- Heavily backed Riff Rocket won Victoria Derby in a photo finish
- Apulia lunged late, just missed out, Sunsets was a valiant third
- First Victoria Derby triumph for champion hoop James McDonald
- Japanese entrant Obamburumai claimed $10million Golden Eagle
Riff Rocket has won the $2million, Group 1 Victoria Derby in thrilling scenes at Flemington on Saturday.
With champion jockey James McDonald on board, the pre-race favourite ($2.10) was the standout selection for many punters, and he delivered in the 170th staging of the feature race following a photo finish.
Apulia ($1.35) was desperately unlucky to finish second after lunging in the last stride, with Sunsets ($3.55) securing third.
‘It would have been a great race to watch,’ an elated McDonald said post race.
‘I saw a bit of movement and positioned myself….he got stuck and to be honest I got a bit lucky, but I’ll take it.’
Champion jockey James McDonald rode Riff Rocket to victory in the Victoria Derby
The victory was master trainer Chris Waller’s third Victoria Derby, who was understandably all smiles after taking home $2million in prizemoney
James McDonald continues to dominate the Spring Carnival, showing why he is widely regarded as the world’s best jockey
This glamorous race-goer ensured she was a head-turner with her fashion choice
One-time reality TV star and author Pettifleur Berenger was spotted letting her hair down at Flemington
Brooke Warne – daughter of the late cricket legend Shane Warne – was also seen mingling with other VIP guests
AFL cult hero Bailey Smith was impossible to miss in his sharp grey suit (pictured left)
Eager punters made their way through the gates at Flemington ahead of the first race at 12.20pm
The victory was master trainer Chris Waller’s third Victoria Derby success, with McDonald snaring yet another Group 1 race.
The Kiwi hoop also won the Cox Plate on board Romantic Warrior and the Group 2 Mooney Valley Cup to ensure his dominance in the Spring Carnival.
Eager punters made their way through the gates at Flemington ahead of the first race at 12.20pm, where the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained Kaizad won in a boilover.
The crowd continued to swell leading into the feature race over 2500m at 4.20pm, with AFL stars Toby Greene and Bailey Smith spotted letting their hair down with other VIP guests.
Meanwhile, at Rosehill in Sydney’s west, Japanese entrant Obamburumai stormed home to claim the $10million Golden Eagle ahead of Pericles and Golden Mile.
In a chaotic finish, jockey Joshua Parr found some room when it mattered, bolting to the winning post to leave his overseas connections elated.