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Darley has secured naming rights to the Melbourne Cup Carnival’s premier sprint, which has been renamed the Darley Classic.

Previously known as the VRC Sprint Classic and Patinack Farm Classic, the $1 million Darley Classic (1200m) on Emirates Stakes Day is the penultimate leg of the Global Sprint Challenge.

Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Acting Chief Executive Julian Sullivan thanked Darley for its ongoing support.

“The Group 1 Darley Classic has grown into one of the world’s great international sprints and one of the Carnival’s most anticipated features, so it’s the perfect fit for an international breeding operation of Darley’s standing,” Mr Sullivan said.

“It is an exciting development in terms of promotion for Darley in Australia. Darley is a global brand and the VRC’s Melbourne Cup Carnival carries enormous international significance. We are delighted to be associated with a signature event during the most important racing week in the Australian calendar, particularly a race that is a part of a recognised global challenge,” said Darley Australia Managing Director Henry Plumptre.

The VRC offers a $600,000 bonus for any horse that has also won an international leg of the 2014 Global Sprint Challenge, making for a potential $1.2 million winner’s cheque.

Slade Power, who has recently claimed two legs of the Global Sprint Challenge after winning the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket and Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot, is set to make the trip this year in a bid to claim the bonus – a feat champion Hong Kong sprinter and race favourite, Lucky Nine, was unable to accomplish last year.

To do so the Irish stallion, who will stand at Darley’s Kildangan Stud in Ireland next season, is likely to have to overcome the world’s highest rated sprinter, Lankan Rupee, winner of three Group 1s at his past three starts.

Since the race became weight-for-age in 2007 it has been won by champions Black Caviar (twice) and Miss Andretti, along with class sprinters All Silent and Mental.

Darley, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Global breeding operation, has been a VRC partner since 2004.

 
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