2019 VRC Spring Carnival – AAMI Victoria Derby Day
The 2019 Melbourne Cup Carnival kicked off on a rainy day but it didn’t stop champion jockey Damien Oliver from clinching the $2 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby on Warning. He broke the record for the most Melbourne Cup Carnival wins on Australia’s most prestigious raceday at Flemington on Saturday.
Three-year-old gelding Warning won the staying classic by three lengths for Flemington trainer Anthony Freedman from Southern Moon in second and Soul Patch in third.
It was the 6th AAMI Victoria Derby win for Oliver who earlier in the day broke the record for most Melbourne Cup Carnival wins surpassing Bobby Lewis’ 72 victories.
Oliver was also named Star of the Saddle as best and fairest jockey on AAMI Victoria Derby Day, claiming a $100,000 cash prize.
The Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes delivered a brilliant finish when Exceedance overcame the challenge of race favourite Bivouac. The three-year-old colt added his name to the dazzling honor roll in the race for trainers John, Wayne and Michael Hawkes and jockey Dwayne Dunn.
New Zealand’s darling of the turf, Melody Belle trained by Jamie Richards, won the Group 1 TAB Empire Rose Stakes for fillies and mares, and Craig Williams won back to back Group 1 Kennedy Cantalas, claiming victory on Fierce Impact for trainer Matthew Smith and clinching a half a million dollar bonus for connections.
Earlier, 2017 Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Joseph O’Brien secured a place in Tuesday’s $8 million race with Downdraft, by winning the Group 3 Lexus Hotham Stakes, while a win in the Network 10 Carbine Club Stakes by Dalasan claimed connections a $1 million bonus.
Following AAMI Victoria Derby Day, Damien Oliver leads the Ron Hutchison Award for jockeys during Melbourne Cup Carnival with nine points, while Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien leads the JB Cummings Award for trainers on five points after securing a treble.
Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Chief Executive Officer Neil Wilson said AAMI Victoria Derby Day showed why it’s regarded as the greatest days on the Australian racing calendar. “Today has been a feast for racing purists with an exceptional card featuring four Group 1s,” said Mr Wilson. “Despite almost 20 millimetres of rain, an impressive turnout of 80,214 racegoers enjoyed the fantastic atmosphere, entertainment and hospitality at Flemington Racecourse. The scene is now set for an exciting 159th running of the Lexus Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.”
Many well known 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 Australian celebrities. One international guest was Lindsay Lohan, who was a special guest at Network 10. She has been in Australia working on The Masked Singer programme.
Landmark by Lexus hosted models Jordan Barrett, Montana Cox, Tahnee Atkinson plus Mack Horton, Justin Hemmes, April Rose Pengilly, Alan Fletcher, Ksenija Lukich and Luke Ricketson. Kate Waterhouse and Emma Freedman took their place as Lexus Ambassadors. The three-levelled marquee again dominates the look of the Birdcage and has a stylish design.
Tabcorp hosted the great chef Guy Grossi who served up some beautiful Italian food. Jarryd Roughhead, Michelle Payne and Amy Dixon were other guests. Kennedy embarked on its move into the front row with a beautiful Italian-designed marquee and Jaimee Kennedy looked an absolute picture as she hosted with husband James. Other guests in Kennedy were Jake King and Alan Eskander. Late in the afternoon a lovely dance performance took place.
Maison Mumm has a French inspired theme this year (no boats or rockets this time) but still a cool, vibrant atmosphere as guests included Dion Lee, Lindy Rama Ellis, Kate Peck, Kerri-Anne Kennerly and Candice Warner. I asked Candice about how husband David is looking forward to a better cricket season than his unfortunate Ashes series. She emphasised how determined David is to redeem himself in front of the home crowds.
The vibrant Bumble marquee attracted some of the hot young fashion talent and nightclub promoters, including models Jordan and Zac Stenmark, Brooke Hogan, Nick and Rozalia Russian, Marc and Jessie Murphy, Keira Maguire and Rebecca Judd. Meanwhile, the large Furphy marquee showcased the beer and delicious food in a generally lively atmosphere.
This is the first time in many years that a television network has hosted its own marquee in the Birdcage. Apart from Lindsay Lohan, many of Network 10‘s favourite presenters were in attendance including Stephen Quartermain and wife, Tommy Little, Sandra Sully, Natarsha Belling, Mike Larkan, Steve Price, Grant Denyer, one of the best-dressed of the day, Olivia Junkeer, and Bonnie Anderson. Bonnie, in fact, went to to sing the National Anthem prior to the running of the Derby.
While in The Park, Myer ambassadors Kris Smith, Elyse Knowles, Rachael Finch and Sarsha Chisholm joined the Hon. Julie Bishop and Network 10’s Anna Heinrich in gracing the Myer Fashions on the Field enclosure. Kris and Anna are the hosts for this year’s event and there is sure to be much competition for the best dressed.
Such was the quest for success, that Adele Pearce of Melbourne took out the Myer Fashions on the Field Women’s Racewear AAMI Victoria Derby Day crown in a black and white striped dress by Toni Maticevski teamed with a black Louise McDonald 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 Tom Rich and Brandon Kostas joined Canberra’s Richard Luton in being selected as the three finalists to compete in the Men’s Racewear final on Lexus Melbourne Cup Day.
General admission racegoers enjoyed a stellar lineup of food, drinks, fashion and entertainment in The Park, with Ball Park Music and Lime Cordiale taking to the stage.
The final field for the Lexus Melbourne Cup has been set for the race that stops a nation with Caulfield Cup winner Mer de Glace carrying the top weight.
Here are photos from Derby Day.
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