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Attention turns to lucrative Victorian country series final on Oaks Day
08 Nov 2017 | Racing Victoria 
All roads lead to Flemington on Thursday as 15 country Victorian trainers get the chance to share in the riches on offer during the Melbourne Cup Carnival with the launch of a new feature race on Kennedy Oaks Day.

The third day of the famous Carnival plays host to the inaugural running of the Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Final, a 1600-metre race offering $200,000 in prizemoney.

Eligibility for tomorrow’s final is restricted to horses prepared by Victorian trainers who do not have a metropolitan training base and has drawn horses from Stawell in the west, Wangaratta in the north and Sale in the east of the State.

Finalists automatically qualified by finishing first or second in one of the eight $50,000 heats, which were conducted across regional Victorian racetracks between 7 October and 1 November. Two runners did however qualify as the highest rated third placegetters due to the withdrawal of two other horses.

Among the trainers who will be saddling up their first runner for the Carnival are Doug Whitworth (Stawell), Symon Wilde (Ballarat/Warrnambool), Lyn Tolson and Leonie Proctor (Mornington), Neil Dyer (Kyneton), Alan Hunter (Geelong), Brent Stanley (Bendigo), Paul Jones (Stawell), John and Chris Ledger (Wangaratta), Shaun Dwyer (Bendigo), Frank Doderico (Sale), Peter Smith (Benalla) and Dan O’Sullivan (Ballarat).

RV Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, said the Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Final will conclude what has been a very successful promotion of country racing.

“The most compelling aspect of tomorrow’s series final is the diverse make-up of the runners and trainers who are engaged to take part in it,” Carpenter said.

“A feature race win in tomorrow’s final on racing’s biggest stage – the Melbourne Cup Carnival - would no doubt be the most exciting highlight of many of these trainers’ careers and the VRC are to be commended for their initiative in providing this opportunity to them.

“In taking this opportunity to acknowledge the VRC, I would also like to congratulate them on what has been a remarkable Melbourne Cup Carnival so far highlighted by the spectacle of yesterday’s thrilling Emirates Melbourne Cup victory by the northern hemisphere three-year-old Rekindling.

“The race, which was watched by a crowd of more than 90,000 fans at Flemington racecourse, was the first Melbourne Cup victory for 24-year-old trainer Joseph O’Brien at his first attempt and the first time since 1941 a three-year-old has won the race.

“It marked an extraordinary achievement by stallion High Chaparral, sire of both the AAMI Victoria Derby winner Ace High and Emirates Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling.

“I hope that punters and participants continue to turn out in force over the remaining two days of the Carnival, which will be highlighted by the running of tomorrow’s Group 1 Kennedy Oaks (2500m) and Saturday’s Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000m).”





 
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