The Victoria Racing Club has announced that Darley will be the naming rights sponsors for the race formerly known as the VRC Sprint Classic during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
The feature sprinting event of the spring has had a variety of different names since it was first run in 1868 as The Flying Stakes and it was known as the Patinack Farm Classic from 2008 until 2012 before it was dubbed the VRC Sprint Classic last year.
Victoria Racing Club Acting Chief Executive Julian Sullivan revealed that the Group 1 event would now be known as the Darley Classic (1200m) and he was delighted to announce that Darley would now be associated with one of the feature events on the Australian horse racing calendar.
“The Group 1 Darley Classic has grown into one of the world’s great international sprints and one of the Carnival’s most anticipated features, so it’s the perfect fit for an international breeding operation of Darley’s standing,” Sullivan said.
Darley sponsor countless races in Australia and right around the world, including the Group 1 Australian Cup, but Darley Managing Director Henry Plumptre said that the new race name would give the Darley brand a great deal of exposure during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“It is an exciting development in terms of promotion for Darley in Australia,” Plumptre said.
“Darley is a global brand and the VRC’s Melbourne Cup Carnival carries enormous international significance.
“We are delighted to be associated with a signature event during the most important racing week in the Australian calendar, particularly a race that is a part of a recognised global challenge.”
The Darley Classic is set to be one of the most exciting races of the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival; with Lankan Rupee and the best sprinters in Australia set to do battle with leading English sprinter Slade Power.
Slade Power stamped himself as the best sprinter in Europe with wins in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1207m) on June 21 during the Royal Ascot Meeting and the Group 1 Darley July Cup (1207m) at Newmarket on July 12 and the Edward Lynam-trained galloper will be having his final race start in the Darley Classic before being retired to stand at stud.
He will need to be at his best to defeat Lankan Rupee, who is currently rated the best sprinter in the world after his string of Group 1 victories during his autumn campaign that concluded with an outstanding performance in the T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m).