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AAMI Victoria Derby Day: What You Need To Know
9 races, 2,500 metres and more than 90,000 attendees. Discover the history behind one of Australia’s most prestigious racing days.
Each year the Melbourne Cup Carnival kicks off with AAMI Victoria Derby Day. Behind the glitz and glamour of Flemington, there’s a proud history and a race that’s been held for generations.
How it came about
The Victoria Derby is Australia’s oldest classic race and a favourite amongst racing traditionalists. For over 160 years it has been the feature race of the first day of Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival, and regarded by race-lovers, fashionistas and celebrities as one of the best racing days in Australia. So, how did it come about?
First run on November 7 in 1855, the Victoria Derby was inspired by the Epsom Derby, which was established in 1779 by the 12th Earl of Derby. Since that first race, the tradition began—with race-goers flocking to Flemington every year to enjoy the sporting spectacle, as well as food, fashion and fun.
The facts and figures
This year will be the 28th year that AAMI has sponsored the Victoria Derby. It’s a high stakes race run on what’s known for being one of the toughest tracks, so participating horses need the staying power possessed by properly trained thoroughbreds in their prime. For this reason, the race is only open to three-year-old thoroughbreds. Initially, the race was run at 1.5 miles, but this changed in 1972 to 2,400 metres to conform with the newly-introduced metric system. In 1973 the race distance was altered to 2,500 metres (as it stands today), to give horses more time to approach the first turn of the track safely. Throughout the day, nine races are run, with the Victoria Derby race being the highlight of the day and having the greatest prize money attached to the win.
Fashions on the field
High fashion and horseracing go hand-in-hand, and AAMI Victoria Derby Day is no different. Since 1960, the favoured dress code for AAMI Victoria Derby Day has been traditonal morning suits and top hats for the Gents and a monochrome palette of black and white for the Ladies. The flower of the day, the blue cornflower, is the perfect addition to add a pop of colour. The Myer Fashions on the Field racewear competition is now open for registration for both men and women. Come with the dress code in mind, and maybe some fancy headwear!
AAMI Trackside Assist
We all want to be picture perfect on the long-awaited AAMI Victoria Derby Day. You’ve applied sunscreen and dressed your best—hat and all. But sometimes, no matter how prepared you are, something goes wrong—and that’s where AAMI comes in. AAMI Trackside Assist is back to make sure you feel great at the races! Visit us trackside when you have a mini emergency—say your phone runs out of battery before you reach your selfie quota, or you get a blister wandering the tracks in search of something to eat.
Last year, AAMI Trackside Assist saved 100s of phones from battery drain at our recharge station. Here are some of the other things we used at Derby Day ‘18:
-12 tubes of super glue (to fix broken heels).
-6 cans of dry shampoo.
-9 bags of hair ties.
-24 boxes of plasters (to soothe countless blisters).
-6 large pump bottles of sunscreen.