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DARLEY CLASSIC

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

HISTORY

* First run in 1960 and won by Karina. Group One since 1979.

* Held on Victoria Derby day until 2007 when it was switched to the final day of the Melbourne Cup carnival.

* Black Caviar won by four lengths in 2010, her first Group One. It was Ben Melham’s first and only ride on the champion mare.

* Notable winners: Vain (1969), Century (1973), Special (1988), Takeover Target (2004), Miss Andretti (2007), Black Caviar (2010, 2011) and Buffering in 2013.

TALKING POINTS

* The vintage crop of three-year-old sprinting colts including Astern, Extreme Choice and Star Turn opted to race against their own age group in the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes won by Flying Artie.

* Golden Slipper winner Capitalist was scratched from the Coolmore after suffering a stone bruise and has not recovered in time for Saturday’s race.

* Exciting Sydney sprinter Spieth won down the Flemington straight in June before returning to impressively win the Listed Lightning at Randwick on October 15.

* Can Lankan Rupee recapture the form which made him Australian racehorse of the year in 2013-14?

* Three of the past four Darley Classic winners’ lead-up race was the Manikato Stakes – Mental (2012), Buffering (2013) and Terravista (2014).

* Fell Swoop (2nd), Japonisme (3rd), The Quarterback (4th), English (equal 7th) and Holler (last) come out of the Manikato.

* Six mares have won since 1988 with Black Caviar the most recent. Two mares will run on Saturday – English and Sheidel.

FANCIED RUNNERS

* Last-start winner Our Boy Malachi is favourite after being supported from $6.50 into $4.60.

* Robbie Griffiths-trained Group One winner The Quarterback has been supported from $7.50 to $5.50 and shares favouritism with Canberra sprinter Fell Swoop has drifted to $6.50.

* If Lankan Rupee jumps at his current quote of $7, it will be his biggest starting price since he won the 2013 Kevin Heffernan Stakes paying $13.

* Schillaci Stakes runner-up Malaguerra has been backed from $13 to $8.50 during the week.

KEY COMMENTS

“I think the straight will suit him, albeit he’s never seen it and there’s always that question mark on it going there for the first time.” – Fell Swoop’s trainer Matthew Dale.

“Not at one stage did I think ‘I can’t wait to get down and run in that Darley Classic’ but that was definitely my long-range plan if he could do what he’s been doing.” – Trainer Bryce Heys on Spieth.

” I think he’s his old vibrant self and the only thing that may compromise him is that tough, hard race fitness.” – Trainer Mick Price on Lankan Rupee.

 
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