Mick Price’s Moir Stakes winning three-year-old Extreme Choice is one of 25 sprinters making up the Darley Classic 2016 first acceptances for the Flemington feature on Emirates Stakes Day this Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Due to run down the famous Flemington straight on Saturday November 5 on the fourth and final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, this year’s $1 million Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) is down to just 25 entries follow first declarations.
Halved from the 50 Darley Classic nominations taken by Racing Victoria back in late September, there is still plenty of class among the runners heading towards a start in the capacity 20-starter field.
In over 30 years just one three-year-old has won the Darley Classic with Graeme Rogerson’s filly Pharein getting the job done back in 1999.
This year there is sure to be money on Price’s dual Group 1 winning Not A Single Doubt colt Extreme Choice to break the drought.
He currently occupies the second line of all-in Darley Classic betting at Ladbrokes.com.au post first acceptances following his first-up victory at Moonee Valley in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m).
That added to his now four-from-five record, which also includes the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) win at Caulfield as a two-year-old.
Price has a total of three Darley Classic first acceptors with Extreme Choice joined by Lankan Rupee and Flying Artie.
$4 million earner Lankan Rupee made a return from a year-long injury-enforced spell in the Caulfield Sprint last Saturday, catching the eye with his third place finish.
Blue Diamond runner-up and Golden Slipper third placegetter Flying Artie meanwhile made a successful three-year-old debut on October 12 in the Group 3 Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m).
Beaten favourite in the Moir Stakes was the Team Hawkes-trained Chautauqua (4th), a $6.5 million earner with five Group 1 wins on the record including the Chairman’s Sprint in Hong Kong.
Chautauqua has run in the past two editions of the Darley Classic finishing second to Terravista in 2014 and second again 12 months ago behind Delectation.
Chautauqua is also leading the pre-field Darley Classic odds at $3, a price set to firm if he’s successful in his Cox Plate eve assignment this weekend.
Hall of Famer and Chautauqua’s co-trainer John Hawkes prepared the VRC Stakes (now Darley Classic) winner Flavour back in 1998 and along with the early favourite has one other first acceptor this season that he trains with sons Michael and Wayne – Our Boy Malachi.
A veteran eight-year-old son of Top Echelon, Our Boy Malachi showed he still had plenty of zest for racing on Caulfield Cup Day just last weekend winning the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1000m) in a powerhouse effort.
He is still at an outsider’s price to win the Darley Classic at $13 based on the sheer class the field is set to feature, and no eight-year-old has won the Flemington feature in over 30 years.
The other single-figure hope in the latest markets behind Chautauqua and Extreme Choice at $9 is the John O’Shea-trained Astern.
Also a three-year-old out to make history with a win, the Godolphin-raced Medaglia D’Oro colt has won five of his seven career starts to date.
Astern took out the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) two back before a second when dropped back in distance behind Russian Revolution in the Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m).
He is as yet untested in Melbourne, but is being kept safe in Darley Classic betting.
The 2013 Darley Classic winner Buffering ($13), Gai Waterhouse’s Group 1 winning mare English ($13), Peter & Paul Snowden’s Golden Slipper winner Capitalist and the Darren Weir-trained Lucky Hussler are among the other hopes still in contention.
The 2016 Darley Classic final field and barrier draw is set for release on Tuesday November 2.
In the meantime check out the early Darley Classic all-in markets open now at Ladbrokes.com.au.
2016 Darley Classic First Declarations
Flemington Racecourse – 05/11/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Ballot||Weight|
|2||112x1311x4||CHAUTAUQUA||G||6||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||2||58.5kg|
|3||13x169x3x3||LANKAN RUPEE||G||7||Mick Price||3||58.5kg|
|4||1x1121x43||CAPITALIST||C||3||Peter & Paul Snowden||4||53.5kg|
|5||6136x129x7||LUCKY HUSSLER||G||7||Darren Weir||5||58.5kg|
|6||26x1631x54||ENGLISH||M||4||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||6||56.5kg|
|7||1118×1||EXTREME CHOICE||C||3||Mick Price||7||53.5kg|
|8||111x4160x8||TURN ME LOOSE (NZ)||H||5||Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman||8||58.5kg|
|9||1x361539x1||THE QUARTERBACK||G||6||Robbie Griffiths||9||58.5kg|
|12||1x242156x3||FELL SWOOP||G||5||Matthew Dale||12||58.5kg|
|13||3x73525x45||DOTHRAKI||G||6||Peter & Paul Snowden||13||58.5kg|
|14||130x154x21||OUR BOY MALACHI||G||8||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||14||58.5kg|
|15||2x123x1||FLYING ARTIE||C||3||Mick Price||15||53.5kg|
|17||x34127x421||SHEIDEL||M||5||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||17||56.5kg|
|19||3223x68x26||BALL OF MUSCLE||G||6||Joseph Pride||19||58.5kg|
|20||12x083x211||KEEN ARRAY||G||4||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||20||58.5kg|
|21||46x115x162||FAATINAH||G||4||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||21||58.5kg|
|22||1111||RUSSIAN REVOLUTION||C||3||Peter & Paul Snowden||22||53.5kg|
|23||217x0111x1||SPIETH (NZ)||H||4||Bryce Heys||23||58.5kg|
|24||45x111x135||SOUTHERN LEGEND||G||4||Les Bridge||24||58.5kg|
|25||152911×632||WE’VE GOT THIS||G||5||Greg Eurell||25||58.5kg|