| Interesting AAMI Derby Facts|
Last year's crowd of 101,898 was a record for AAMI Derby Day - the favourite first day of the four-day VRC Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington racecourse.
AAMI Vase-Derby achievers
The AAMI Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday (October 25) has been a major guide to results of the AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington.
However, in 22 races since its inception, only last year's outstanding colt Helenus, plus Blevic (1984) and Raveneaux (1986) have achieved the double.
Placed horses have continued their good form by winning the AAMI Derby, these being Second Coming (3rd, 1997), Portland Player (3rd, 1996), Mahogany (3rd, 1993) and King's High (2nd, 1988).
AAMI Vase winners to have been placed in the AAMI Derby are Diatribe (3rd, 1999), Alfa (equal 2nd, 1996), Donar (3rd, 1995), Naturalism (2nd, 1991), Zamoff (2nd, 1989) and Big Grey Roo (3rd, 1988). In 2000, Universal Prince was runner-up in both races.
Last year, Helenus won four successive races - the Stutt Stakes at Moonee Valley, Caulfield Guineas, AAMI Vase and AAMI Victoria Derby, becoming the first horse to achieve this feat.
Cox Plate-AAMI Derby doubles
The weight-for-age Cox Plate (2040m), run at Moonee Valley on the same day and over the same distance as the AAMI Vase for three-year-olds, has not produced an AAMI Derby winner since 1984.
The last dual winner was the champion chestnut colt Red Anchor, trained by Tommy Smith.
Other dual winners have been Taj Rossi (1973), Daryl's Joy (1969), Alister (1950), Delta (1949) and Manfred (1925).
In 1995, the John Hawkes youngster Octagonal won the Cox Plate before finishing second to Nothin' Leica Dane in the AAMI Derby.
It is now 80 years since a filly has won the AAMI Victoria Derby. Frances Tressady was the last winner in 1923. Fillies are rarely entered, despite receiving 2.5kg less weight than the males, but mainly due to their own staying test opportunity five days later in the VRC Oaks. However, three fillies are among this year's early acceptors - Brillanti (Bruce Wallace), Pentirely (Cliff Brown) and Shamekha (Gai Waterhouse).
Between 1931 and 1956, geldings were not permitted to enter the AAMI Derby. The reason is unclear but it followed the wins of the mighty chestnut Phar Lap (1929) and Johnnie Jason (1931) - both being geldings. Since the restriction was lifted, colts have dominated the honour roll, while winning geldings have been Savoy (1967), Silver Sharpe (1970), Stormy Rex (1977), Dulcify (1978), Star Of The Realm (1991), Mahogany (1993) and Hit The Roof (2000).
Champion international jockey Arthur Breasley, who gained his nickname "Scobie" from the surname of 1900s trainer James Scobie, rode two AAMI Victoria Derby winners - San Martin (1944) and Advocate (1952).
"Scobie", 89, lives in Melbourne, and is the oldest living rider of an AAMI Derby winner.
30th year since back-to-back victories
Eleven times Victorian premiership winner Roy Higgins remains as the last jockey to score successive victories in the AAMI Victoria Derby.
"The Professor" won on the colts Dayana and Taj Rossi in 1972-73, respectively, also giving Bart Cummings the last back-to-back training honours. Their predecessors were jockey Geoff Lane and trainer Brian Courtney, who combined with New Statesman and Coppelius for their 1961-62 victories.
Melbourne jockey Steven King won last year's AAMI Derby on Helenus, while winning trainer Leon Corstens is a non-participant this year due to a suspension.
Jockeys chasing a treble
Several jockeys have the chance of winning their third AAMI Derby trophy in 2003.
Dual victories have been scored by Steven King (Helenus, 2002; Star Of The Realm, 1991), Damien Oliver (Amalfi, 2001; Redding, 1992); Greg Childs (Blackfriars, 1999; Second Coming, 1997) and Jim Cassidy (Omnicorp, 1987; Handy Proverb (1985).
Glen Boss (Hit The Roof, 2000), Larry Cassidy (Arena, 1998) and Shane Dye (Nothin' Leica Dane, 1995) have had single wins.
Following the father
The Bart Cummings trained 1987 AAMI Derby winner Omnicorp was the last to be sired by a previous race victor. Omnicorp's sire Grosvenor won the race in 1982.
Last season's leading jockey Kerrin McEvoy and dual premiership winner Brett Prebble had their first taste of AAMI Derby placings with a second (Hydrometer) and third (Ain't Here), respectively, last year.
Darren Beadman's best result was as runner-up on Tie The Knot in 1997, while fellow Sydney jockeys Chris Munce (Falls The Shadow, 2000) and Corey Brown (Pentastic, 2001) have had third placings.
The AAMI Derby has been a good race for Shane Dye, who won in 1995 on Nothin' Leica Dane, but also had placings in 1994 (Stony Bay, 3rd), 1998 (Lawyer, 3rd), and 1999 (2nd Shogun Lodge).
Since metrics were introduced and the AAMI Derby was lengthened to 2500 metres in 1973, the fastest race was in 1991 when Star Of The Realm (Steven King) won in 2min. 33.6 sec. on a fast track.
Six of the past nine AAMI Derbys have been run on good rated tracks. The last heavy track was in 1975 when Galena Boy (John Hawkes-John Letts) won in 2min. 44.4 sec.
Since, the best times per rating have been: Fast - Star Of The Realm (2:33.6 rec. in 1991); Good - Amalfi (2:34.63 in 2001); Dead - Redding (2:40.0 in 1992); Slow - Second Coming (2:36.37 in 1997). From 1976 to 1991 inclusive, the race was run on fast tracks.
Since 1973 when the AAMI Derby distance was lengthened by 100 metres to 2500 metres, the barriers one (successively 1993-94), two, seven and eight have provided four winners each.
The most successful outside barrier is 14 (successively 1997-98) with three winners, while barriers three and nine have not produced the winner.
Last year's winner Helenus started from barrier eight.
Geelong Derby-AAMI Derby wins
Since 1960, three horses have won the Geelong Derby Trial (2200m)-AAMI Derby (2500m) double - Haymaker (Colin Hayes) in 1974, Dayana (Bart Cummings) in 1972 and Tobin Bronze (Graeme Heagney) in 1965.
The Gai Waterhouse trained Stony Bay was the last Geelong Derby winner to be placed in the AAMI Derby when third to Blevic in 1994. AAMI Derby winners to have placed in the Geelong event include Omnicorp (3rd, 1987), Bounty Hawk (2nd, 1983) and Big Print (3rd, 1979).