The Details You Need To Know About The VRC Oaks
The very first VRC Oaks took place 160 years ago, when Palestine took out the inaugural edition of the race in 1861, and ever since then it has continued to grow in both popularity and prestige. Today, the Group 1 stayers event is one of the most significant in the country, and this is all you need to know about this great race.
About the race
The VRC Oaks sees some of the top three-year-old fillies in Australia battle it out over 2,500 meters at Flemington Racecourse. Taking place on the Thursday following the Melbourne Cup, it’s held under set weight conditions and essentially acts as a fillies-only version of the Victoria Derby, which is held on the Saturday prior.
Since 1979, the race has been a Group 1 after being a Principal listed race for over 100 years prior, and winning it is a major accomplishment for trainer, jockey and horse alike as a result. It’s the feature race of what is technically known as Oaks Day but commonly referred to as Ladies Day, with the Fashions on the Field event a significant part of the day off the racecourse.
As with many Group 1 races in Victoria, the VRC Oaks has a pretty hefty prize pool to help attract quality competitors. At present, the total money up for grabs for competitors sits at a cool $1 million, making it the equal richest race in Australia for three-year-olds — a position it shares with the ATC Oaks — as well as for fillies, which it shares with the Queen of the Turf Stakes and again the ATC Oaks.
Interesting facts about the VRC Oaks
Unlike many other races throughout the spring which tend to consistently throw up surprise winners, the VRC Oaks has been something of a haven for reasonably short-
priced horses. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the favourite has won particularly often — 15 of the 38 favourites since 1983 have saluted – but 13 of the past 18 winners have jumped at a price of $6.50 or less, meaning it has certainly paid to keep a close eye on the horses that bookies deem to be the best chances. The most notable exception to this came in 2016, when $101 shot Lasqueti Spirit’s win saw more than a few drinks spilled in the stands.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the gruelling nature of the race, a tough barrier draw has proven difficult to overcome at the VRC Oaks. In the past 38 years, just six horses have won from barrier 11 or higher, with only three winners since 2003 coming from a double-digit barrier. The wins are split fairly evenly among the single-digit barriers, but it’s clear they are the place to be in this race.
2021 VRC Oaks
The 2021 VRC Oaks will take place on the 4th of November. The jump time is yet to be officially announced, but last year the gates opened at 5.10pm AEDT, and given it is typically the eighth race of the day, it will most likely be at a similarly late time this year.
And as for who will win? With a number of months to go until the race there is still plenty of water to go under the bridge until the 2021 VRC Oaks favorites are settled on, but based on past results, one thing is for almost certain — over the 2,500 meters, quality will prevail.