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Darley Classic preview

The sprinting highlight of the Flemington carnival, at least for the older brigade, is the Darley Classic, which has existed under several different names in the past, such as the Patinack Stakes and the Linlithgow. This year's field might lack the superstar quality of Black Caviar or Chautauqua, but it's a great betting contest with no horse simple to dismiss.

Taking on the assessment is keen Melbourne form student Callum Gogerly, @_gogs10.

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DARLEY CLASSIC
Group 1, 1200m, WFA
AU$1,000,000
Flemington 1700 AEDST, 0600 GMT


1. Lankan Rupee- A little unlucky first up at Caulfield with the big weight, he was stuck behind the leaders while his rival here Our Boy Malachi had clear air down the outside. I doubt he would have beaten him, but we at least know that he has come back from injury as well as he could have. With no Chautauqua or any gun 3YO sprinters, he probably only needs to be somewhere near his best to win this.

2. Turn Me Loose- Was slow from the gates and stuck out the back first up in a read hot pace. I prefer him over 1400-1600 where he can really dictate terms and be strong on speed. 1200m down the straight in a field of strong sprinters presents another challenge all together.

3. The Quarterback- Having a really good prep. He put away a much weaker field easily first up. I thought he put the writing on the wall last start at Moonee Valley, those conditions and track are never where he is able to do his best work. He is back at "home" today where he performs best. Has been set for this, certainly one of the hardest to beat.

4. Japonisme- Having a bit of a strange preparation. His first two runs were absolutely horrid, but he seemed to bound back to something like his best form last time out in the Manikato. He was well supported that night as well. I'm a little concerned about his patchy form, but if you think he is back with a vengeance after last time then I wouldn't talk you out of him.

5. Fell Swoop- Super consistent. Rebel Dane crept up on the inside and nabbed him last time (unfortunately!). He has proven over the last six months that he is more than capable at Group 1 level. The only slight query would be it is his first run up the straight.

6. Our Boy Malachi- Added another string to his bow last start when he was ridden back and it worked to great effect, he loped down the outside and picked them up very convincingly. He has been pretty good when he has been thrown in the deep end at Group 1 level with a fantastic effort in the TJ Smith particularly. It's also his first look up the Flemington straight under race conditions.

7. Malaguerra- Came of age last campaign culminating in him winning the Group 1 BTC Cup. His first up run for the very excitable Gelagotis brothers was excellent. He beat Fell Swoop home and and we all know Fell Swoop nearly won the Manikato. Four weeks between runs doesn't seem to be an issue as he has had gaps between runs previously and performed well. You have to think that he is right in this race.

8. Holler- Failed to fire first up after his European venture, finishing last albeit only beaten 3.6L. Has his fair share of ability and I would expect improvement from that run, but it would be hard to see him as a winning prospect.

9. Keen Array- Was beaten last week down the straight (when the stable were confident) in a much inferior race. Would need to improve lengths to be competitive here. Have to pass.

10. Spieth- Stable has said he is on a reconnaissance mission for the Newmarket Handicap next year in this race. One of the better wins you would see first up, he absolutely blew the start but weaved his way through the field to score. Hard not to be impressed by that and how he is progressing. It might be a bridge too far to win a race of this nature at his ninth start, but he certainly has our attention.

11. English- Have expected much more from her this time in, much more. You would have hoped that she would be able to pick up at least one of the weaker group races in Sydney before coming to Melbourne. Gave her a good chance in the Manikato and disappointed again. She has drawn barrier 1 which isn't ideal in straight racing generally. Happy to risk.

12- Sheidel
- Wouldn't you love to own a horse who won 14 of 24!? She is absolutely flying and has won her last two, being well supported on both occasions. Clearly this is her toughest test to date, but she has earned the right to have a crack. Watch.

Tips: Relatively open race, but I'm pretty keen on The Quarterback. He had red flashing lights on last run when everything was against him. Provided he is able to weave a clear passage through the field, I expect him to be hard to beat. Lankan Rupee seems to have come back at a high enough level and we know he is quality. Fell Swoop, Malaguerra and Our Boy Malachi all go in the Quaddie.

1. The Quarterback
2. Lankan Rupee
3. Malaguerra
4. Fell Swoop

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