Nominations close for Spring Racing Carnival features

Nominations have today closed for a quartet of Group 1 races set to headline feature race meetings at Flemington and The Valley throughout the 2020 Spring Racing Carnival.

The 166th running of the $2 million AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on 2 November has attracted 89 entries, while the $1 million Kennedy Oaks (2500m), at the same track five days later, has received 68 nominations for its 162nd edition.

The $1.5 million Darley Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on 7 November, has attracted 69 entries, many of whom also feature among the 56 entries received for the $1 million Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (1200m) at The Valley on 23 October.

Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (1200m) – The Valley, 23 October 2020

 The Friday night Manikato Stakes headlines the opening meeting of the two-day Ladbrokes Cox Plate Carnival and has attracted six more entries than 2019.

A total of 12 Group 1 winners feature among the nominations taken today including newly crowned Victorian Horse of the Year Nature Strip (Chris Waller), last year’s beaten favourite Bivouac (James Cummings) and the 2017 winner Hey Doc (Tony and Calvin McEvoy).

Headlining the 12 three-year-olds among the entries are Golden Slipper winner Farnan (Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott), Blue Diamond winner Tagaloa (Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young) and the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace trained speedsters Anders and Away Game.

Other notable entries include last season’s Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge winner Bella Vella (Will Clarken), Western Australian speedster Fabergino (Tiarnna Robertson) and the highly touted Masked Crusader (Team Hawkes).

First acceptances for the Manikato Stakes will be taken at 12 noon (AET) on Tuesday, 6 October.


Darley Sprint Classic (1200m) – Flemington, 7 November 2020

The Darley Sprint Classic is the headline sprint of the Melbourne Cup Carnival and remains a key target for Australia’s premier stables with entries up on the 59 attracted in each of the past two seasons.

The two most recent winners of the 1200m straight track dash – Nature Strip (2019) and Santa Ana Lane (2018) – headline the 69 entries for the 2020 edition.

With 15 Group 1 winners and 15 three-year-olds entered, many of the horses nominated for the Darley Sprint Classic also feature among the entries taken today for the Manikato Stakes 15 days prior at The Valley.

South Australian speedster Gytrash (Gordon Richards) and young Queensland star Rothfire (Rob Heathcote) are among those horses entered for the Darley Sprint Classic only, as too is Tasmanian pocket rocket The Inevitable (Scott Brunton) and local straight track specialist Zoutori (Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra).

With the $1.5 million Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) to be run over the same course and distance one week prior, much interest will centre upon the plans for leading three-year-old nominees including Anders, Doubtland, Hanseatic and Tagaloa.

First acceptances for the Darley Sprint Classic will be taken at 12 noon (AET) on Tuesday, 20 October.


AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) – Flemington, 31 October 2020

The AAMI Victoria Derby, the nation’s oldest three-year-old classic, is one of four Group 1 races offering a $1 million or more on the opening day of the Lexus Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington.

Cherry Tortoni (Patrick Payne) and Alcyone (James Cummings), the two horses that have dominated Derby futures betting since running one-two in the Listed Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m) at Flemington in early July, headline the entries.

Mick Price, who won the Victoria Derby in 2015 with Tarzino, and his now training partner Michael Kent Jnr, have a race high nine entries including the unbeaten colt Cambourne. Fellow past winners Chris Waller (2014) and Trent Busuttin (2011) are also well represented with seven and six entries respectively.

Fred Hoysted Medallist Danny O’Brien has seven entries in his pursuit of a maiden Victoria Derby including the Listed ANZAC Day Stakes (1400m) winner Flying Award and stylish Geelong debut winner Young Werther.

Peter Moody, who heralded his arrival in Victoria with Amalfi’s triumph in the 2001 Victoria Derby, has dual Group 1 placegetter Glenfiddich among the entries, while former North Melbourne premiership coach Denis Pagan has entered two horses, Johnny Get Angry and Frankie Two Angels, in his pursuit of a fairtyale result.

Other entries of note include Aysar (Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes), Crown Mint (Gordon Richards), Love Tap (Richard and Michael Freedman) and the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace pair of Flash Flood and Wise Counsel.

A number of emerging staying three-year-olds will get the chance to stake their claim for a place in Derby discussions when they step out in the AAMI Victoria Derby Trial (1800m) at Flemington at 3.55pm tomorrow.

First acceptances for the Victoria Derby will be taken at 12 noon (AET) on Tuesday, 20 October.


Kennedy Oaks (2500m) – Flemington, 5 November 2020

The premier staying classic for three-year-old fillies, the $1 million Kennedy Oaks, spearheads the third day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington.

Interstate fillies headlines the entries received today with unbeaten South Australian Instant Celebrity (Phillip Stokes) and Sydney duo Montefilia (David Payne) and Hungry Heart (Chris Waller) already popular with futures punters.
Saturday’s Listed Jim Moloney Stakes (1400m) minor placegetters, Aidensfeld (Dabernig and Hayes) and Mozzie Monster (John Sadler), feature among the entries, as does the former’s Group 1 placed stablemate Personal, the promising Succeed Indeed (Leon and Troy Corstens) and unbeaten Queensland filly Miss Cabaret (Michael Costa).

Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott combined to win the 2017 Kennedy Oaks with Pinot and have a race high six entries, while Danny O’Brien has five entries in his pursuit of back-to-back Oaks victories following the win of Miami Bound in 2019.

A total of 14 fillies will get the chance to further their claims for glory on the first Thursday in November when they contest the Kennedy Oaks Trial (1800m) at Flemington at 2.45pm tomorrow.

First acceptances for the Kennedy Oaks will be taken at 12 noon (AET) on Tuesday, 20 October.