2018 VRC Spring Carnival – AAMI Victoria Derby Day
A crowd of 91,194 enjoyed sunny spring weather to see Extra Brut win the 2018 AAMI Victoria Derby at famous Flemington on Saturday. It was the first AAMI Victoria Derby win for Victoria’s premier trainer Darren Weir and jockey John Allen. Three-year-old colt Extra Brut clinched the $2 million dollar staying classic by one length from Stars of Carrum and Chapada in third.
Earlier, young British trainer Charlie Fellowes secured a place in Tuesday’s $7.3 million Lexus Melbourne Cup with A Prince of Arran, by winning the Group 3 Lexus Stakes.
Sunlight ridden by Luke Currie took out the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes for Tony McEvoy, the Chris Waller-trained Shillelagh won the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes for fillies and mares, and Best of Days ridden by Craig Williams clinched the Kennedy Mile for trainer James Cummings.
Following AAMI Victoria Derby Day, James McDonald leads the Ron Hutchison Award for jockeys during Melbourne Cup Carnival with ten points, while James Cummings leads the Bart Cummings Award for trainers on nine points after securing a treble.
Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Chief Executive Officer Neil Wilson said AAMI Victoria Derby Day was a feast for racing purists. “Today showed why it’s regarded as the greatest day on the Australian racing calendar,” said Mr Wilson. “Racegoers have enjoyed Flemington at its best with an exceptional day of racing and the scene is now set for an exciting 158th running of the Lexus Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.”
AAMI Victoria Derby Day saw members and their guests enjoy the VRC’s new $128 million Club Stand in full for the first time. The world-class facility boasts two premium restaurants, three casual dining options and eight diverse bars serving a variety of fare across five levels.
In The Park, Face of Myer Jennifer Hawkins and Myer ambassadors Elyse Knowles, Rachael Finch, Kris Smith and Josh Gibson graced the Myer Fashions on the Field enclosure.
The fashion stakes rivalled the on-course action with Kelli Odell of Melbourne taking out the Myer Fashions on the Field Women’s Racewear AAMI Victoria Derby Day crown in a white top and black skirt by Toni Maticevski teamed with a Stephanie Spencer hat. She will compete with the daily winners from Lexus Melbourne Cup Day and Kennedy Oaks Day for the Victorian title and entry into the National Final.
Melburnians Dave Ferris, Patrick Sham Yuen and Riley Koops were selected as the three finalists to compete in the Men’s Racewear final on Lexus Melbourne Cup Day.
Many famous faces joined the tens of thousands across Flemington’s grandstands, marquees, lawns and car parks, with the popular Birdcage Enclosure home to a host of mainly local celebrities, including supermodel Elle Macpherson and racing royalty Kate Waterhouse at Lexus, model Cheyenne Tozzi at Kennedy, model Rebecca Harding and media personality Andy Lee at Seppelt Wines, Australian actress Bella Heathcote at 1 Oliver St, socialite Francesca Packer Barham and model Kate Peck at Mumm, and a number of popular local identities such as Joey Scandizzo and Nick Russian at Bumble. Overseas visitors were minimal with Scott Disick and Sofia Richie at Ultra and a last minute appearance by Usain Bolt at Mumm.
It was a strange but somewhat refreshing look in the Birdcage this time with the “new players” such as Ultra Australia, Bumble, Crocmedia, Pace Development, Furphy and Elle Australia having a share of the spotlight. The VRC Members were also provided with an additional outlet – the Bird Bath Bar. It was out with “the old” – Lavazza, Emirates, Myer, James Boag, Schweppes and Hilton.
Bumble is a new partner of the 2018 Melbourne Cup Carnival. The social connection app will also take up the naming rights of Race 1 on Lexus Melbourne Cup Day, the Bumble Stakes. It is a colourful and vibrant marquee with many local models and personalities having attended on Derby Day. The Melbourne Cup Carnival also provides a great opportunity for Bumble to engage with talented Australian women to bring the vision to life, and Bumble has recruited a brilliant line up of female talent for the structural design, project management and construction of the Bumble marquee as well as styling, florals, music and photography. Joining its leader Michelle Battersby were guests Joey Scandizzo, Nick and Rozalia Russian, Laurina Fleure, Rebecca Judd, Zac and Jordan Stenmark, Jessie Murphy and Tahnee Atkinson.
After a successful first outing last Year, the Kennedy marquee is keen to build its name further. After his wedding to Jaimee Belle in fabulous Florence earlier this year, James Kennedy looked ready for action as he greeted his guests into his stylish setting. James mentioned how last year exceeded his expectations and he is eagerly awaiting for Thursday when Kennedy hits the spotlight as the Oaks sponsor. His guests on Derby Day included Cheyenne Tozzi, who was delighted to return to Melbourne. She is now a mother and her young child is already a world traveller.
G.H.Mumm kept their guests entertained (as usual) in their space odyssey theme, with Usain Bolt a surprise last-minute guest. Other guests included Madeline Cowe and Charlie Dixon, Dylan Alcott, Hamish & Andy, Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Tim Robards and Anna Heinrich, and Srecko Lorbek. The daring installation featured The Mumm Rocket, which is nearly 12 metres high, and was installed in the Birdcage two weeks before Derby Day. Created by a team of over 30 people from Mumm and its partners, including designers, engineers and manufacturers, who brought this bold concept to life, after planning for the last 12 months. The extravagant idea has been in celebration of the recent launch of Mumm Grand Cordon Stellar – the first champagne bottle designed for space travel, making it possible for astronauts and other space travellers to enjoy champagne in the challenging surroundings of zero gravity.
Ultra Australia is set to stage a huge electronic music festival next February. It is also a new player in the Birdcage stakes and duly kept the guests entertained with lively DJs. Scott Disick and Sofia Richie were their special guests, and they were joined by Tom Bellchambers, Cale Hooker, Dane Swan, Dale Thomas, Jack Silvagni and ambassador Tess Shanahan. Pace Development enjoyed its first outing in the Birdcage and provided very good service and luxury for its guests and showed off Sarah Czarnuch as one of its ambassadors.
Lexus, as the Melbourne Cup sponsor, enjoyed top billing in the Birdcage and duly provided a likeable and efficient service for its many customers and guests. Kate Waterhouse, Emma Freedman and Lindy Rama-Ellis were its special guests along with actress Bella Heathcote, returning home after success in America. Neil Perry is again the chief in charge of its food and they again delighted with delicious treats. Guests are able to dine in the comfort of an upstairs dining room.
Overall, the Birdcage had a different feel this year and more colour and entertainment is sure to be provided in the rest of the Carnival.
Photos are courtesy of Matt Deller.
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