VRC SPRINT CLASSIC
* $1 million Group One, 1200m, weight-for-age sprint race. Run at Flemington on Saturday, November 10, 4.10pm (AEDT)
* First run in 1960 as the Craven ‘A’ Stakes and won by Karina with numerous changes to the race name since
* A Group One since 1979, it switched from Derby Day to the last Cup-week meeting, Emirates Stakes Day, in 2007
* It’s one of the major spring sprints and falls 15 days after the Manikato Stakes sprint at Moonee Valley, Australia’s richest night race.
* Only three four-year-olds have won the Sprint Classic since 2000 including Delectation (2015), Mental (2012) and Black Caviar (2010) while no three-year-old has won the race since Pharein in 1999
* The 2010 VRC Sprint Classic was Black Caviar’s first Group One victory and eighth in her 25 race winning streak, with the famed mare going on to win the race again in 2011
* Vain (1969), Century (1973), Special (1988), Takeover Target (2004), Miss Andretti (2007), Black Caviar (2010, 2011) Buffering (2013) and Redzel (2017)
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* Redzel is aiming for a second VRC Sprint in a row after triumphant back to back wins in the Everest (1200m) at Randwick, with this years’ Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy on board.
* Greg Hickman trained Pierata will get a chance to tackle Redzel, after the equal favourite missed out on the Everest
* The 14-strong field also includes Manikato Stakes winner Brave Smash and eight-year-old Redkirk Warrior
* Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien will saddle four of the five international runners in the field. His USA-born team competed in the Manikato Stakes with the best performer being runner-up Spirit of Valour
* Fresh off their first Melbourne Cup win, Godolphin and UK trainer Charlie Appleby will give seven-year-old Jungle Cat his last race before retiring the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes winner to stud in Ireland
* Godolphin are also backing Kementari, the James Cummings-trained four-year-old which also placed in the Manikato and the past five starts.
* Jockey Mark Zahra has picked up the ride on triple Group One winner Santa Ana Lane after regular jockey Ben Melham was suspended for his ride on runner-up Stars of Carrum in the Victoria Derby
WHAT SOME OF THE KEY PLAYERS ARE SAYING
* “I trialled him last week and he flew along … he can’t be going any better” -Kerrin McEvoy on Redzel
* “He hasn’t been down the straight so it’s a bit of a question but he is a horse who does everything you ask him to. My main concern is how the track will play and if they all go to the same side” – Greg Hickman on Pierata
* “This is his swan song. He’s been a yard favourite … It will be tough for him but one thing about him, he won’t lie down” – Charlie Appleby on Jungle Cat