The VRC to honour veterans past and present on ANZAC Day Raceday

The traditional ANZAC Day Race meeting, proudly held for many years by the Victoria Racing Club (VRC), will take place on Thursday 25 April 2019. Flemington will again commemorate and acknowledge the enormous contribution that Australian servicemen and women have made, and are still making, around the world.

A commemorative ceremony will be held in the Flemington Mounting Yard at 2:55pm, when racing participants and racegoers will gather to remember those who have served and are currently serving. 

Popular performer and star of Network Ten’s Neighbours Bonnie Anderson will perform the Australian national anthem accompanied by the Moonee Valley Brass Band, which will follow the Last Post, a minute’s silence and the Rouse. The service will also feature a retired serviceman in the traditional dress of a light horseman and two Waler horses, a breed cherished for its service during times of war.

The east end of the Front Lawn will come alive with thousands of crocheted poppies from the Handmade with Love poppy installation, a project started by Australian women Lynn Berry OAM and Margaret Knight to honour those killed in war as well as peacekeeping operations.

For every poppy planted, the VRC will donate $2 to the ANZAC Appeal.

This year marks the 162nd running of the VRC St Leger, the Classic Listed race run over 2800m for three-year-olds. It is a race older than the Melbourne Cup, with the honour roll including past greats of the turf in Phar Lap and Tulloch. 

The traditional wartime game of Two-Up will again be played on the west end of the Front Lawn outside Saintly Place, after returning to Flemington last year. Racegoers over the age of 18 are invited to participate, with VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott to begin the first game of Two-Up at 12:30pm. 

Mrs Elliott said ANZAC Day was an important occasion on the VRC’s racing calendar.  

“ANZAC Day is a truly national Australian day, and the VRC prides itself on providing a place for people to gather and pay their respects to the brave men and women who have served our great country in every possible way over more than 100 years,” Mrs Elliott said.  

“The ANZAC spirit is something all Australians should feel and treasure. This special feeling will be reflected across the Racecourse in so many ways, with a special commemorative racebook featuring wonderful wartime stories, to beautiful historic displays, the thousands of poppies being planted on the lawn, as well as the Mounting Yard ceremony at 2.55 pm, which I encourage racegoers to attend.” 

The Red Cross has kindly loaned the VRC a display from the Light Horse and Field Artillery Museum which can be viewed at the west end of the Front Lawn, while the Blue Ribbons to Balaclavas exhibition in The Atrium pays homage to the tens of thousands of volunteers who lent their craft skills to making garments for troops. 

Mrs Elliott said, “I encourage everyone to support the fundraising for the ANZAC Appeal by supporting the pin sellers from the Watsonia RSL who will be roving throughout the Racecourse.

“On this important national day, jockeys who are riding the top weight in each race will be wearing the official ANZAC Day silks, another reminder of how much this day means to everyone.”

Kids’ activities on the west end of the Front Lawn will include such games as jump rope, tug of war, hopscotch as well as an arts and crafts table. The regular kids’ activities such as face painting, pony rides and a soft play area for little ones will also be available. 

Living Legends California Memory and 1999 Melbourne Cup winner Rogan Josh will be on course for racegoers to visit in the horse stalls and view parading in the Mounting Yard throughout the day.

There is free entry to ANZAC Day Raceday for all current ADF personnel and RSL members, and they can receive a complimentary first drink between 1pm – 2pm at all bars on course.

Gates will open at 12pm with the first race at 1pm.