Champions Sprint

The $3 million Champions Sprint runs on VRC Champions Sprint Day, as part of the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington Racecourse each November.

2023 Champions Sprint Results

  • 1st: #8 Imperatriz
  • 2nd: #2 Buenos Noches
  • 3rd: #7 In Secret



The Champions Sprint – previously called the Darley Sprint Classic, VRC Sprint Classic and formerly the Patinack Farm Classic due to sponsorship – is a 1200m sprint race run down the famous Flemington straight during the spring.

Held on a Saturday in early to mid-November on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the Champions Sprint is the premier sprint race of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and is currently worth $3,000,000 in prize money as of 2022.

The race, held on VRC Champions Stakes Day – formerly known as Mackinnon Stakes Day – is now the perfect target race for horses out of the world’s richest turf race – the $20 million The Everest (1200m) in Sydney the month before.

Redzel (2017) completed The Everest – VRC Sprint Classic double when the former took place for the first time. Santa Ana Lane (6th in 2018), Nature Strip (4th in 2019) and Bivouac (2nd in 2020) all also won the VRC Classic off a lead-up in The Everest race.

For a firth time in as many years The Everest produced the VRC Sprint Classic winner in 2021 with Nature Strip completing the double.

Nature Strip further franked the form returning in the autumn of 2022 to again win the TJ Smith Stakes in Sydney before heading to Royal Ascot in the UK for his international Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (1200m) victory.

Nature Strip returned for the 2022 edition of the race – run as the Champions Sprint – but only managed to run second behind upset winning mare Roch ‘N’ Horse.

The 2023 Champions Sprint was won by brilliant mare Imperatriz who came off four straight Moonee Valley wins including the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) and Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m).

The 2023 VRC Sprint Classic ran on Saturday November 11, 2023 as the Champions Sprint at Flemington offering $3 million in stakes and was won by the Mark Walker-trained favourite Imperatriz ($2.15F) who extended her winning streak to five on the trot with a good half-length win in her first run down the straight. 

VRC Sprint Classic / Champions Sprint
Date: Saturday November 11, 2023
Track: Flemington Racecourse
Distance: 1200m
Race Type: Weight-For-Age
Status: Group 1
Prize Money: $3,000,000

2023 Champions Sprint Results

  • 1st: #8 Imperatriz ($2.15F)
  • 2nd: #2 Buenos Noches
  • 3rd: #7 In Secret

Imperatriz ($2.15F) has kept the wins coming making it five straight victories when handling her first Flemington assignment to dig deep late and hold out the Matthew Smith-trained Buenos Noches and the James Cummings-trained In Secret to win the 2023 Champions Sprint by a half-length on Stakes Day in style.

Click here to read more on the impressive Champions Sprint 2023 win by the favourite Imperatriz.

2023 Champions Sprint Results & Finishing Order

Finish No. Horse Trainer Jockey Margin Bar. Weight Penalty Starting Price
1 8 IMPERATRIZ Mark Walker Opie Bosson 8 56.5kg $2.15F
2 2 BUENOS NOCHES Matthew Smith Blake Shinn 0.5L 11 58.5kg $14
3 7 IN SECRET James Cummings James McDonald 1.25L 5 56.5kg $3.50
4 9 ESPIONA Chris Waller Kerrin McEvoy 2L 3 56.5kg $26
5 6 BELLA NIPOTINA Ciaron Maher & David Eustace Craig Williams 2.1L 1 56.5kg $12
6 1 FRONT PAGE Matthew Dale Tyler Schiller 5.1L 7 58.5kg $21
7 11 C’EST MAGIQUE Grahame Begg Michael Dee 5.85L 2 56.5kg $151
8 5 AIRMAN Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Jye McNeil 6.05L 10 58.5kg $26
9 10 ASFOORA Henry Dwyer Mitchell Aitken 7.3L 9 56.5kg $16
10 3 LOFTY STRIKE Julius Sandhu Damien Oliver 9.05L 4 58.5kg $61
11 4 STAR PATROL Clinton McDonald Ben Melham 11.05L 6 58.5kg $20

Table Credit: Racing Australia. 

2023 Champions Sprint Betting Odds

The latest VRC Sprint Classic 2023 betting odds – now known as the Champions Sprint odds -with links to the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au for you to back your best Champions Sprint tips.

Bivouac ($3.20 in 2020), Nature Strip ($1.28 in 2021) and Imperatriz ($2.15 in 2023) are the last VRC Sprint Classic favourites to win.

There was a notable upset in 2022 with Roch ‘N’ Horse winning at Champions Sprint odds of $20.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST 2023 CHAMPIONS SPRINT ODDS (Final Field)

2023 Champions Sprint Form Guide

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL 2023 CHAMPIONS SPRINT FORM GUIDE

2023 Champions Sprint Tips

Stay tuned for our insider Champions Sprint 2023 Tips on the lucrative sprint down the famous Flemington straight this November!

  • To Win: #8 Imperatriz ($1.90 at time of publish) – BET NOW

There’s a few last start winners and plenty of in-form sprinters in the race, but just impossible to bet against a mare like Imperatriz who is going so well and just keeps winning. The test will be the Flemington straight, will she like it? This now Cranbourne-based Kiwi expat is ultra-consistent having won seven of her past eight starts. She is on a four straight winning streak with all of those being at The Valley. At that tight circuit she’s a freak and has won a trio of Group 1 wins there including the Manikato by over three lengths last time out on Cox Plate Day. The margin there and fact she’s won up to a mile suggests she’ll run strongly down the ‘Straight Six’ and could potentially make a mess of her rivals again adding to her elite level tally and her brilliant 1200m strike rate (8:6-1-1).

2023 Champions Sprint Field & Barriers

The 2023 Champions Sprint field will be released by Racing Victoria on the Wednesday of Melbourne Cup week 2023 and will be published below along with the official Champions Sprint Barrier Draw as soon as announced.

Horses may come into the Champions Sprint field via a number of different early Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival sprint races, but the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) has proven the key lead-up race with Buffering (2013) and Imperatriz (2023) the latest horses to complete the Manikato Stakes – Champions Sprint double.

The richest turf race in the world – the $20 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick the month before, also now serves as a possible VRC Sprint Classic / Champions Sprint lead-up with Santa Ana Lane running sixth in the Sydney feature before his 2018 win at Flemington. In 2017 Redzel took out The Everest – Darley Classic double, while Nature Strip (2019) improved on a fourth in The Everest to again frank the form with a big Darley Classic win at Flemington and Bivouac (2020) also won the Darley Classic (now the Champions Sprint) off a second in The Everest.

In 2021 Nature Strip won the race for a second time and joined Redzel in completing The Everest – VRC Sprint Classic double.

The 2023 Champions Sprint final field features a quality line-up of spring sprinters led by the airborne Imperatriz who is odds-on to make it five wins on the trot and her third at elite level this prep after taking out the Moir Stakes – Manikato Stakes double at The Valley.

Click here to read more on the key runners in the Champions Sprint 2023 field and betting markets.

No Last 10 Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Probable Weight Penalty Hcp Rating
1 x10x8826x1 FRONT PAGE Matthew Dale Tyler Schiller 7 58.5kg 104
2 123x57x138 BUENOS NOCHES Matthew Smith Blake Shinn 11 58.5kg 109
3 47x12284x6 LOFTY STRIKE Julius Sandhu Damien Oliver 4 58.5kg 108
4 2x3x160x11 STAR PATROL Clinton McDonald Ben Melham 6 58.5kg 106
5 x15x11x312 AIRMAN Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Jye McNeil 10 58.5kg 103
6 30236×3331 BELLA NIPOTINA Ciaron Maher & David Eustace Craig Williams 1 56.5kg 114
7 1x1317x244 IN SECRET James Cummings James McDonald 5 56.5kg 115
8 x11121x111 IMPERATRIZ Mark Walker Opie Bosson 8 56.5kg 118
9 x6117x2171 ESPIONA Chris Waller Kerrin McEvoy 3 56.5kg 112
10 11x344x121 ASFOORA Henry Dwyer Mitchell Aitken 9 56.5kg 111
11 1262×4395 C’EST MAGIQUE Grahame Begg Michael Dee 2 56.5kg 95

Table Credit: Racing Australia. 

2023 Champions Sprint Nominations

The Champions Sprint nominations are taken the Monday of race week and feature a star-studded list of spring sprinters, including many that ran well in the previous season’s Champions Sprint / VRC Sprint Classic Classic results. Races.com.au will publish the official 2023 Champions Sprint Nominations as soon as early entries are announced by Racing Victoria.

The 2023 Champions Sprint nominations attracted 14 short-distance specialists dominated in the all-in markets by Imperatriz chasing a fifth win on the trot and who was last seen dominating the Group 1 Manikato Stakes at The Valley by over three lengths.

Last 10 Horse Sex Age Trainer Hcp Rating
1 x15x11x312 AIRMAN G 4 Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes 103
2 11x344x121 ASFOORA M 5 Henry Dwyer 111
3 30236×3331 BELLA NIPOTINA M 6 Ciaron Maher & David Eustace 114
4 123x57x138 BUENOS NOCHES H 4 Matthew Smith 109
5 120×110 CELUI C 3 Brent Stanley 74
6 1262×4395 C’EST MAGIQUE M 4 Grahame Begg 95
7 x6117x2171 ESPIONA M 5 Chris Waller 112
8 x10x8826x1 FRONT PAGE G 7 Matthew Dale 104
9 x11121x111 IMPERATRIZ M 5 Mark Walker 118
10 1x1317x244 IN SECRET M 4 James Cummings 115
11 47x12284x6 LOFTY STRIKE H 4 Julius Sandhu 108
12 110412×711 SHE DANCES M 4 Peter G Moody & Katherine Coleman 101
13 3211×993 SHINZO C 3 Chris Waller 104
14 2x3x160x11 STAR PATROL G 5 Clinton McDonald 106

Table Credit: Racing Australia. 

VRC Sprint Classic / Champions Sprint History

The VRC Sprint Classic’s inaugural winner was Gulnare in 1868. The race was upgraded to Group 1 status in 2007.

The race distance has changed many times over the years, with the being a 1200m, 1400m and 1600m. The race name has also changed many times, with the race being known as the Flying Stakes, Linlithgow Stakes, Emirates Classic, Lexus Classic, The Age Classic, Patinack Farm Classic before changing to the VRC Sprint Classic in 2013. It has also been run as the Darley Classic in recent years.

Many great horses have won the VRC Sprint Classic including the legendary Phar Lap in 1930. Champion sire Fastnet Rock won the race in 2004.

A number of horses have won the race multiple times including the undefeated mare Black Caviar (2010-11) and Chris Waller’s ace sprinter Nature Strip (2019, 2021) who also won the 2021 The Everest in the lead-up that spring.

The event was renamed ahead of the 2022 edition as the Champions Sprint.

VRC Sprint Classic / Champions Sprint Results & Winners

The VRC Sprint Classic / Champions Sprint results including the winners and place-getters dating back to 2000 can be found on our Champions Sprint Winners & Results page, and used to help you with Champions Sprint betting this spring.

YEAR WINNER 2ND 3RD TIME
2023 Imperatriz Buenos Noches In Secret 1:09.08
2022 Roch ‘N’ Horse Nature Strip Baller 1:09.19
2021 Nature Strip Swats That Bella Nipotina 1:08.7
2020 Bivouac Nature Strip Libertini 1:08.6
2019 Nature Strip Loving Gaby In Her Time 1:09.2
2018 Santa Ana Lane In Her Time DH: Pierata, Jungle Cat 1:08.6
2017 Redzel Terravista Impending 1:08.7
2016 Malaguerra Spieth Fell Swoop 1:10.2
2015 Delectation Chautauqua Terravista 1:10.0
2014 Terravista Chautauqua Lankan Rupee 1:08.7
2013 Buffering Shamexpress Moment Of Change 1:10.3
2012 Mental Sea Siren Hallowell Belle 1:09.0
2011 Black Caviar Buffering Mid Summer Music 1:08.3
2010 Black Caviar Star Witness Ortensia 1:07.9
2009 All Silent Wanted Bank Robber 1:08.7
2008 Swick Turffontein Sunburnt Land 1:11.0
2007 Miss Andretti Gold Edition Stanzout 1:08.9
2006 Dance Hero Shadoways Miss Andretti 1:08.6
2005 Glamour Puss Barely A Moment Cape Of Good Hope 1:08.9
2004 Takeover Target Recurring St Basil 1:08.2
2003 Ancient Song Into The Night Blessum 1:11.0
2002 Rubitano Intelligent Star Cosmic Strike 1:07.1
2001 Sudurka Hire Camena 1:08.4
2000 Easy Rocking Umrum Tilt The Scales 1:10.0

Spring Racing

Military Mission Fires in 2023...

Zipping Classic 2023 Field �...

Zipping Classic 2023 Field & Odds Update: Vow And Declare Defends Title

Danny O’Brien’s 2019 Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare continues to show a...

Overpass Heads 2023 Winterbott...

Overpass Heads 2023 Winterbottom Stakes Field & Betting Markets

Bjron Baker’s The Everest performer Overpass is tipped to return to winning...

Osipenko Leads The Gong 2023 R...

Osipenko Leads The Gong 2023 Race Field & Betting

The Chris Waller-trained Pierro four-year-old Osipenko is firm favourite in...

2023 Railway Stakes Field ...

2023 Railway Stakes Field & Betting Update: Tuvalu Narrow Favourite

The Lindsey Smith-trained top-weight Tuvalu is narrow favourite in the latest...

Horse Racing Today

2024 Queen Of The Turf Stakes ...

Pride Of Jenni Wins 2024 Queen...

Pride Of Jenni Wins 2024 Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Historical Demolition Job

Racegoers at Royal Randwick witnessed what will go down in the history books...

Sydney Cup 2024 Winner Circle ...

Sydney Cup 2024 Winner Circle Of Fire Salutes for Punters

Another staying race goes to star horseman Ciaron Maher whose race favourite,...

Australian Oaks 2024 Results: ...

Australian Oaks 2024 Results: Autumn Angel Beats Zardozi on the Back-Up

Peter Moody & Katherine Coleman continued their ace The Championships’...

2024 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint Res...

2024 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint Results: Joliestar Returns a Winner for Waller

Joliestar was terrific in her first-up run since taking out last year’s...

Race Results

2024 Queen Of The Turf Stakes Results: Waller Runs Quinella with Zougotcha and Atishu

Pride Of Jenni Wins 2024 Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Historical Demolition Job

Sydney Cup 2024 Winner Circle Of Fire Salutes for Punters

Australian Oaks 2024 Results: Autumn Angel Beats Zardozi on the Back-Up

2024 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint Results: Joliestar Returns a Winner for Waller

Race Previews

Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2024 Tips & Best Bets

Sydney Cup 2024 Field & Odds: Punters Go for Circle Of Fire

Zougotcha Leads Queen Of The Turf Stakes 2024 Field & Betting

2024 Australian Oaks Field & Betting Update: Orchestral Top Fancy

Via Sistina Heads 2024 Queen Elizabeth Stakes Field & Betting

Fields & Form

Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2024 Tips & Best Bets

Sydney Cup 2024 Field & Odds: Punters Go for Circle Of Fire

Zougotcha Leads Queen Of The Turf Stakes 2024 Field & Betting

2024 Australian Oaks Field & Betting Update: Orchestral Top Fancy

Via Sistina Heads 2024 Queen Elizabeth Stakes Field & Betting