Darley Classic

The 2018 Darley Classic (formerly known as the VRC Sprint Classic and the Patinack Farm Classic) is a Group 1 race that takes place at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne each November.

2018 Darley Classic Results

  • 1st: TBD
  • 2nd: TBD
  • 3rd: TBD

Run under weight-for-age conditions, the Darley Classic is contested over a distance of 1,200 metres on the famous Flemington straight and is worth $1 million in prize money. The Darley Classic is held on Emirates Stakes Day, which is the final day of the four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival. The race takes place alongside the Group 1 Emirates Stakes and is one of the two Australian legs of the Global Sprint Challenge.

The first Darley Classic was run in 1868 when it was won by a horse named Gulnare. Throughout the running of the Darley Classic it has changed in name and distance on numerous occasions. The race began as a six furlongs race until it was changed to seven furlongs in 1887. The Darley Classic increased in distance again in 1908 when it was changed to eight furlongs. The distance was then reduced gradually until it became today’s 1,200 metres in 1992.

The Darley Classic was first run as a Principal Race until 1979 when it was granted Group 2 status. The race became a Group 1 when it took over the role from the Salinger Stakes, which was downgraded to a Group 2. The Darley Classic was originally known as the Flying Stakes and underwent many different name changes throughout its history until becoming the Darley Classic in 2008. The Darley Classic was not held from 1942-1944 due to World War 2. In 2013, the name was changed from Patinack Farm Classic to VRC Sprint Classic. In 2014, the name was again changed to the Darley Classic.

Horses that compete in the Darley Classic often come via the Group 1 Moir Stakes on Cox Plate Day or the Group 2 Salinger Stakes on Derby Day. Notable winners of the Darley Classic include Carbine (1888-89), Amounis (1926-27,1929), Phar Lap (1930), Chatham (1931-33), Ajax (1937-38), Noholme (1959), Sky High (1962), Vain (1969), Redelva (1988,1990), Sequalo (1994), Belle Du Jour (2001), Choisir (2002), Fastnet Rock (2004), Miss Andretti (2007), All Silent (2009) and Black Caviar (2010).

Darley Classic Field

2018 Darley Classic Field

The 2018 Darley Classic field will be published here.

No Last 10 Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Penalty Hcp Rating
1 1x2124x151 REDZEL Peter & Paul Snowden Kerrin McEvoy 8 58.5kg 118
2 1270×33281 BRAVE SMASH (JPN) Darren Weir Craig Williams 10 58.5kg 114
3 6x0311x516 SANTA ANA LANE Anthony Freedman Mark Zahra 5 58.5kg 115
4 100x11x00x REDKIRK WARRIOR (GB) David & B Hayes & T Dabernig Regan Bayliss 11 58.5kg 118
5 106x111x10 JUNGLE CAT (IRE) Charlie Appleby William Buick 2 58.5kg 116
6 21122×1291 PIERATA Gregory Hickman Tommy Berry 3 58.5kg 110
7 1130×24243 KEMENTARI James Cummings Glyn Schofield 9 58.5kg 110
8 x828863x22 SPIRIT OF VALOR (USA) Aidan O’Brien Wayne Lordan 12 58.5kg 108
9 0x70200x00 INTELLIGENCE CROSS (USA) Aidan O’Brien Damian Lane 4 58.5kg 102
10 0x45291x90 U S NAVY FLAG (USA) Aidan O’Brien Ryan Moore 13 58kg 115
11 x320130x99 FLEET REVIEW (USA) Aidan O’Brien James McDonald 6 58kg 106
12 112x139x37 IN HER TIME Kris Lees Corey Brown 7 56.5kg 113
13 x108661x34 SPRIGHT Garry Frazer Damien Oliver 14 56.5kg 106
14 6x712x3275 INVINCIBLE STAR Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott Stephen Baster 1 56.5kg 107

The Group 1 Darley Classic is the top echelon of sprint racing in Australia so it’s no surprise that the Darley Classic field is always brimming with talent. It’s a race that is talked about all year and if a horse is to be good enough to gain a start it needs to have proved itself early on and show genuine speed. While consistency and courage count for a little bit, when it comes to the Darley Classic nothing counts more than sheer turn of foot.

For many people there’s no better sight in Australian racing than the 1200m straight track test down the Flemington main straight. There’s nowhere to hide in a race like this and any horses which may have been having a run of luck to get them here will soon be found out. That’s not to say riding tactics and stamina don’t come into the race at all though, timing is just as crucial in a direct line as it is around a bend. It is certainly a lot more difficult though and it’s always best to look for jockeys who have proven straight track success. The same goes for the horses as well obviously, those with experience over 1200m at Flemington certainly tend to stand out in the Darley Classic field.

2018 Darley Classic Nominations

The 2018 Darley Classic nominations were officially announced on Tuesday, September 25th.

The 2018 Darley Classic nominations are provided below.

No. Last 10 Horse Sex Age Trainer
1 1213x350x ADDICTIVE NATURE H 4 Darren Weir
2 2531x66x11 BALL OF MUSCLE G 8 Joseph Pride
3 140x5620x4 BONS AWAY G 5 Ciaron Maher & David Eustace
4 2316x1474x BOOKER M 4 Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra
5 x531270x33 BRAVE SMASH (JPN) H 6 Darren Weir
6 35x42x123 CHARGE C 3 Chris Waller
7 3231x7644x CHAUTAUQUA G 8 Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes
8 3x385x666x CLEARLY INNOCENT G 7 Kris Lees
9 6x03122x3x COOL PASSION M 7 Tony McEvoy
10 0505x37x12 ELLICAZOOM M 5 David & B Hayes & T Dabernig
11 632x128x1x FAATINAH G 6 David & B Hayes & T Dabernig
12 9x680x598x FELL SWOOP G 7 Matthew Dale
13 0x05612x62 FIRST AMONG EQUALS G 7 Darren Weir
14 408x42054x FLAMBERGE G 9 Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra
15 92x320130x FLEET REVIEW (USA) H 4 Aidan O’Brien
16 336x71531x HAVASAY G 6 Toby Edmonds
17 1x1230x214 HOME OF THE BRAVE (IRE) G 7 James Cummings
18 79x3160x2x HOUTZEN M 4 Toby Edmonds
19 2x11133x24 I AM EXCITED M 4 David Pfieffer
20 20x267x05x ILLUSTRIOUS LAD G 7 Peter Gelagotis
21 3x112x139x IN HER TIME M 6 Kris Lees
22 610x70200x INTELLIGENCE CROSS (USA) H 5 Aidan O’Brien
23 1x43215x14 INVINCIBELLA M 5 Chris Waller
24 13x350397x INVINCIBLE GEM M 5 Kris Lees
25 1x6x712x32 INVINCIBLE STAR M 4 Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott
26 2106x111x1 JUNGLE CAT (IRE) H 7 Charlie Appleby
27 12967x200x KEEN ARRAY G 6 David & B Hayes & T Dabernig
28 11130×2424 KEMENTARI H 4 James Cummings
29 x273x70x73 KEMONO (JPN) H 4 Darren Weir
30 x74232x172 LE ROMAIN G 6 Kris Lees
31 13310×15 LEAN MEAN MACHINE C 3 Chris Waller
32 x1670x730x MALAGUERRA G 7 Peter Gelagotis
33 171x1230x9 MICA LIL M 5 Mark Minervini
34 8x14x5131x MISS LEONIDAS M 4 Shaun Dwyer
35 729x37820x MISSROCK M 5 Robbie Laing
36 11x241111x NATURE STRIP G 4 Darren Weir
37 1x13121x15 OSBORNE BULLS G 5 James Cummings
38 15x579115x PERAST H 4 Paul Perry
39 1x1L0x37x PERFORMER C 3 Chris Waller
40 100x11x00x REDKIRK WARRIOR (GB) G 8 David & B Hayes & T Dabernig
41 11x2124x1x REDZEL G 6 Peter & Paul Snowden
42 x6x0311x5x SANTA ANA LANE G 6 Anthony Freedman
43 71192x614x SAVANNA AMOUR M 5 Chris Meagher
44 21x81x1x3x SHOALS M 4 Anthony Freedman
45 11×11 SMART MELODY F 3 Kris Lees
46 1x11x2244x SNITTY KITTY M 5 Henry Dwyer
47 005x05593x SO SI BON G 5 David & B Hayes & T Dabernig
48 04x828863x SPIRIT OF VALOR (USA) H 5 Aidan O’Brien
49 2x326x121x TACTICAL ADVANTAGE G 5 Kris Lees
50 12142 THORONDOR C 3 Robbie Laing
51 0x14311x3x TRAPEZE ARTIST H 4 Gerald Ryan
52 5201034x4x TRUE EXCELSIOR (NZ) M 4 Leon & Troy Corstens
53 x41500x251 TULIP M 4 David & B Hayes & T Dabernig
54 110x45291x U S NAVY FLAG (USA) H 4 Aidan O’Brien
55 1257x8x14x VEGA MAGIC G 6 David & B Hayes & T Dabernig
56 5x43830x4x VIRIDINE H 4 James Cummings
57 45x001212x VOODOO LAD G 7 Darren Weir
58 1x1114x1 WRITTEN BY C 3 Grahame Begg
59 146122×42 ZOUSAIN C 3 Chris Waller

Darley Classic Form Guide

The great thing about showpiece events such as this is that it’s always easy to get a good early read when it comes to the Darley Classic form guide. All of the horses have to have shown class throughout the year so you can find and view the lead up races for all the top hopes. Obviously the difficulty that poses is knowing that every horse in the field is of Group 1 level. For that reason always judge a horses efforts based around the quality of horses it was against and what those horses went on to do in their next runs.

When it comes to the Darley Classic form guide there are a couple of events which usually seem to work the best. The Group 2 Schweppes Stakes at Moonee Valley is one such event which attracts a fair quantity of horses looking forward to this one. It is held on many people’s favourite day of racing, Cox Plate Day. It is run over the same 1200m trip however there is a bend on the course. The other option is the Group 2 Salinger Stakes which is held on Derby Day at the same Flemington track. That race is actually a perfect replica of the Darley Classic except for the fact it’s run under handicap conditions as opposed to weight for age.

Darley Classic Betting

It’s the biggest sprinting Group 1 of the spring carnival so naturally the Darley Classic betting race is just as highly rated. Punters have had plenty of time to see their favourites in action during the carnival so they can justify their chances with plenty of evidence to back up their claims. This also creates an environment where short priced favourites aren’t overly uncommon, the form horse of the carnival is still likely to be the form horse in this event. This is further backed up by the fact weight for age conditions naturally favour the classiest of runners.

One factor which can confuse things slightly is the fact the lead up events are mostly handicap races. This means a horse may be beaten as a top weight in an earlier race but then receive a significant reduction coming into the Darley Classic. Some horses are known for not really handling big weights so it’s certainly a factor not to be ignored in the betting markets. For those people looking to place a bet remember to look further afield than simply your local TAB. Online betting agencies regularly battle for your dollar and at the end of the spring carnival this battle often gets more intense than ever meaning there’s more in it for you.

Darley Classic Odds

As was mentioned previously the Darley Classic odds are no sure thing and every year the market will be drastically different depending on that years sprinting results. The vast majority of these horses will run against each other throughout the season though so bookies tend to have a pretty good idea of what’s going on. This creates an environment where favourite backers thrive and this race is renowned for throwing up a few short priced runners.

That being said though Australia is considered a haven for sprinting talent and every year the country seems to churn out more and more top class short distance runners. While some years there will be an absolute freak which blows everyone out of the water others it can be a lot more difficult to separate those battling at the top of the ratings. Always have a look at the Darley Classic odds very carefully and consider every horse not just the top runners. Track conditions play a big part in straight track events and a horse may find itself bogged down badly is its susceptible to wet tracks. That could either mean a roughies previous form is worth dismissing or it could place a question mark on a favourite if it’s wet on race day.

Darley Classic Tips

On the surface a 1200m straight test seems like one of the more easy assignments in racing but as has been discussed getting good Darley Classic tips covers a lot of factors. The number one starting points previous form, if a horse is yet to produce a good result against this company before it’s hard to back it at Group 1 level. Second is track conditions, is the surface wet or is it dry and which horses have the best record on the different ratings. If the skies open above Flemington on the day of the race that becomes even more important.

The other areas which you need to look at are perhaps not as crucial but can help you split a couple which you fancy. Straight track form is a big one, just as a jockey might get lost in a straight line so too can a horse, either going too early or not knowing when to go at all. Finally prep lengths, this race comes in November and if a long campaign has dampened a horses turn of foot you can call it game over. Luckily one area which isn’t an issue is the barrier draw.

Darley Classic Day

It’s the final day of the Melbourne spring racing carnival and the last Group 1 event held in Melbourne for the year. As a result it’s not surprising that the crowds are always out in force for Darley Classic day and the atmosphere is electric. It’s always held on the Saturday after the Melbourne Cup so with the majority of people off work and the thrill of the race that stops the nation still fresh in their minds horse racing always takes centre stage.

It is not the only Group 1 one on the card though, in fact the official name for the program is Emirates Stakes Day. Not surprisingly the Emirates Stakes is the co-feature event in what is one of the most imposing race meetings anywhere in the country. Both events carry a $1 million prize pool, the Emirates Stakes a 1600m test under handicap conditions.

In 2011 changes were made to the Darley Classic structure and horses can now earn an extra $600,000 bonus. The bonus is available to any horse which has won another Global Sprint Challenge race that season or who goes on to win one next season. The Darley Classic is the second last leg of the Global Sprint Challenge for the calendar year, a series which has ten legs spanning across four countries including:

Gr1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes – Flemington Racecourse – Australia – January
Gr1 Dubai Golden Shaheen – Meydan – UAE – March
Gr1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen – Chukyo – Japan – March
Gr1 KrisFlyer International Sprint – Kranji Racecourse – Singapore – May
Gr1 King’s Stand Stakes – Royal Ascot – England – June
Gr1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes – Royal Ascot – England – June
Gr1 Darley July Cup – Newmarket Racecourse – England – July
Gr1 Sprinters Stakes Nakayama Racecourse – Japan – October
Gr1 Darley Classic – Flemington Racecourse – Australia – November
Gr1 Hong Kong Sprint – Sha Tin Racecourse – Hong Kong – December

Darley Classic Results

In a race which crowns the best sprinter at weight for age level in the country it’s not surprising that some absolute champions feature on the winners list. Many of these horses have gone on to world domination and the $600,000 bonus structure will only encourage future champions to do the same. It will also attract the very best global sprinters with a view to picking up a very handy cheque.

Going back to back in the Darley Classic is something which has proved very difficult, in fact the last horse to do it was Planet Ruler way back in 1989 / 1990. Since then the champions have kept on coming with the likes of Gold Ace in 1996 and Rubitano in 2002. After that came Takeover Target which won in 2004 before conquering the UK as well. Miss Andretti strode a similar path after her win in 2007. In 2010 though came arguably the best ever, Black Caviar adding the Darley Classic to an unbeaten winning streak stretching all the way back to her debut.

Past Winners & Results

Here you will find a list of results for the Darley Classic (formerly VRC Sprint Classic) since 2000.

Year Results Winning Time
2018 1 TBD 2 TBD 3 TBD TBD
2017 1 Redzel 2 Terravista 3 Impending 1:08.7
2015 1 Delectation 2 Chautauqua 3 Terravista 1:10.0
2014 1 Terravista 2 Chautauqua 3 Lankan Rupee 1:08.8
2013 1 Buffering 2 Shamexpress 3 Moment Of Change 1:10.4
2012 1 Mental 2 Sea Siren 3 Halloween Belle 1:07.9
2011 1 Black Caviar 2 Buffering 3 Mid Summer Music 1:08.3
2010 1 Black Caviar 2 Star Witness 3 Ortensia 1:07.9
2009 1 All Silent 2 Wanted 3 Bank Robber 1:08.7
2008 1 Swick 2 Turffontein 3 Sunburnt Land 1:11.0
2007 1 Miss Andretti 2 Gold Edition 3 Stanzout 1:08.9
2006 1 Dance Hero 2 Shadoways 3 Miss Andretti 1:08.6
2005 1 Glamour Puss 2 Barely A Moment 3 Cape Of Good Hope 1:08.9
2004 1 Takeover Target 2 Recurring 3 St Basil 1:08.2
2003 1 Ancient Song 2 Into The Night 3 Blessum 1:11.0
2002 1 Rubitano 2 Intelligent Star 3 Cosmic Strike 1:07.1
2001 1 Sudurka 2 Hire 3 Camena 1:08.4
2000 1 Easy Rocking 2 Umrum 3 Tilt The Scales 1:10.0