VRC Sprint Classic
The VRC Sprint Classic is regarded as one of if not the premier sprint race of the Melbourne spring carnival. It is held on Stakes Day, the final meet of the four-day Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington. It is also the last chance for Australia's crack sprinters to secure a nice winner's cheque before being sent for a spell over summer.
First run in 1960, the VRC Sprint Classic was given Group One status in 1979, where it has remained since. Although it is commonly known by its current sponsor's name, the race is actually registered as the Victoria Racing Club Stakes.
Only three horses in the history of the race have managed to go back-to-back. The most famous of these is champion sprinter Black Caviar, who won the 2010 and 2011 editions as part of her 25 unbeaten starts.
The VRC Sprint Classic couldn't be any more different from the Manikato, which is the other feature sprint race of the Melbourne spring.
While the Manikato is held under lights at the narrow, tight-turning Moonee Valley track, the Darley is held in (typically) bright sunshine, as the field run arrow-straight up the long and wide Flemington straight.
This "straight six" course is unique to Flemington in Australia, and always adds a distinctive quality to the sprint races held here.
As it is the last day of the carnival, the grass near the inside rail is often of poorer quality, causing the jockeys to lead their mounts to the grandstand side.
2017 VRC Sprint Classic
Last year's edition of the race saw the field split between the running rail and grandstand sides.
It was the horses on the grandstand side who had the better of it, with all placings coming from here. Dual Everest champion Redzel claimed first prize, ahead of the fast finishing Terravista and Impending.