Patinack Farm Classic

The 2013 VRC Sprint Classic (formerly known as the Patinack Farm Classic) is a Group 1 race that takes place at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne each November. Run under weight-for-age conditions, the VRC Sprint Classic is contested over a distance of 1,200 metres on the famous Flemington straight and is worth $1 million in prize money.  The VRC Sprint Classic is held on Emirates Stakes Day, which is the final day of the four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival. The race takes place alongside the Group 1 Emirates Stakes and is the Australian leg of the Global Sprint Challenge.

The first Patinack Farm Classic was run in 1868 when it was won by a horse named Gulnare. Throughout the running of the VRC Sprint Classic it has changed in name and distance on numerous occasions. The race began as a six furlongs race until it was changed to seven furlongs in 1887. The Patinack Farm Classic increased in distance again in 1908 when it was changed to eight furlongs. The distance was then reduced gradually until it became today’s 1,200 metres in 1992. The Patinack Farm Classic was first run as a Principal Race until 1979 when it was granted Group 2 status. The race became a Group 1 when it took over the role from the Salinger Stakes, which was downgraded to a Group 2. The Patinack Farm Classic was originally known as the Flying Stakes and underwent many different name changes throughout its history until becoming the Patinack Farm Classic in 2008. The Patinack Farm Classic was not held from 1942-1944 due to World War 2. In 2013, Patinack Farm Classic has changed it’s name to VRC Sprint Classic.

Horses that compete in the Patinack Farm Classic often come via the Group 2 Schweppes Stakes on Cox Plate Day or the Group 2 Salinger Stakes on Derby Day. Notable winners of the Patinack Farm Classic include Carbine (1888-89), Amounis (1926-27,1929), Phar Lap (1930), Chatham (1931-33), Ajax (1937-38), Noholme (1959), Sky High (1962), Vain (1969), Redelva (1988,1990), Sequalo (1994), Belle Du Jour (2001), Choisir (2002), Fastnet Rock (2004), Miss Andretti (2007), All Silent (2009) and Black Caviar (2010).

Patinack Farm Classic Field

The Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic is the top echelon of sprint racing in Australia so it’s no surprise that the Patinack Farm Classic field is always brimming with talent. It’s a race that is talked about all year and if a horse is to be good enough to gain a start it needs to have proved itself early on and show genuine speed. While consistency and courage count for a little bit, when it comes to the VRC Sprint Classic nothing counts more than sheer turn of foot.

For many people there’s no better sight in Australian racing than the 1200m straight track test down the Flemington main straight. There’s nowhere to hide in a race like this and any horses which may have been having a run of luck to get them here will soon be found out. That’s not to see riding tactics and stamina don’t come into the race at all though, timing is just as crucial in a direct line as it is around a bend. It is certainly a lot more difficult though and it’s always best to look for jockeys who have proven straight track success. The same goes for the horses as well obviously, those with experience over 1200m at Flemington certainly tend to stand out in the Patinack Farm Classic field.

2013 VRC Sprint Classic Field

2012 Patinack Farm Classic Field & Form

[fieldform file=”20121110-83148-patinack-farm-classic.html”]

VRC Sprint Classic Form Guide

The great thing about showpiece events such as this is that it’s always easy to get a good early read when it comes to the VRC Sprint Classic form guide. All of the horses have to have shown class throughout the year so you can find and view the lead up races for all the top hopes. Obviously the difficulty that poses is knowing that every horse in the field is of Group 1 level. For that reason always judge a horses efforts based around the quality of horses it was against and what those horses went on to do in their next runs.

When it comes to the VRC Sprint Classic form guide there are a couple of events which usually seem to work the best. The Group 2 Schweppes Stakes at Moonee Valley is one such event which attracts a fair quantity of horses looking forward to this one. It is held on many people’s favourite day of racing, Cox Plate Day. It is run over the same 1200m trip however there is a bend on the course. The other option is the Group 2 Salinger Stakes which is held on Derby Day at the same Flemington track. That race is actually a perfect replica of the VRC Sprint Classic except for the fact it’s run under handicap conditions as opposed to weight for age.

VRC Sprint Classic Betting

It’s the biggest sprinting Group 1 of the spring carnival so naturally the VRC Sprint Classic betting race is just as highly rated. Punters have had plenty fo time to see their favourites in action during the carnival so they can justify their chances with plenty of evidence to back up their claims. This also creates an environment where short priced favourites aren’t overly uncommon, the form horse of the carnival is still likely to be the form horse in this event. This is further backed up by the fact weight for age conditions naturally favour the classiest of runners.

One factor which can confuse things slightly is the fact the lead up events are mostly handicap races. This means a horse may be beaten as a top weight in an earlier race but then receive a significant reduction coming into the VRC Sprint Classic. Some horses are known for not really handling big weights so it’s certainly a factor not to be ignored in the betting markets. For those people looking to place a bet remember to look further afield than simply your local TAB. Online betting agencies regularly battle for your dollar and at the end of the spring carnival this battle often gets more intense than ever meaning there’s more in it for you.

VRC Sprint Classic Odds

As was mentioned previously the VRC Sprint Classic odds are no sure thing and every year the market will be drastically different depending on that years sprinting results. The vast majority of these horses will run against each other throughout the season though so bookies tend to have a pretty good idea of what’s going on. This creates an environment where favourite backers thrive and this race is renowned for throwing up a few short priced runners.

That being said though Australia is considered a haven for sprinting talent and every year the country seems to churn out more and more top class short distance runners. While some years there will be an absolute freak which blows everyone out of the water others it can be a lot more difficult to separate those battling at the top of the ratings. Always have a look at the VRC Sprint Classic odds very carefully and consider every horse not just the top runners. Track conditions play a big part in straight track events and a horse may find itself bogged down badly is its susceptible to wet tracks. That could either mean a roughies previous form is worth dismissing or it could place a question mark on a favourite if it’s wet on race day.

VRC Sprint Classic Tips

On the surface a 1200m straight test seems like one of the more easy assignments in racing but as has been discussed getting good VRC Sprint Classic tips covers a lot of factors. The number one starting points previous form, if a horse is yet to produce a good result against this company before it’s hard to back it at Group 1 level. Second is track conditions, is the surface wet or is it dry and which horses have the best record on the different ratings. If the skies open above Flemington on the day of the race that becomes even more important.

The other areas which you need to look at are perhaps not as crucial but can help you split a couple which you fancy. Straight track form is a big one, just as a jockey might get lost in a straight line so too can a horse, either going too early or not knowing when to go at all. Finally prep lengths, this race comes in November and if a long campaign has dampened a horses turn of foot you can call it game over. Luckily one area which isn’t an issue is the barrier draw.

VRC Sprint Classic Day

It’s the final day of the Melbourne spring racing carnival and the last Group 1 event held in Melbourne for the year. As a result it’s not surprising that the crowds are always out in force for VRC Sprint Classic day and the atmosphere is electric. It’s always held on the Saturday after the Melbourne Cup so with the majority of people off work and the thrill of the race that stops the nation still fresh in their minds horse racing always takes centre stage.

It is not the only Group 1 one on the card though, in fact the official name for the program is Emirates Stakes Day. Not surprisingly the Emirates Stakes is the co-feature event in what is one of the most imposing race meetings anywhere in the country. Both events carry a $1 million prize pool, the Emirates Stakes a 1600m test under handicap conditions.

In 2011 changes were made to the Patinack Farm Classic structure and horses can now earn an extra $600,000 bonus. The bonus is available to any horse which has won another Global Sprint Challenge race that season or who goes on to win one next season. The Patinack Farm Classic is the second last leg of the Global Sprint Challenge for the calendar year, a series which has eight legs spanning across four countries including:

Gr1 Lightning Stakes – Flemington Racecourse – Australia – January
Gr1 King’s Stand Stakes – Royal Ascot – England – June
Gr1 Golden Jubilee Stakes – Royal Ascot – England – June
Gr1 July Cup – Newmarket Racecourse – England – July
Gr2 Centaur Stakes – Hanshin Racecourse – Japan – September
Gr1 Sprinters Stakes Nakayama Racecourse – Japan – October
Gr1 Patinack Farm Classic – Flemington Racecourse – Australia – November
Gr1 Hong Kong Sprint – Sha Tin Racecourse – Hong Kong – December

VRC Sprint Classic Results

In a race which crowns the best sprinter at weight for age level in the country it’s not surprising that some absolute champions feature on the winners list. Many of these horses have gone on to world domination and the $600,000 bonus structure will only encourage future champions to do the same. It will also attract the very best global sprinters with a view to picking up a very handy cheque.

Going back to back in the VRC Sprint Classic is something which has proved very difficult, in fact the last horse to do it was Planet Ruler way back in 1989 / 1990. Since then the champions have kept on coming with the likes of Gold Ace in 1996 and Rubitano in 2002. After that came Takeover Target which won in 2004 before conquering the UK as well. Miss Andretti strode a similar path after her win in 2007. In 2010 though came arguably the best ever, Black Caviar adding the VRC Sprint Classic to an unbeaten winning streak stretching all the way back to her debut.

Past Winners & Results

Here you will find a list of results for the VRC Sprint Classic (formerly Patinack Farm Classic) since 2000.

Year Results Winning Time
2011 1 Black Caviar 2 Buffering 3 Mid Summer Music 1:08.3
2010 1 Black Caviar 2 Star Witness 3 Ortensia 1:07.9
2009 1 All Silent 2 Wanted 3 Bank Robber 1:08.7
2008 1 Swick 2 Turffontein 3 Sunburnt Land 1:11.0
2007 1 Miss Andretti 2 Gold Edition 3 Stanzout 1:08.9
2006 1 Dance Hero 2 Shadoways 3 Miss Andretti 1:08.6
2005 1 Glamour Puss 2 Barely A Moment 3 Cape Of Good Hope 1:08.9
2004 1 Takeover Target 2 Recurring 3 St Basil 1:08.2
2003 1 Ancient Song 2 Into The Night 3 Blessum 1:11.0
2002 1 Rubitano 2 Intelligent Star 3 Cosmic Strike 1:07.1
2001 1 Sudurka 2 Hire 3 Camena 1:08.4
2000 1 Easy Rocking 2 Umrum 3 Tilt The Scales 1:10.0