The 2017 Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) will be held at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday, November 11.
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Horses aged three-years-old and above line up in the Darley Classic, a standard weight-for-age sprinting feature. It takes place down the ‘Straight Six’ at Flemington which is the 1200m (or six furlongs) straight run which offers a challenge to some runners who are used to racing around a bend.
The race was first held in 1960 when taken out by Karina when the race was known as the Craven ‘A’ Stakes. It has had a number of name changes throughout its history with recent editions being known as the Salinger Stakes, The Age Classic, Patinack Farm Classic, VRC Sprint Classic and now the Darley Classic.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the distance of the event which remains at 1200m.
Carrying $1 million in prizemoney, the race attracts the best sprinters in Australia and on occasion, it has seen international sprinters compete.
The Darley Classic is one of two Group 1s held on the last day (fourth) of the Melbourne Cup Carnival – the other is the Emirates Stakes (2000m) which is why the day is often referred to as Stakes Day or Emirates Stakes Day.
Malaguerra is the most recent winner of the racing after narrowly defeating an unlucky Spieth in 2016. The five-year-old gelding was trained by Peter Gelagotis and ridden by Ben Melham.
The immortal Black Caviar is a two-time winner of the Darley Classic having claimed the 2010 and 2011 editions of the race as part of her legendary career in which she was unbeaten in 25 starts.
Other notable winners of the Darley Classic include Vain (1969), River Rough (1983-84), Planet Ruler (1989-90), Hareeba (1994), Takeover Target (2004), Glamour Puss (2005), Miss Andretti (2007), Black Caviar (2010-11) and Buffering (2013).
In recent years the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) held at Moonee Valley Racecourse two weeks earlier has been the best guide with many of the runners coming out of that race and contesting the Darley Classic.
The Group 1 AJ Moir Stakes (1000m) also held at Moonee Valley five weeks before the Darley Classic and three weeks before the Manikato Stakes is another good form guide for punters to assess.
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