It’s the one day during the Spring carnival that racing purists look forward to the most – we like to consider it Christmas for punters.
Victoria Derby Day kicks off the famous Flemington Melbourne Cup Carnival and the card is packed full of group races, capacity fields and some of the best horses in the country.
There has been plenty of highlights on Derby Days over the years and we take a look at just some of our favourites.
2006 Victoria Derby – Efficient
Efficient started the 2006 VRC Derby as an even money favourite but when he was well back in the field and caught on the inside, plenty of punters thought they had done their money.
He needed all of the Flemington straight but the grey mowed down the other 3 year olds to score one of the most remarkable Derby wins there has ever been.
Proving his love affair with Flemington, he returned a year later and took out the Melbourne Cup.
2017 Coolmore Stud Stakes – Merchant Navy
Talk about thrilling finishes. Merchant Navy came from seemingly no where to take out the Coolmore Stud Stakes down the straight six at Flemington last year.
Invincible Star looked to have the race sewn up at the 100m until the son of Fastnet Rock burst up the rails to win.
2010 Victoria Derby – Lion Tamer
In one of the most dominant Victoria Derby performances of the modern era, Kiwi colt Lion Tamer, donkey licked his rival 3 year old’s to take out the 2010 edition.
He returned to win the Underwood Stakes in 2011 but would tragically be put down after breaking a leg in the Cox Plate that year robbing us of seeing his full potential as an older horse.
2010 Mackinnon Stakes – So You Think
After winning his 2nd Cox Plate in a row, So You Think asserted his dominance over the middle distances with a truly phenomenal performance in the 2010 Mackinnon Stakes.
He would get his shot at a Melbourne Cup three days later and clearly didn’t enjoy the heavy surface over the testing two miles, but he was still able to finish a gallant third behind Americain.
1988 Mackinnon Stakes – Empire Rose
Bart Cummings loved running his Melbourne Cup bound horses on Derby day in the Mackinnon Stakes as a fitness tune-up.
Empire Rose finished with a barnstorming run over the top of Vo Rogue to win the 1988 edition before going on win the Melbourne Cup 3 days later.
1992 Mackinnon Stakes – Veandercross
The punters had narrowed the 1992 Mackinnon Stakes down to two horses heading into the race.
They got it right as Veandercross weaved his way through the field to pip Rough Habit on the line.
He would not get clear running until the 300 meter mark in the Melbourne Cup, which was too late to chase down the grey Subzero.
2009 Myer Classic – Typhoon Tracy
Typhoon Tracy “made a mess of them” in the 2009 Myer Classic.
It was as dominant a performance as we have seen in the race by a mare that was clearly superior to her own sex.
She would go on to win three successive group 1s in the following Autumn and be named Australia’s Racehorse of the Year.
She was eventually retired by her Champion Trainer Peter Moody and tragically lost her life shortly after giving birth to her first foal.
2008 Myer Classic – Forensics
What a fantastic horse Forensics was.
She won the Golden Slipper at two, the Queen of the Turf at three and the Myer Classic at four.
She couldn’t have picked three better Group 1’s to win in terms of a breeding career!
2006 Ascot Vale Stakes – Gold Edition
The grey filly from Queensland, Gold Edition was only small but had a huge heart and an eager mind for racing.
She performed very consistently as a 2 and 3 year old and once trainer Ron Maud found out the Ascot Vale (Now Coolmore Stud Stakes) was being promoted to Group 1 status, he thought he would have a crack.
The brilliant filly blitzed the field to win by 4 lengths.
2006 Salinger Stakes – Dance Hero
There was always a group 1 sprint down the famous Flemington straight on Derby Day.
We’ve picked out the Gai Waterhouse trained Dance Hero in 2006 as our highlight – Mainly because the author backed it at very nice odds.
He beat the likes of Miss Andretti, Shadoways, Natural Destiny and Swick that day and finished as a 4 time Group 1 winner with just shy of $4 million.
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