Some of the greatest racehorses in the world will be celebrated amid some of the finest drops of champagne and nibbles as the annual racing celebration engulfs the Yarra Valley.
The two-day delights moulds the Spring Racing Carnival’s Melbourne Cup and Victoria Oaks with some fantastic trots racing, which peaks with Thursday’s Yarra Valley pacing and trotting cups.
And not only will horse racing fans be able to savour the deeds of gallops favourites Marmelo and Aloisia on the big screen, but they will be able to see first-hand the two-time Victorian Horse Of The Year.
Lennytheshark has been nominated amid a field of nine, which also includes talented topline pacers My Field Marshall and Tee Cee Bee Macray, for the pacing cup, a welcome addition for Yarra Valley club chief executive Brett Shambrook.
“Lennytheshark is the trots equivalent of Winx, so hopefully he will attract more people to come along and enjoy him before he goes to Perth,” Mr Shambrook said. “He’s a great attraction.”
Thursday’s Yarra Valley cups will cap a huge week that will begin with the club’s eight-race meeting on Melbourne Cup Day, when thousands will pour into the Yarra Glen racecourse to soak up the race that stops the nation away from the Flemington fervour.
“It’s shaping up really well,” Mr Shambrook said. “Our pre-bookings are more than we have ever had before. We have 80 mini-marquees and the dining room is almost sold out. A few thousand people have booked and paid.
“There are a lot of families who come year after year. It’s a nice family crowd. We’ve got eight races and the racing department – Gary Bennetts and his team – have done a fantastic job putting that together.”
Two days after the public holiday the race track will be buzzing again for its dual cups on Oaks day.
“We’ve found a home for our cup, which had been moved around. The dining room is booked, we will have a dozen marquees, the lounge is booked out with 150 people come and we will have a huge fashions on the field.
“This year we are celebrating 70 years of harness racing in the Yarra Valley. Racing commenced in Healesville 70 years ago before coming across to Yarra Glen after it merged with the racing club.
“We will have memorabilia from the old racecourse on track and the racebook will be a souvenir edition with historical stories.”