races at 2000 metres and beyond. He knows his Lexus Melbourne Cup hope is a slim one, but he is convinced it's a worthwhile fixation.

"Obviously we've got a horse rated 70 and we're not in well at the weights. But how often do you get a restricted chance at a guaranteed spot in a Melbourne Cup like this?" he asked.

Julius, who boasts just 26 career winners, said he and owner/breeder Jim Middlemiss opted to aim high this autumn after Super Girl finished her spring campaign on a winning note over 2400m at Bendigo.

"Myself and Jim, her owner, at the end of last prep we looked at the autumn and threw a few crazy ideas around," Julius said.

"We saw the Ramsden there in May and thought we might be able to target that race.

"Being a five-year-old, its being like a three-year-old in a derby year, it's her last crack at it."

An inside draw meant Super Girl found the worst part of the chopped-up track at Warrnambool in the Cup, but she still managed to secure fourth placing, which has earned her the right to run for the Ramsden.

"When he brought her out of the paddock in January I said that if she is going to be competitive in a Ramsden she had to run well in a Warrnambool Cup a week-and-a-half earlier," he said.

"That's as simple as it was and sure enough it worked out and now we're four days out from our plan of being there.

"I don't think the 2800 metres will be an issue.

May 12: Victoria Racing Club Limited: Runaway jumps at Cup chance

It is incredible what a glimmer of hope can do to the minds of racehorse owners.

Take the owners of 2018 VRC St Leger winner Runaway, who later that year finished 19th in the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

Focused solely on a jumps career for Runaway in 2020 after a spate of moderate flat runs in 2019, the owners have suddenly found themselves back in familiar territory with dreams of the Lexus Melbourne Cup again invading their sleep on Monday night.

Only a matter of hours earlier, Rosemont Stud's principal Anthony Mithen had been told by co-trainer Gai Waterhouse that this winter's Australian Hurdle hopeful was now going to run in Saturday's Andrew Ramsden Stakes at Flemington - where the winner gains an assured Lexus Melbourne Cup start - to keep up his fitness levels after a gallant second last week in the Galleywood Hurdle at Warrnambool.

The plan had been to instead run in a jumps school this week. But circumstances demanded a change to the plan and ultimately, the dream.

"We might have been going to the Cranbourne jumps trials this week instead of the Ramsden if we were allowed but apparently the jumps trials coming up are only for horses going for their jumps ticket," Mithen explained on Tuesday.

April 24: Three men, two of them prisoners of war, who became legends of the VRC

A chance encounter in a German POW camp late in the Second World War would provide an extraordinary back story to the boardroom history of the Victoria Racing Club.

It would be the history of three brave young men who would later become leaders of Australia's most famous racing club.

Those men were Ian Bayles, Rupert Steele and Peter Armytage.

Bayles' daughter, the presiding VRC chairman Amanda Elliott, would reflect with a proud smile over half a century later about the bar chats the three men must have had many years after their return from war.

"I'm sure many missions were flown around the bar," she said.

Perhaps the most remarkable story is one where Bayles, who has a race named in his honour at Flemington's ANZAC Day meeting tomorrow, was not a central figure.

Armytage had been a gunner in RAAF Lancaster bombing raids launched into France and Germany from England.

Bayles had been enlisted 18 months into a law degree at Oxford and launched Spitfire raids across the Channel.

Steele had been despatched to the battlegrounds of France and Germany and had been captured by the Germans and was holed up in Stalag Luft 111 prisoner of war camp.

Armytage's Lancaster had been shot down.

April 24: Victoria Racing Club Limited : Could Dwyer cause St Leger boilover?

Henry Dwyer reckons progressive stayer Repetiteur is over the odds, but whether she is good enough to end the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott dominance of the VRC St Leger (2800m) is a different story.

Repetiteur is rated a $151 chance with BetEasy for Saturday's $160,000 Listed race, while Waterhouse and Bott have won four of the past seven St Legers.

This year they saddle up $6 second favourite Sacramento, who has drawn barrier four for Ben Melham.

Repetiteur, who will jump from barrier 14 with Jake Noonan on board, turned her form around at Bendigo last start, finishing second over 2400m after being beaten by a combined margin of 21 lengths at her first two starts this preparation.

When asked if Repetiteur could spoil the party this year, Dwyer said: "With our 150-1 chance, Repetiteur? Probably not.

"But these staying fillies don't get too many options to race for black type and I honestly think she's well over the odds.

"Her first two runs this preparation she needed the runs and she wasn't really that switched on to it all. We took her last time to the races thinking she would improve a lot with the winkers going on and out to 2400m and she did.

"I think the 2800m is even more suitable for her.

April 23: The VRC to honour veterans past and present on ANZAC Day Race Day

The traditional ANZAC Day Race Day meeting proudly held by the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) at Flemington for more than 60 years, will go ahead on Saturday 25th April without spectators due to the COVID-19 crisis.

VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott said it was important to honour this national day for service men and women past and present, despite the challenges the world faces at the moment.

"Racing at Flemington has continued for more than 180 years, through the depths of the Great Depression and both World Wars. We are privileged and honoured as always to be racing on ANZAC Day," Mrs Elliott said.

"It will not be the same without our valued VRC Members and racing fans, but I encourage everyone to engage with the day off course via our dedicated broadcast partners in and RSN, and via our social media channels."

A wreath with be placed on Flemington's famous Mounting Yard arch, race caller Matt Hill will lead a minute's silence and the Last Post will be played for all essential racing participants on course and those watching at home.

"We understand many Melburnians would normally be attending ANZAC Day services on this significant day, so we felt it appropriate to conduct a tribute, as best we can, using staff already required on course," Mrs Elliott said.

"The commemoration will respect all the necessary protocols, and we hope will go some way to fill the gap for the many who love to attend an ANZAC Day Service."

Race names will pay tribute to front line health workers and servicemen linked to the club including Flight Lieutenant William Newton VC, Flight Lieutenant Peter Armytage and Mrs Elliott's father and former VRC Vice Chairman Wing Commander Ian Bayles DFC.

Mr. Bayles learnt to fly with the Oxford University Air Squadron while studying law.


Neil Wilson, CEO

Amanda Elliott, Chairman

Glenn Carmody, Director

Elisa Robinson, Director

Katherine Bourke, Director

Sophie Cornell, Director

Neil Werrett, Director

Peter Fekete, Director

John O'Rourke, Vice Chairman

Michael Ramsden, Honorary Treasurer

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