Champions Sprint 2022

Saturday November 5, 2022

Ladbrokes Tip: The Manikato Stakes has produced many recent VRC Sprint Classic winners

The Group 1 $3 million VRC Sprint Classic – currently run as the Champions Sprint – is a 1200m sprint feature held on VRC Champions Stakes Day (formerly Mackinnon Stakes Day) on the Saturday after Melbourne Cup Day in early November each Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.

The marquee race for short distance stars during the carnival, the weight-for-age feature is one of the headline events on the final day of the four-day Cup Carnival and has held elite level status since 1979. It is has recently been run as the Darley Classic due to sponsorship.

In 2021 the event was renamed the Champions Sprint.

The inaugural winner in 1960 was Karina and since then top-line sprinters to win the race include: Hareeba (1994), Takeover Target (2004), Miss Andretti (2007) and of course the mighty mare Black Caviar (2010 & 2011).

The Champions Sprint takes place down the famous Flemington Racecourse ‘Straight Six’ and is the key support act at the meeting that is highlighted by the Group 1 VRC Champions Stakes (2000m) – formerly the Mackinnon Stakes.

In 2022 the VRC Champions Stakes Day card will also feature the Group 1 $3 million Champions Mile (1600m) – formerly the Kennedy Cantala – moved from the Derby Day meeting the Saturday prior.

The other standout race on the card is the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) offering a bonus to the winner if they had been balloted out of that year’s Melbourne Cup field.

The Champions Sprint now serves as a key follow-up for sprinters out of the world’s richest turf race, the $15 million The Everest (1200m) run at Royal Randwick in October.

In 2017 the inaugural The Everest winner Redzel continued on to take out the Darley Classic. The following three VRC Sprint Classic winners also came off a run in The Everest with Santa Ana Lane (6th in 2018), Nature Strip (4th in 2019) and Bivouac (2nd in 2020).

In 2021 Nature Strip became the latest horse to complete The Everest –  Darley Sprint Classic double when winning the latter for a second time.

Nature Strip further franked the form heading to Royal Ascot in June of 2022 to win the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (1200m) in the UK.

The 2022 Champions  Sprint runs on 2022 as part of the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. 

2022 Champions Sprint Results

The official VRC Sprint Classic 2022 Results & Finishing Order – now known as the Champions Sprint Results – for the Flemington sprint classic will be available below once the race takes place on Saturday November 5, 2022.

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

Champions Sprint Race Info

  • Former Race Names: VRC Sprint Classic, Darley Classic
  • Date: Saturday November 5, 2022
  • Track: Flemington Racecourse
  • Distance: 1200m
  • Conditions: Weight-for-age
  • Status: Group 1
  • Prize Money: $3 million
  • First Run: 1960

Champions Sprint Betting

Redzel wins Darley Classic

Redzel confirmed himself as Australia’s best sprinter that year after taking out the 2017 Darley Classic. Photo by

Champions Sprint betting markets first open with the early nominations a couple of months out from race day and offer juicy ante-post prices on the possible runners in the sprint classic.

Futures Champions Sprint odds are always generous but some punters prefer to wait until the field is out before getting behind their favourites.

Horses that ran well in their lead-up Group start usually dominate the odds as plenty of recent VRC Sprint Classic winners came off a lead-up win including Buffering (2013) and Redzel (2017) who did The Everest – Darley Classic double. Nature Strip became history’s second The Everest – Darley Sprint Classic champion in 2021.

Sprinters that ran well in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley a fortnight earlier usually sit high up the Champions Sprint odds online as the race produced three of the five winners from 2012-16 including Buffering (2013) who did the double.

Redzel ($4 in 2017) followed by Bivouac ($3.20 in 2020) and the very short-priced Nature Strip ($1.28 in 2021) are the latest favourites in Champions Sprint betting to salute for the punters.

2022 Champions Sprint Odds

The season’s updated VRC Sprint Classic 2022 betting odds – known for the first time in 2022 as the Champions Sprint odds – and links to our markets on the Flemington Group 1 sprint will be available here once available so stay tuned for the best prices on your Champions Sprint tips this spring.

Early market betting odds on the 2022 Champions Sprint will be displayed below once available. Odds are subject to fluctuation. For current odds on all of our live markets, please visit

Champions Sprint Tips

Champions Sprint tips are led by in-form spring sprinters with previous form down the famous Flemington straight. Previous Group 1 winners and those coming off a good run in the Manikato Stakes in the lead-up also make good Champions Sprint betting tips.

Other smart tips on the Champions Sprint are to look for horses that won their lead-up race, come off a run in The Everest in Sydney and have drawn an inside alley as just two horses since 2006 have won from a double digit barrier with Mental (10 in 2012) and Malaguerra (11 in 2016).

The Everest has proved the best lead-up race into the VRC Sprint Classic / Champions Sprint in recent years producing all five winners from 2017-21 most recently in 2021 with Nature Strip completing the double for Chris Waller.

2022 Champions Sprint Tips

Our Ladbrokes’ insider Champions Sprint 2022 betting tips and Flemington racing selections will be detailed below the week of the race so stay tuned for the short-distance specialists to back and sack this spring.

  • To Win: TBD

Champions Sprint Field

The VRC Sprint Classic field – now known as the Champions Sprint field – has attracted big numbers plenty of recent editions of the Group spring showdown, but Black Caviar scared off her rivals in 2010 and 2011 defeating just six other contenders for her back-to-back victories.

The Champions Sprint field is made of the season’s best sprinters and traditionally features Manikato Stakes graduates, with the last to complete the Manikato – Darley Classic double being Buffering (2013).

Final Champions Sprint acceptances close the Wednesday before the race while the early nominations close in September and usually feature over 50 entries.

2022 Champions Sprint Field

The official Champions Sprint 2022 Final Field & Barriers are set for release on Wednesday November 2, 2022 at 9:30am (local time) and will be published below once out so bookmark this page to view the top sprinters set to do battle in the Flemington feature.

2022 Champions Sprint Nominations

The Champions Sprint Nominations for 2022 close the week of the race and the full list of early Champions Sprint entries will be available below once released by Racing Victoria.

Champions Sprint Form Guide

The VRC Sprint Classic form guide – now referred to as the Champions Sprint form guide – has all the basic information you need to know before placing your bets on the classic like the starting positions of all the runners, their jockeys and trainers.

A good form guide on the Champions Sprint also shows the lead-up form of the hopefuls, their win / place percentages and track / distance records so you can sort through who to back and who to sack on race day.

When doing the form on the Champions Sprint race it is key to look for graduates out of the Manikato Stakes, proven Flemington performers and sprinters with previous Group 1 wins on their record.

Champions Sprint Form Facts

  • Favourites in betting had a poor record until Redzel (2017), Bivouac (2020) and Nature Strip (2021) all saluted for the punters in recent years
  • The Manikato Stakes is the key form race to follow into the Flemington Group 1 with Buffering (2013) the last to do the double
  • The Everest winner Redzel (2017) became the first horse to win the event off a non-Melbourne lead-up since Takeover Target (2004);
  • Santa Ana Lane (2018), Nature Strip (2019 and 2021) and Bivouac (2020) also franked Sydney’s The Everest form winning off a lead-up in the world’s richest turf race; Nature Strip also completed The Everest – Darley Classic double in 2021
  • Swick (2008) and Nature Strip (2021) are the only seven-year-old VRC Sprint Classic winners from the past 30 years

2022 Champions Sprint Form Guide

A link to the comprehensive Champions Sprint 2022 Form Guide on all Champions Sprint Horses will be available below the week of the race.

VRC Sprint Classic / Champions Sprint Results

The VRC Sprint Classic results – known from 2022 onwards as the Champions Sprint results – show the exact finishing order of all the starters plus any horses scratched from the original field.

Along with the VRC Sprint Classic / Champions Sprint winner, winning time and margin you can also see the starting price of all the horses once the results are out when the event runs as part of the new look VRC Champions Stakes Day card.

There have been plenty of upset VRC Sprint Classic results in recent years including Delectation ($13 in 2015) and Buffering ($11 in 2013).

Notable recent VRC Sprint Classic winners include: the super speedy dual champion Nature Strip (2019, 2021), Santa Ana Lane (2018), subsequent two-time The Everest winner Redzel (2017), Terravista (2014) who also ran second in the 2017 edition three years later, Black Caviar (2010-11), Miss Andretti (2007) and Dance Hero (2006).

VRC Sprint Classic / Champions Sprint Winners

Year Winner 2nd 3rd Time
2021 Nature Strip Swats That Bella Nipotina 1:08.7
2020 Bivouac Nature Strip Libertini 1:08.6
2019 Nature Strip Loving Gaby In Her Time 1:09.2
2018 Santa Ana Lane In Her Time DH: Pierata, Jungle Cat 1:08.6
2017 Redzel Terravista Impending 1:08.7
2016 Malaguerra Spieth Fell Swoop 1:10.2
2015 Delectation Chautauqua Terravista 1:10.0
2014 Terravista Chautauqua Lankan Rupee 1:08.7
2013 Buffering Shamexpress Moment Of Change 1:10.3
2012 Mental Sea Siren Hallowell Belle 1:09.0
2011 Black Caviar Buffering Mid Summer Music 1:08.3
2010 Black Caviar Star Witness Ortensia 1:07.9
2009 All Silent Wanted Bank Robber 1:08.7
2008 Swick Turffontein Sunburnt Land 1:11.0
2007 Miss Andretti Gold Edition Stanzout 1:08.9
2006 Dance Hero Shadoways Miss Andretti 1:08.6
2005 Glamour Puss Barely A Moment Cape Of Good Hope 1:08.9
2004 Takeover Target Recurring St Basil 1:08.2
2003 Ancient Song Into The Night Blessum 1:11.0
2002 Rubitano Intelligent Star Cosmic Strike 1:07.1
2001 Sudurka Hire Camena 1:08.4
2000 Easy Rocking Umrum Tilt The Scales 1:10.0