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Top Performances of the 2020 Australian Horse Racing season

  • 2020 was a year like no other as Covid-19 took over the world
  • We are reviewing the top eight performances of 2020
  • Check out the first half of our list
Victoria Derby
Jockey Lachlan King riding Johnny Get Angry to win for trainer Denis Pagan in the Aami Victoria Derby (Getty Images for the VRC)
2020 was a year like racing had never seen before as the COVID-19 pandemic crossed the globe.

In a year we will never forget, we have seen performances we will never forget with explosive sprinting performances, brilliant rides and courageous staying efforts.

We have reviewed this years top performances and found out top eight wins of the 2020 calendar year.

Number 8.


Caulfield Cup - Verry Elleegant

The Chris Waller trained six-year-old mare stamped herself as a world class horse during the autumn carnival in Sydney, but only got better during the 2020 spring carnival.

After recording an outstanding win in the Group One Winx Stakes over 1400m first-up, she went on to win consecutive Group Ones in Melbourne taking out the Turnbull Stakes and Caulfield Cup.

Settling midfield off the rail, the mare with a feisty reputation was given a beautiful ride by Mark Zahra, bravely holding off the worldclass European raider Anthony Van Dyke.

Number 7.


Mackinnon Stakes - Arcadia Queen

After stamping herself as one of the countries best horses following her dynamic win in the Group One Kingston Town as a three-year-old, Arcadia Queen unfortunately didn't reach the heights expected of her as a four-year-old.

Returning to Melbourne in the spring off a 12 month layoff, there were plenty of people prepared to rule her out following her defeat to Russian Camelot on the Group One Underwood Stakes, however, once the bar plates came were removed prior to the Caulfield Stakes, she began to once again show what immense talent she possesses.

Starting well in the market in the Cox Plate, Arcadia Queen was severely hampered by the wet track and nearly even fell halfway through the race, however, returning to a dry track at Flemington for the Group One Mackinnon Stakes, she showed the racing world just how explosive she is.

Number 6.


Victorian Derby - Johnny Get Angry

Although there is no doubt this years Derby looked weak on paper leading into the race, the story surrounding Dennis Pagan and his transition from dual premiership winning AFL coach to Victorian Derby winning trainer is beyond belief.

Forging his career as an AFL coach with the reputation of being a hard nosed tough guy, the scenes of Pagan crying following the Derby would have shaken his former players.

Making his debut just six months prior, Johnny Get Angry stamped himself as a Derby hopeful when placing behind Cherry Tortoni at Flemington as a two-year-old, however, after being well beaten in the Moonee Valley Vase on Cox Plate day, he opened long-odds in the Derby.

Well known for his loyalty and trust in young athletes, Pagan stuck strong with jockey Lachlan King leading into the Derby, and with the blinkers applied for the first time, produced a memorable Derby wins.


Number 5.


TJ Smith Stakes - Nature Strip

After going down in a shock loss to Gytrash in the Group One Lightning Stakes at Flemington, Nature Strip returned to his brilliant best second-up at Rosehill, thrashing his opposition despite a heavy drift.

Stepping out third-up into the TJ Smith Stakes, Nature Smith stamped himself as arguably the worlds best sprinter at the time in a dominant win, replicating his amazing win in the VRC Sprint Classic just six months prior.

Jumping straight to the lead under James McDonald, the enigmatic sprinter produced one of the best performances of the autumn, smashing Santa Ana Lane and Redzel by two-lengths in heavy conditions.

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