Sandown celebrates racing gold

Kerrin McEvoy on Au Revoir battles the current toast of Melbourne, Michelle Payne and Prince of Penzance, in last year's Zipping Classic. 130849 Picture: JARROD POTTER


CELEBRATING its golden anniversary, the Sandown Racecourse is set to shine on Saturday 14 November as the best in the business cap off the Spring Racing Carnival in style.
Spring racing won’t be the only reason to get down to the Springvale-based horse-racing track – now named William Hill Park – as the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) will pop the champagne in honour of a memorable 50 years at the course.
Sandown has been popular since its inaugural race meet on 19 June 1965, as 52,379 people welcomed the fourth Melbourne metropolitan racecourse to the greater racing community.
The Journal reported at the time the 3.5 million pound course was “the culmination of some 17 years intensive planning, the result of which has meant a completely ‘new deal’ for racing patrons with refinements such as totalisator windows in the concourse bars atop the grandstand, which have an uninterrupted view of the track”.
With 11 winter race meets relocated on account of extensive track-works over the time-frame of the actual anniversary, the course will instead celebrate its 50th birthday at the upcoming Spring Carnival Race Day.
Topping the form guide are the must-watch Group 2 races, the Zipping Classic and the Sandown Guineas, which will run alongside the Sandown Cup before the crowning of the Spring Champion Jockey and Trainer.
Renamed to honour the champion stayer that picked up four crowns consecutively from 2007-10, the Zipping Classic 2400m was picked up by Au Revoir last year ahead of Epingle and this year’s Melbourne Cup winner Prince of Penzance.
The Spring Carnival Race Day will feature nine races across the day and include family friendly activities with MRC mascot Clip Clop, from noon to 4pm at the Front Lawn.