This Wednesday sees the inaugural running of the Derby and Oaks Trials at Flemington, with a guaranteed entry into the Group 1 classics during the VRC Spring Carnival for the winner of each race.
The races are part of Racing Victoria and the Victoria Racing Club’s aim to improve the quality of staying races and the stock that race in them.
The Victorian breeding industry has certainly played its part in improving the staying breed. Various Victorian stallion operations have taken on sires with considerable racetrack success over a distance.
Sun Stud stands Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente, Bombora Downs is home to Dandino while Bullarook Park has the talented Lucas Cranach.
And today, Swettenham Stud will be crossing its fingers for a son and daughter of Americain line up at Flemington.
The Mick Price trained filly Oklahoma Days is in the Oaks Trial while Amerock trained by Darren Weir is in the Derby Trial.
Fittingly, both were bred by Daisy Hill’s Colleen and Kevin Bamford, who raced the Melbourne Cup winning Americain.
“Amerock has drawn a wide barrier, but he has done such a good job this preparation. This will be a brilliant test for him, as we believe he is a quality city galloper,” Colleen Bamford said.
“The Weir stable certainly has a very good opinion of him, and what a thrill if he does happen to win.
“Oklahoma Days is a beautiful quality filly, and I know from the first day they bought her, they were talking about running her in Group 1 classic races. She is a serious chance, and should she win the trial she will take a very competitive place in the Oaks.”
“There has been a severe lack of distance races available to represent the staying sires to the best of their ability. These two trials give the horses that are better suited over a longer distance the opportunity to race to their best and truly showcase their wonderful sires.
“Americain is doing a very good job, but a win in either of these races would certainly put him on the map as a sire and provide an incredible opportunity for Group 1 success.”
The VRC’s Racing Manager Martin Talty said that both trials are imperative, as they give staying bred horses a significant stepping stone race before the two VRC classic Group 1 races and will help reinvigorate staying races in Australia.
“If they want to keep the Derby and Oaks distinguished and celebrated races, they have to have relevant lead-ups, so I applaud the move by the VRC and Racing Victoria.”
“For the breeders that invest in Victoria with stallions like Americain, Fiorente and others, they need to have races that their progeny is suited to. They are Melbourne Cup winners.” Talty said.
To demonstrate Racing Victoria’s further commitment to the two staying Trials, each race has both a $15,000 Super VOBIS and a $20,000 VOBIS Gold bonus available to eligible VOBIS nominated horses (which include both Americains).
TBV Note: Americain will have another two runners today. The Limerick Lane bred, Weir trained American Sunday lines up in race 2 at Flemington over 1400 metres. Meanwhile 3YO Toricain makes his debut at Launceston over 1420 metres.