, Darley Classic - Flemington Racecourse - Spring Racing Carnival
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VRC Sprint Classic

The VRC Sprint Classic is a Group 1 weight-for-age race held at Flemington racecourse during the Melbourne spring racing carnival in November. The race is run over a distance of 1200 metres and worth $2,000,000 in prize money. The 2019 VRC Sprint Classic was won by Nature Strip from Loving Gaby with In Her Time third.

The VRC Sprint Classic race conditions altered in 2007 when it changed from a 'handicap' to 'weight-for-age' and the race was moved to Emirates Stakes Day to align with the Global Sprint Challenge.

This change complemented the addition of the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (formerly Ascot Vale Stakes) for three-year-olds onto the Derby Day program. The race now attracts the best sprinters available, including well performed three-year-olds from the Coolmore Stud Stakes.

It's been run as the 'Age Classic' and 'Patinack Farm Classic' in recent years and currently goes around as the 'Darley Classic'.

VRC Sprint Classic info

Date: Saturday 6th November 2021
Track: Flemington racecourse, Melbourne
Distance: 1200 metres
Race Type: Weight-for-age
Status: Group 1
Prize Money: $2,000,000
2019 Winner: Nature Strip
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The VRC Sprint Classic has changed in recent times to make it more attractive to international horses as part of the Global Sprint Challenge, and it also provides a good race for three-year-olds who back up after contesting the Coolmore Stud Stakes over the same course and distance on Derby day.

Run down the Flemington straight course with no turns involved, the VRC Sprint Classic is a true speed test where stamina is also required to run out a strong 1200 metres. It has been won by some of Australia's best sprinters over the years. Races such as the Group 1 Manikato Stakes on Cox Plate eve and the Gr2 Linlithgow Stakes on Derby Day are ideal lead up races to this event.

The VRC Sprint Classic is a the premier weight-for-age sprint race of the Fleminton spring racing carnival and interestingly enough the winner has broken the Flemington 1200 metres track record multiple times since 1991, which shows the type of class required to claim this event.

To win the VRC Sprint Classic, a horse has to possess both speed to take up a prominent position and strength at the finish when the pressure is on and it's no surprise that only high class gallopers win this event, as history certainly shows.

Brilliant gallopers to to win the VRC Sprint Classic include Buffering (2013), Black Caviar (2010-11), Miss Andretti (2007), Takeover Target (2005), Hareeba (1994), Special (1988), River Rough (1983-84), Maybe Mahal (1976), Century (1973) and Vain (1969).

Buffering travelled to Perth later in the month to win the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes over 1200m at Ascot racecourse.

Santa Ana Lane (2018) ran sixth in the Sydney Sweepstakes race over 1200m at Randwick before returning to Melbourne to win this Group 1 event in slashing style for trainer Anthony Freedman.

Recent VRC Sprint Classic winners include Redzel (2017) and Malaguerra (2016).

2019 VRC Sprint Classic result

1. $3.60 Nature Strip 58.5 James McDonald
2. $7.50 Loving Gaby 51.5 Craig Williams
3. $12.00 In Her Time 56.5 Brenton Avdulla

then followed
4. $10.00 Alizee 56.5 Hugh Bowman
5. $2.15 Santa Ana Lane 58.5 Mark Zahra
6. $20.00 Zoutori 58.5 Damian Lane
7. $91.00 Malibu Style 58.5 Damien Oliver
8. $41.00 The Bostonian 58.5 Dwayne Dunn
9. $71.00 Rock Magic 58.5 Jarrad Noske

Margins: 3.25 len, 0.75 len
Time: 1:09.23

Global Sprint Challenge

The VRC Sprint Classic Stakes is the second-last leg of the 'Global Sprint Challenge' which is a series of ten sprint races run in Hong Kong, Australia, England, Japan, Singapore and Dubai. The Australian legs of the series are the Group 1 Lightning Stakes held at Flemington in January and the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic held on the final day of the Flemington spring carnival in November.

Global Sprint Challenge races

Group 1 Lightning Stakes - Flemington - Australia - January
Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen - Meydan (Dubai) - March
Group 1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen - Chukyo (Japan) - March
Group 1 Chairman's Sprint Prize - Sha Tin (Hong Kong) - May
Group 1 King's Stand Stakes - Royal Ascot (England) - June
Group 1 DIamond Jubilee Stakes - Royal Ascot (England) - June
Group 1 July Cup - Newmarket - (England) July
Group 1 Sprinters Stakes - Nakayama (Japan) - October
Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic - Flemington (Australia) - November
Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint - Sha Tin (Hong Kong) - December

The Champion Sprinter trophy is awarded to the connections of the horse that accumulates 42 points or more in a single season, and participates in challenge races in at least three countries. Challenge winners since the Global Series inception have been Cape of Good Hope (2005), Takeover Target (2006), Miss Andretti (2007) Apache Cat (2008), Scenic Blast (2009) and Starspangledbanner (2010).

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VRC Sprint Classic winners & placegetters

Year Winner 2nd 3rd Time
2019 Nature Strip Loving Gaby In Her Time 1:09.2
2018 Santa Ana Lane In Her Time Pierata/Jungle Cat 1:08.6
2017 Redzel Terravista Impending 1:08.7
2016 Malaguerra Spieth Fell Swoop 1:10.2
2015 Delectation Chautauqua Terravista 1:10.0
2014 Terravista Chautauqua Lankan Rupee 1:08.7
2013 Buffering Shamexpress Moment Of Change 1:10.3
2012 Mental Sea Siren Hallowell Belle 1:09.0
2011 Black Caviar Buffering Mid Summer Music 1:08.3
2010 Black Caviar Star Witness Ortensia 1:07.9
2009 All Silent Wanted Bank Robber 1:08.7
2008 Swick Turffontein Sunburnt Land 1:11.0
2007 Miss Andretti Gold Edition Stanzout 1:08.9
2006 Dance Hero Shadoways Miss Andretti 1:08.6
2005 Glamour Puss Barely A Moment Cape Of Good Hope 1:08.9
2004 Takeover Target Recurring St Basil 1:08.2
2003 Ancient Song Into The Night Blessum 1:11.0
2002 Rubitano Intelligent Star Cosmic Strike 1:07.1
2001 Sudurka Hire Camena 1:08.4
2000 Easy Rocking Umrum Tilt The Scales 1:10.0
1999 Pharein Toledo Cannyanna 1:07.9
1998 Flavour Scandinavia Towkay 1:09.5
1997 Notoire Rock You Flavour 1:11.1
1996 Gold Ace Seika Masked Party 1:07.5
1995 Brawny Spirit Sword Racers Edge 1:08.4
1994 Hareeba Khaptingly Royal Discard 1:09.2
1993 Alishan Keltrice Primacy 1:08.6
1992 Unspoken Word Tanjian Prince Ghost Story 1:10.6
1991 Final Card Barrosa Boy Mr Tiz 1:07.8
1990 Planet Ruler Redelva Gypsy Rogue 1:08.1
1989 Planet Ruler Heavenly View Glenview 1:08.3
1988 Special Prismatic Star Our Westminster 1:09.9