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Spring Carnival 2015 Flemington fairytale captures world’s fascinationTHE Flemington carnival has captured the imagination of world racing in an unprecedented way — not because a foreigner won, but because a bunch of locals upstaged them.

The Victoria Racing Club’s new chief executive Simon Love said the staggering response to the Melbourne Cup win of Prince Of Penzance garnered “staggering exposure and great stories” and counteracted a drop in attendances over the four days because of wet weather.

The win by Michelle Payne, the first female to win the Cup in the 155-year history of the great race, made international headlines and inspired television, radio and print media mania.

The fact that the race was won by an iron horse who has overcome four leg operations, colic and a twisted bowl to defeat what was regarded as the strongest Cup in history, was another fairytale.

Add the jubilation of his first Cup win by jovial trainer Darren Weir, and the horde of owners from Stawell headed by Sandy McGregor, and the news items seemed endless.

“For a local win it was extraordinary coverage”, Love said. “You can’t manufacture the excitement, the media coverage, that goes with this year’s Cup win.”

Love said “all things considered” he was happy with the four-day extravaganza.

“You have no control over 52mm tumbling down. It was tough, too, because on Derby Day, Oaks Day and Emirates Day it rained in the morning and probably had an impact on attendances.

Michelle Payne leaves the track at the end of the Emirates Stakes meeting. Picture: Wayne Ludbey

Michelle Payne leaves the track at the end of the Emirates Stakes meeting. Picture: Wayne LudbeySource:News Corp Australia

“On Derby Day we had 20000, on track at midday and when the day cleared we ended up with 86000.”

The, overall attendance was 313229, down 12290, on last year, but Love said that was a blip that had much to do with the poor weather.

The breakdown was 85943, on Derby Day, 100774, on Cup Day, 57750, on Oaks Day and 68711, at Saturday’s Emirates Day.

He said the quality of races again was outstanding. “They were good races, good contests. Top jockeys and trainers won, excellent horses won”, he said.

Other stories that grabbed attention was Cup favourite Red Cadeaux breaking down, dual Cup-winning jockey Jim Cassidy retiring and local trainers Mick Price (Tanzino) and Ciaron Maher (Jameka) winning the Derby and Oaks respectively.

Champion jockey Damien Oliver took the honours on the final day with three wins — his sixth for the carnival — when he won on Divan, Rhythm To Spare an Lucia Valentina.

He won the Ron Hutchinson Excellence Award for the fifth time in the 17-year history of the award. His Group 1 success was aboard Jameka in The Oaks.

The newly named J.B. Cummings Excellence Award went to Darren Weir for his outstanding carnival achievements.

Turn Me Loose and jockey Kerrin McEvoy (red cap) take out the Group 1 Emirates Stakes. Picture: Michael Klein

Turn Me Loose and jockey Kerrin McEvoy (red cap) take out the Group 1 Emirates Stakes. Picture: Michael KleinSource:News Corp Australia

The day’s Group 1 races went to Chris Waller and Murray Baker.

Baker’s charge Turn Me Loose won the Emirates Stakes, finishing his carnival on a high after his Caulfield Cup winner Mongolian Khan fell ill and couldn’t contest the Melbourne Cup.

Waller’s success was with Delectation, who downed odds-on favourite Chautauqua, in the Darley Classic. That added to his success with Japonisme in the Coolmore Stud Stakes.

Emirates Stakes 20150:46

Horse Racing: Caulfield Cup-winning trainer Murray Baker added the Group 1 $1 million Emirates Stakes to his spring haul after Turn Me Loose scored a tough win at Flemington.

Kerrin McEvoy celebrated his 50th Group 1 success when he landed Turn Me Loose while James McDonald collected his first Group 1 of the Flemington carnival with victory on Delectation.

Throughout the carnival, 481 horses competed in 37 races, representing an average field size of 13 runners. The four race cards, offering more than $17 million in prizemoney, saw 23 individual trainers enjoy victory, and 15 internationally-trained horses compete.

Michelle Payne poses for photos with fans on the final day. Picture: Jay Town

Michelle Payne poses for photos with fans on the final day. Picture: Jay TownSource:News Corp Australia

The carnival did not end well for several jockeys.

Ben Melham was suspended for 15 meetings for causing interference on the winner Dandino in the Group 3 Queen’s Cup (2600m), while Dom Tourneur received an eight-meeting holiday for causing interference on Okahu Bay in the Starlight Children’s Foundation Plate.

Blake Shinn copped a 12-meeting suspension for causing interference on Pacific Heights in the Starlight Childrens’ Foundation Plate.

And Chad Schofield was suspended for six meetings and fined $2000 for excessive whip use on He Or She in the Emirates.

Craig Williams copped a 12-meeting suspension for causing interference in the Starlight Children’s Foundation Plate.

Kerrin McEvoy reacts after riding the Murray Baker-trained Turn Me Loose to victory in the Emirates Stakes. Picture: AAP

Kerrin McEvoy reacts after riding the Murray Baker-trained Turn Me Loose to victory in the Emirates Stakes. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

FLEMINGTON CARNIVAL’S GROUP 1 WINNERS

Melbourne Cup: Prince Of Penzance, Darren Weir (Michelle Payne)

Mackinnon Stakes: Gailo Chop, Antoine De Watrigant (Ben Melham)

Coolmore Stud Stakes: Japonisme, Chris Waller (Glyn Schofield)

Myer Classic: Politeness, Robert Smerdon (Dwayne Dunn)

Derby: Tarzino, Mick Price (Craig Newitt)

Oaks: Jameka, Ciaron Maher (Damien Oliver)

Emirates Stakes: Turn Me Loose, Murray Baker (Kerrin McEvoy)

Darley Classic: Delectation, Chris Waller (James McDonald)

RELIVE OUR COVERAGE OF STAKES DAY IN THE WINDOW BELOW

THE CARD

Race 1: MARIBYRNONG PLATE (1000m) 12.20pm

Race 2: STARLIGHT CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION PLATE (2000m) 1pm

Race 3: QUEEN’S CUP (2600m) 1.40pm

Race 4: HILTON HOTELS & RESORTS STAKES (1400m) 2.20pm

Race 5: ANTLER LUGGAGE HANDICAP (1600m) 3pm

Race 6: DARLEY CLASSIC (1200m) 3.40pm Winner: DELECTATION

Race 7: EMIRATES STAKES (1600m) 4.20pm Winner: TURN ME LOOSE

Race 8: MATRIARCH STAKES (2000m) 5.05pm

Race 9: EMIRATES AIRLINE HANDICAP (1400m) 5.40pm

James McDonald raise his arms as the returns to scale aboard the Chris Waller-trained Delectation. Picture: AAP

James McDonald raise his arms as the returns to scale aboard the Chris Waller-trained Delectation. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

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