The Victorian thoroughbred racing industry will pay tribute to Australia’s returned service men and women tomorrow with ANZAC Day commemoration activities planned at five race meetings across the state.

At Flemington, Moe, Yarra Valley, Swan Hill and Avoca, racegoers will have the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed day trackside while also recognising the nation’s courageous service men and women.

In a joint initiative between Racing Victoria (RV) and the Returned Services League (RSL) — Victoria Branch, jockeys riding horses carrying the number one saddlecloth at each of the meetings will wear a special set of ANZAC Day colours which incorporate the rising sun motif to celebrate the ANZAC spirit.

RV Chief Executive, Bernard Saundry, said the commemorative silks, which were first worn in 2007, provided a unique way for the Victorian racing industry to recognise those who fought bravely for our country.

“The ANZACs are part of Australian folklore and these colours are a way in which the thoroughbred racing industry, which has a long and proud history in Australia, can honour their spirit on such an important day for the nation,” Saundry said.

“ANZAC Day is a day of commemoration and spending an afternoon at the races offers a terrific opportunity to get together with family and friends to honour our returned service men and women and continue a great tradition.”

The five race clubs with meetings on ANZAC Day will pay their respects through a range of other initiatives including a minute of silence, flag-raising ceremonies, the national anthem and Last Post memorial.

Racegoers will also have the opportunity to have a flutter in a long-standing ANZAC Day tradition, with games of ‘two-up’ — which was made famous by Australian soldiers during World War 1 — being staged trackside.

Following is more information about ANZAC Day meetings programmed across the state tomorrow;

  • ANZAC Day at Flemington — Victoria Race Club

At Flemington, the time honoured $150,000 VRC St Leger (2800m) highlights an exciting eight-race card. The St Leger has been run each year since 1897 — including during war time when it endured as a beacon of hope.

As part of the event, the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) will offer free entry for returned service men and women. VRC Chairman, Michael Burn, and Returned and Services League of Australia representative, George Logan, will also conduct a moving ceremony in the Flemington Mounting Yard following Race 2.

Gates open 12 noon, First race 1pm, General Admission: $12, Concession (student): $10, Concession (pensioner): $7, returned service men and women and children: free

For more information:

  • ANZAC Day at Avoca — Avoca Shire Turf Club

For the first time this year’s ANZAC meeting at Avoca will incorporate a special reading of ‘Equine Heroes’ — an original tribute to the service horses provided during World War 1 — written by Avoca local Jim Mowbray who passed away in 2013, leaving the poem to the Avoca RSL.

Gates open 11am, First race 1.20pm, General Admission: $15, Concession: $10, Children: free

For more information:

  • Swan Hill Credit Union St Patrick’s ANZAC Day Races — Swan Hill Jockey Club

As well as enjoying a seven race card of racing at Swan Hill, those in attendance will be supporting the great work of the former St Pat’s Racing Club, who are raising funds for the local St Mary’s Primary School and St Mary McKillop College. There is a range of exciting free children’s entertainment planned too.

Gates open 11.30am, First race 1.25pm, General Admission: $12, Concession: $8, Children: free

For more information:

  • ANZAC Day at Moe — Moe Racing Club

At Moe, racegoers are gearing up for the club’s biggest meeting since the return of racing at the track in February, after an absence of more than two years. The meeting will double as an unofficial celebration of the new first-class facilities at the Moe Racing Club, with quality racing and free family entertainment complementing the commemorative activities.

Gates open 11am, First race 1.20pm, General Admission: $10

For more information:

  • ANZAC Day at Yarra Valley — Yarra Valley Racing Club

In the Yarra Valley, and at all meetings programmed for ANZAC Day, there will be an exciting range of free children’s activities such as outdoor games, treasure hunts, and art and craft activities.

Gates open 11am, First race 1.12pm, General Admission: $15

For more information:

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