The 2017 Darley Classic is one of two Group 1 events at Flemington on Saturday and the title of the best sprinter in Australia will be on the line once again.
Redzel beat the majority of this field to win The Everest, but straight racing represents another challenge and this race is absolutely packed full of horses that have had previous success at Group 1 level.
Can Redzel extend his winning streak or will Chautauqua reclaim his title?
We have analysed every horse in this Group 1 event and our complete 2017 Darley Classic tips can be found below.
It has been a frustrating campaign for the connections of Chautauqua. He produced the best closing sectionals on the race and simply ran out of time in The Everest before he was controversially scratched at the barriers before the running off the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes. You can never rule him out, but the way that the Flemington straight has been playing doesn’t really suit him and he will need plenty of luck in running to find the right lanes. I am happy to take him on at the current price in this race.
Redzel won a Listed race at Flemington on Oaks Day 12 months ago and there has been no horse in the country that has taken bigger strides over the past year. He has simply run his rivals into the ground in the Concorde Stakes, The Shorts and The Everest and there is no reason that he can’t do that again. He has drawn perfectly and his outstanding gate speed should ensure that Kerrin McEvoy can find the outside rail of him. If he does that he will be extremely tough to run down and he is the horse to beat.
It is tough to know what to make about Vega Magic following his poor last start effort in the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes. There is no doubt that he did have excuses, but he was still entitled to to perform better than he did in the final stages of the race. His run in The Everest was nothing short of outstanding and he was unlucky not to win and all of his other runs for the Lindsay Park team have been excellent. There is no doubt that he is one of the leading contenders, but I can’t get him as short as his current price on the back of his last start effort.
Terravista has been freshened-up since he failed to fire in the Moir Stakes first-up. Even his best might not be good enough to win a Darley Classic of this quality and he simply isn’t racing at that level anymore.
Malaguerra won this race 12 months ago and he returned to his best form with a fast-finishing effort in the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes. He is a consistent horse that generally rates at a similar level. In weak Group 1 races that is enough for him to get the job done, but he simply doesn’t have the same upside as the likes of Chautauqua, Redzel, Vega Magic or even Redkirk Warrior.
Impending is one of the most interesting horses in the 2017 Darley Classic field. He finished his Winter campaign with a maiden Group 1 victory in the Stradbroke Handicap and he absolutely savaged the line when he finished a close second in the Sydney Stakes. He is a horse that I have a very big opinion of and he could develop into our next big sprinter, but I’m not sure if this is the right race for him. He maps to get a long way back in the early stages and he will need plenty of luck to find the right lane. $8 is the right price.
Redkirk Warrior is the value selection in the 2017 Darley Classic field. His two previous runs down the famous Flemington straight have been nothing short of outstanding – he made history when he won the Newmarket Handicap first-up in the Autumn and he smashed the clock when he bolted in in the Bobbie Lewis Quality. He has not been able to replicate that form in Sydney, but you simply can’t knock his straight track credentials. His best form gives him a genuine chance in this race and he is over the odds at $10.
Clearly Innocent returned to the races with a nice effort in the Premiere Stakes, but he was outclassed in The Everest. He needs a wet track to be competitive in a Group 1 event of this quality.
Rock Magic was thereabouts in a fairly low-rating edition of the Moir Stakes and he was beaten soundly in the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes. He is a tough, old horse, but he is another that isn’t up to this level at this stage of his career.
Spieth was unlucky not to win the Darley Classic 12 months ago, but he isn’t going anywhere near as well in 2017. He could hardly have been flatter when he beat home only one horse in the Gilgai Stakes and he never threatened in the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes. I can’t have him in this race.
Man From Uncle
Man From Uncle is on the quick back-up following a fairly lacklustre effort in the Multiplier Stakes on Victoria Derby Day. He is a horse I have an opinion of and he won both the Eskimo Prince Stakes and Hobartville Stakes in the Autumn, but it is tough to back him in a race of this quality off his last start effort.
In Her Time
In Her Time has been ultra-consistent this preparation. She won the Premiere Stakes and Sydney Stakes in very impressive fashion before she was only narrowly denied a maiden win at Group 1 level in the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes. You can’t knock her form and she really has developed into an outstanding mare, but there is no value at her current price.
Missrock looked set to return to winning form in the Multiplier Stakes on Victoria Derby Day, but Rich Charm was able to finish over the top of her late. Has never shown anything to suggests that she is capable of winning a race of this quality.
Super Cash returned to the races with an excellent win in the Schillaci Stakes, but she was beaten a long way in the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes. Her first-up run is always the best of her preparation and she generally goes backwards after that.