Steve Moran

A Tough Week For The VRC

VRC racing manager Martin Talty has outlined his program changes designed to better allow the staying bred young horse to progress towards the club’s classic races – the Victoria Derby and VRC Oaks, both Group One at 2500 metres.

He’s also resurrected an ‘old’ race, over ground, for two-year-olds and hopes that other clubs will follow suit in establishing options for the later maturing prospects.

There certainly seems to be a mood and appetite for such change. After all, the Blue Riband session of the recent Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale had the highest clearance rate and highest average of any of the sales’ sessions.

And Talty points to the growing popularity of a horse such as So You Think (High Chaparral). “So You Think has begun to realise his stallion potential now that his horses have progressed up to and beyond 1600 metres,” he said.

The leading second crop stallion has had no shortage of highlights in recent weeks, headed by Victoria Derby third and now Randwick Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) winner Inference; fellow Group One winner La Bella Diosa while others including Northwest Passage, So Si Bon, I Thought So and Think Like A Bird have either displayed or indicated their distance potential.

The Byerley Handicap, at 1800 metres, will be reintroduced into the racing calendar giving Flemington the only race for two-year-olds beyond 1600 metres. It will be run at the final meeting of the season at Flemington in July, two weeks after the Taj Rossi Series Final (formerly the Gibson Carmichael at 1600m).

Then, in the new season there will be a schedule of three-year-old races beyond 1600 metres at Flemington to cater for those horses coming through their grades and being aimed at the Victoria Derby and VRC Oaks.

Talty said: “At present, if you have a “staying-bred” young horse, the first option you have beyond 1600 metres against their own age is the UCI Stakes (Super Imose Plate) (Listed) over 1800 metres on Turnbull Stakes day.

“The only other lead-ups for these horses are the Ladbrokes Classic (Norman Robinson), the Vase at Moonee Valley and the Geelong Derby Trial – all stakes races. It is the same for the fillies with a limited number of age and sex only races beyond 1600 metres leading into the VRC Oaks and all are stakes races.”

The aim is to cater for horses coming through their grades and provide options other than taking on older horses over 1600 metres plus.

Talty says he believes there has been a ‘slight shift’ in the breeding industry in recent years. “We’re seeing horses like Fiorente, Dundeel, Americain, Puissance de Lune, Camelot, Shocking and others well patronised so it is safe to say there is going to be a large number of yearlings that will need time and not be suited by rushing early into two-year-old races over unsuitable trips,” he said.

Midweek racing will also return to Flemington. “This will be on Wednesday September 27 under the banner of VRC Spring Classics Preview Day where we will run the Victoria Derby Trial and the VRC Oaks Trial. These will likely be at 2000 metres, however I am open to suggestions from all areas of the industry to determine the best distance for these,” Talty said.

Talty recalls that Subzero (Kala Dancer) was among the horses to win the previous incarnation of the Byerley Handicap. “He won it in 1991 and running over 2000 metres as a two-year-old certainly didn’t stop him; he ran in 18 races as a three-year-old and won the Dulcify Quality and his final two starts, the SAJC Derby and Adelaide Cup,” he said.


Some may be pleased to know that I no longer require therapy (well at least not as much) after my plaintive plea for correspondence in Wednesday’s issue was met with a flood of emails. Well, three or four anyway…and each was of some interest which will generate stories of their own at some point.

On the subject of stallion’s remarkable first crops, Stephen Irwin was anxious to remind me of the deeds of Adraan (Zeddaan) who stood at Narrung Stud under the management of his father Les.

“Adraan died from stifle cancer after only serving 27 mares,” Stephen recalled.

Adraan’s one and only crop yielded seven stakes winners – Magic Flute, Khaptivaan, Adraanito, El Vaquero, Adraanette, Bataan and Aussie Consul.

And Malcolm Campbell was keen to point out the significant contribution of another of Colin Hayes’ grandsons Tom Dabernig to the success of the current Lindsay Park operation.



RACE 4 – RANVET STAKES (Gr 1, 2000m). Struggle to see the logic in Hartnell (Authorized) being odds-on despite all his quality. He comes off a poor last start performance and remains a query on very heavy ground. I’d rather be on Antonio Giuseppe (Shocking) who goes forward in a race of minimal pressure, relishes the ground and – I fancy – will be all the better for last week’s run.

RACE 7 – GOLDEN SLIPPER STAKES (Gr 1, 1200m). I’m staying with She Will Reign (Manhattan Rain). Had she been in best ground in the Reisling Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m), who’s to say she would not have stretched her unbeaten run to four from four.

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