Darley Classic

Darley Classic

Group One Betting Guide
Date: Saturday November 5, 2022
Location: Flemington Racecourse
Prize Money: $3,000,000
Distance: 1200m

The VRC Sprint Classic, also known as the Darley Classic, is a group one thoroughbred race for horses three years and under. It operates under a weight for age restriction and is raced over a distance of 1200 meters at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne on the last day of the VRC Spring Carnival. Connections compete for a total prize pool of $1 million

The VRC Sprint Classic is seen as one of the major sprints on the Australian racing calender.

Over the years the VRC Sprint Classic has changed names more often than not. It started out in 1960 as the Craven “A” Stakes as a principal race. In 1979 it changed to the Pure-Pak Stakes and became a Group 1 race. After several other name changes in 2008 it became known as the Patinack Farm Classic before settling on the VRC Sprint Classic.

2022 Darley Classic betting odds

Who will join Nature Strip on the VRC Sprint Honour Roll

The 2022 VRC Sprint Classic odds as of August 9 look like this:

  • Nature Strip – $2.80
  • Classique Legend – $8.00
  • Mazu – $8.00
  • Eduardo – $9.00
  • Lost And Running – $11.00
  • Artorius – $15.00
  • Elite Street – $15.00
  • In The Congo -$15.00
  • Masked Crusader – $15.00

Complete VRC Sprint Classic odds available at Ladbrokes.

Best bookies to bet on the VRC Sprint Classic

When betting on the VRC Sprint Classic, we like to trust our action with one of the following online bookies because they have a great reputation for safety, promotions and terrific odds on races.

United States Sport Table

Sport Table


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Most successful jockeys and trainers

James McDonald is the only Jockey to have won the Darley Classic three times with the most recent running on Nature Strip.

Five jockeys have won the VRC Sprint Classic two times with Darren Gauci, Michael Clarke, Jimmy Cassidy, Greg Childs, and Stephen King having all done it. Others to have won the race include Kerrin McEvoy, who also has two seconds and a third to his name, Danny Nikolic and Chris Munce.

Peter Moody and Bart Cummings sit atop the training ranks with three wins each in the feature, with Moody’s record of a second and two thirds from 15 starts one of the better ones in the race’s history.

Most successful horses in the VRC Sprint Stakes

Black Caviar has left a lasting legacy in the Darley Classic. (Racing Photos)

There have only been four horses to win the VRC Sprint Classic on more than one occasion including the most successful mare of all time, Black Caviar.

Trained by Peter Moody, the legendary Black Caviar won the Sprint Classic in 2010 and 2011. A little piece of trivia is that Black Caviar won her two VRC Classics with two different jockey’s: her usual jockey Luke Nolen (2011) and Ben Melham in 2010 while Nolen was serving a suspension. Black Caviar was trained by Peter Moody.

Besides the current Darley Sprint champion Nature Strip and the most successful mare of all time Black Caviar no one had won this race twice for over 30 years, Planet Ruler went back-to-back in 1989 and 1990. The first multiple winner of the VRC Sprint Classic was River Rough in 1983 and 1984.

2022 VRC Sprint Final Field

The field for the 2022 VRC Sprint is set to be released on Wednesday, November 2, 2022.


Previous VRC Sprint Fields

Plenty of Group 1 sprinting sensations have won the VRC Sprint. Check the previous fields of the VRC Sprint out here.

  • No. Silks Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight
    1 Nature Strip Chris Waller James McDonald 2 58.5kg
    2 Streets Of Avalon Shane Nichols Zac Spain 1 58.5kg
    3 Splintex Mark Newnham Kerrin McEvoy 5 58.5kg
    4 Samizdat Chris & Michael Gangemi Damian Lane 3 58.5kg
    5 September Run Chris Waller Craig Williams 4 56.5kg
    6 Bella Nipotina Ciaron Maher & David Eustace Jye McNeil 6 56.5kg
    7 Swats That Leon & Troy Corstens Hugh Bowman 9 56.5kg
    8 Shaquero Chris Waller Craig Newitt 8 53.5kg
    9 Ranch Hand Chris Waller Brett Prebble 7 53.5kg
  • No. Silks Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight
    1 Santa Ana Lane Anthony & Sam Freedman Ben Melham 7 58.5kg
    2 Nature Strip Chris Waller Hugh Bowman 9 58.5kg
    3 Bivouac James Cummings Glen Boss 6 58.5kg
    4 Hey Doc Tony & Calvin McEvoy Luke Currie 3 58.5kg
    5 Graff Danny O’Brien Damian Lane 1 58.5kg
    6 Zoutori Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra Jamie Kah 4 58.5kg
    7 Standout Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou Craig Williams 8 58.5kg
    8 Tofane Michael Moroney Jye McNeil 2 56.5kg
    9 Libertini Anthony Cummings Damien Oliver 5 56.5kg
    10 Fabergino Tiarnna Robertson Jordan Childs 10 56.5kg

2021 VRC Sprint Classic result


1stNature Strip ($1.28)
2ndSwats That ($3.70)
3rdBella Nipotina ($1.90)

Recent VRC Sprint Classic runs

  • All eyes were on Nature Strip to make history and win this race twice alongside Legendary Black Caviar. Jumping out of the gates as a $1.28 favourite there wasn’t much doubt in the seven-year-old Gelding after the dominant performance in THE Everest win three weeks prior to the Darley Classic. Nature Strip and James McDonald showed the reason for it as he led the race the entire way winning by 3.25 Lengths, putting Nature Strip in the history books of winning the great sprint twice and making James McDonald the most successful jockey to compete in this race claiming his third win.
  • It was a day to remember for Godolphin and Glen Boss when Bivouac displayed a stunning performance in the VRC Sprint. With Nature Strip setting up the race for a backmarker to finish over the top of him, it was Bivouac who displayed a stunning turn of foot to right past the Strip and claimed Group 1 success in fine fashion. It was all over bar the shouting with 150m with Bossy upright in the saddle in utter disbelief in Bivouac’s performance.
  • Nature Strip and James McDonald gave their rivals next to no chance in the 2019 Darley Classic in a performance for the ages. Having jumped and led from the barriers, the Strip was being cuddled by JMac up until the 200m mark where he then went for home and managed to put some five-lengths on his closest rival. The win was arguably one of the most dominant performances in the history of this race.
  • In what has become a common occurrence from Santa Ana Lane, the market slept on the gun sprinter heading into another Group 1. Last year’s winner Redzel firmed right in the market on the day of the race and travelled nicely but the race panned out beautifully for Santa, which burst to the front at the 50m and sustained a strong run to the line record a fourth Group 1 victory from a brave In Her Time.
  • Redzel confirmed itself as the best sprinter in Australia after winning the 2017 Darley Classic. Fresh off winning The Everest at Randwick, the quality winner of 11 from 21 starts went straight to the lead on the outside rail and was never headed in the run to the line. Terravista produced a big effort for second and Chautauqua ran well for fourth.
  • Peter Gelagotis scored his first win with Malaguerra in the Darley Classic after the horse changed stables during the winter. The five-year-old proved too strong for its rivals down the Flemington straight, winning at odds of $8.60 over the fast-finishing Spieth and Fell Swoop. Read full report.
  • Delecation ($14) caused a bit of a boil-over by beating field favorite, Chautauqua ($1.90), who notched up consecutive second placings, and 2014’s winner Terravista ($9.50). Delecation was ridden by jockey James McDonald and trained by Chris Waller.
  • Terravista ($10), ridden by Hugh Bowman and trained by Joe Pride, ploughed through a pack to defeat Chautauqua ($2.45) and Lankan Rupee ($5).
  • Buffering ($11), trained by Robert Heathcote and ridden by Hugh Bowman managed to beat the “Boom Brothers”, Temple of Boom ($41) ran second, followed closely by Spirit of Boom in third.

Previous VRC Sprint Classic winners

VRC Sprint Classic Past Winners
Year Horse Jockey Trainer
2021 Nature Strip James McDonald Chris Waller
2020 Bivouac Glen Boss James Cummings
2019 Nature Strip James McDonald Chris Waller
2018 Santa Ana Lane Mark Zahra Anthony Freedman
2017 Redzel Kerrin McEvoy Peter & Paul Snowden
2016 Malaguerra Ben Melham Peter Gelagotis
2015 Delectation James McDonald Chris Waller
2014 Terravista Hugh Bowman Joseph O’Brien
2013 Buffering Damian Browne Robert Heathcote
2012 Mental Kerrin McEvoy Peter Snowden
2011 Black Caviar Luke Nolen Peter Moody
2010 Black Caviar Ben Melham Peter Moody
2009 All Silent Nicholas Hall Grahame Begg
2008 Swick Michael Rodd Bart Cummings
2007 Miss Andretti Craig Newitt Lee Freedman
2006 Dance Hero Chris Munce Gai Waterhouse
2005 Glamour Puss Steven King Danny O’Brien
2004 Takeover Target Jay Ford Joe Janiak
2003 Ancient Song Scott Seamer Peter Moody
2002 Rubitano Nash Rawiller Brian Mayfield-Smith
2001 Sudurka Danny Nikolic Brian Mayfield-Smith
2000 Easy Rocking Jim Cassidy Ron Quinton

VRC Sprint Classic Past Winners Pre 2000

VRC Sprint Classic Past Winners Pre 2000
Year Horse
1999 Pharein
1998 Flavour
1997 Notoire
1996 Gold Ace
1995 Brawny Spirit
1994 Hareeba
1993 Alishan
1992 Unspoken Word
1991 Final Card
1990 Planet Ruler
1989 Planet Ruler
1988 Special
1987 Sky Filou
1986 Taj Quillo
1985 Lord Ballina
1984 River Rough
1983 River Rough
1982 Forgone Conclusion
1981 Zegna
1980 Watney
1979 Rooney
1978 Always Welcome
1977 Galway Bay
1976 Maybe Mahal
1975 Miss Lockleys
1974 Scamanda
1973 Century
1972 Beaches
1971 Welsh Prince
1970 Dual Choice
1969 Vain
1968 Snub
1967 Iga Ninja
1966 Marmion
1965 Picca
1964 Star Of Heaven
1963 Ripa
1962 Samson
1961 Bengal Tiger
1960 Karina
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