VRC Sprint Classic Race Information

The VRC Sprint Classic (Darley Classic) is a 1200 metre weight-for-age race for three-year-olds and upwards held by the Victoria Racing Club. It is run on the straight course at Flemington in November on the Saturday after the Melbourne Cup.

  • Race Type: Group 1
  • Distance: 1200 metres
  • Conditions: Weight-for-age, 3YO & upwards
  • Track: Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, Victoria
  • Prizemoney: $3,000,000
  • Date: Saturday 11 November 2023

VRC Sprint Classic Race History

See the 2023 Champions Sprint Preview & results

See the 2022 Champions Sprint Preview & results

See the 2021 VRC Sprint Classic Preview & results

The VRC Sprint Classic is a difficult race to trace through history because it has changed from a handicap to weight-for-age and moved its position in the Spring Carnival as well as its name. It was first run as the Hallmark Stakes over 6 furlongs (about 1200 metres) in 1960 and was won by Karina. From 1961 to 1979 it was the Craven A Stakes then 1980 to 1985 it was the Pure Pak Stakes. From 1986 to 1993 it was the Gadsden Stakes, 1994 the Southcorp Packaging Stakes, then 1995 to 2006 the Salinger Stakes.

Originally run as a handicap on Derby Day, in 2007 the sprint was changed to weight-for-age and moved to Emirates Stakes Day where it was renamed the Patinack Farm Classic and was won by Miss Andretti. The name of Salinger Stakes was moved to a Group 2 1200 metre race still held on Derby Day. The Patinack Farm Classic is now called the VRC Sprint Classic or Darley Classic.

The VRC Sprint Classic is the premier weight-for-age sprint of the Melbourne spring carnival and since 2008 it has been a leg of the Global Sprint Challenge. The Global Sprint Challenge is a series of ten Group 1 sprints in Australia, England, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai which gives Australian horses recognition in international racing.

Useful Facts

Last mare to win; Roch ‘N’ Horse (2022), Black Caviar (2011)

Last 3YO to win: C&G – Scamanda (1974); Filly – Pharein (1999)

Multiple winners: Nature Strip (2021 & 2019); Black Caviar (2010 &2011); Planet Ruler (1989 & 1990); River Rough (1983 & 1984)

Fastest time (1200m): Rubitano (2002) 1:07:17

Interesting trivia: 1969 winner Vain was the sire of 1981 winner Zegna.

Past winners of the VRC Sprint Classic

As the race is held on the Flemington straight course it is a true speed test. Over the years it has been won by some of Australia’s top sprinters including Vain (1969), Century (1973), Special (1988), Hareeba (1994), Takeover Target (2004),  Miss Andretti (2007) and Black Caviar. Only three horses have won it more than once with Black Caviar in 2010 and 2011, Planet Ruler in 1989 and 1990 and River Rough in 1983 and 1984. Black Caviar is the only multiple winner since it became weight-for-age.

Year Winner Second Third
2023 Imperatriz Buenos Noches In Secret
2022 Roch ‘N’ Horse Nature Strip Baller
2021 Nature Strip Swats That Bella Nipotina
2020 Bivouac Nature Strip Libertini
2019 Nature Strip Loving Gaby In Her Time
2018 Santa Ana Lane In Her Time Jungle Cat (equal 3rd)
Pierata (equal 3rd)
2017 Redzel Terravista Impending
2016 Malaguerra Spieth Fell Swoop
2015 Delectation Chautauqua Terravista
2014 Terravista Chautauqua Lankan Rupee
2013 Buffering Shamexpress Moment Of Change
2012 Mental Sea Siren Hallowell Belle
2011 Black Caviar Buffering Mid Summer Music
2010 Black Caviar Star Witness Ortensia
2009 All Silent Wanted Bank Robber
2008 Swick (NZ) Turffontein Sunburnt Land
2007 Miss Andretti Gold Edition Stanzout
2006 Dance Hero Shadoways Miss Andretti
2005 Glamour Puss (NZ) Barely A Moment Cape Of Good Hope (GB)
2004 Takeover Target Recurring St Basil
2003 Ancient Song Into The Night Blessum
2002 Rubitano Intelligent Star Cosmic Strike
2001 Sudurka Hire Carmena
2000 Easy Rocking Umrum Tilt The Scales

From the archives

2018 VRC Sprint Classic Preview & Tips:

Track: Good   Weather: Fine

There are 14 runners in the $1,000,000 Darley Classic. Eight of them had their last start in the Manikato Stakes on 26 October and three in The Everest on 13 October. The early favourite is 2017 winner Redzel who comes from a win in the Everest, just like he did last year. Second favourite is Pierata who has 6 wins and 5 places from 14 starts and comes off a 2.8 length win in the Group 3 Sydney Stakes over this distance. Third favourite is Kementari who charged home late out wide for 3rd in the Manikato.

Santa Ana Lane ran 6th in the Everest after being bumped at the start and checked at the home turn, following a tough win in the Group 2 Premiers Stakes. Spirit Of Valor was a close 2nd in the Manikato following 2ndd in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes. Jungle Cat ran 13th in the Toorak Handicap but before that won the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and had 3 wins in Dubai. All other runners are currently 10 to 1 or longer.

The following are the top 4 selections from our tipster panel for this years race.

Jo’s Tips
Mick’s Picks
Ed’s Choice
1 Redzel
3 Santa Ana Lane
6 Pierata
2 Brave Smash