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Image: Bruno Cannatelli
Last years VRC Sprint Classic winner Santa Ana Lane

VRC SPRINT CLASSIC

* $1 million Group One, 1200m, weight-for-age sprint race

* Run as race five at Flemington on Saturday, November 9, 2.50pm (AEDT)

HISTORY

* 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

NOTABLE WINNERS

* Vain (1969), Century (1973), Special (1988), Takeover Target (2004), Miss Andretti (2007), Black Caviar (2010, 2011) Buffering (2013), Redzel (2017), Santa Ana Lane (2018)

TALKING POINTS

* Anthony Freedman-trained Santa Ana Lane could be the first horse to defend the Sprint Classic title since Black Caviar

* Santa Ana Lane is the clear favourite fresh off his last-start second to Yes Yes Yes in the $14 million Everest

* Chris Waller’s on-pacer Nature Strip was fourth in that race and sits on the second line of betting

* In Her Time and Alizee didn’t run a place in the Everest and will be looking to improve

* A Manikato-Sprint Classic double is on offer for Loving Gaby, with Cup-winning jockey Craig Williams retaining the ride

* Rock Magic and The Bostonian were fourth and fifth to Loving Gaby in the Manikato

* Field has shrunk to nine from 14 last year

* No trainer has more than one runner

WHAT THE KEY PLAYERS ARE SAYING

“The small field is a little query and so is the rain that’s around but we couldn’t have him healthier and going better. If he’s in touch with them at the furlong pole and the track is not too rain-affected then it’s probably his race to lose” – Assistant trainer Sam Freedman on Santa Ana Lane

“I think if the track can be a good four to a five, you’ll probably see the same horse we probably saw a month ago” – Zoutori’s co-trainer Simon Zahra

 
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