VRC Sprint Classic promises much with potentially some Flag waving

Should Redzel win the $1m, Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday the six-year-old Snitzel gelding will take his earnings to a fraction short of $16 million, still below Winx’s record $22.9 million, but a very respectable return for the $120,000 he cost Chris and Michael Ward as a yearling.

Little were they to know that by the time Redzel was five and six there would the incredible prizes of two The Everest’s at Randwick to make up a lot of that stake total. But racing for $1 million is a healthy stake anywhere in the world and Redzel is back to defend his 2017 title in the Sprint Classic up Flemington’s straight sprint course.

The race is a grand final of runners from both The Everest on October 13th and the Group 1 Manikato Stakes at The Valley on October 26th with added lustre and intrigue from the Aidan O’Brien and Charlie Appleby stables.

The market has concentrated on the Snowden trained Redzel after his latest Everest feat, although slight nervousness has crept in with his current market quote, as at Friday afternoon, out to $5.00 from $4.40.

The bulk of the market money is on Redzel, 56% of the win wagers reports the bookmaker and 48% of the place hold.

Greg Hickman’s Pierata has drifted from $5.50 out to $7.00 while Kementari is firm at $6.50 as second favourite now.

“He’s come through his Everest win really well,” said Snowden earlier this week.

“He’s been bright in his work and still looks fantastic in himself. He backed up really well in this race last time and his preparation for this has been spot on. He worked well Tuesday and his trial was just what we wanted so I am very happy with the horse,” he said.

Redzel and Kerrin McEvoy winning at Randwick, picture

Kerrin McEvoy has barrier eight with Redzel and in nine is Glyn Schofield with Godolphin’s Kementari so they will be keeping a close eye on each other.

Kementari has had a spring that promised much, but has been close with no cigar. Narrow second’s to Pierata, in the Group 2 Missile Stakes, then Humidor, in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes were followed by a rapidly closing third in the Manikato Stakes.

The Lonhro entire was 12th at the 400m and wide in the latter, yet once Schofield had balanced him he used what little available straight was left to be 3/4L from the winner Brave Smash (JPN) at the line. It was a very good result considering the field position and left no doubt Kementari can still sprint, and hard. His current odds of $6.50 and $2.30 do look inviting.

Rather left out of discussion is O’Brien’s US Navy Flag (USA). Remember him, the Group 1 July Cup winner, cannot get 1600m, but he can sure get the demanding 1200m of Newmarket in the July Cup.

Brought out by the stable for Coolmore’s slot in The Everest the four-year-old son of War Front met a Sydney spring deluge and his race was over before the start, and really over when he missed the start. The Manikato Stakes run was not much better.

The War Front’s need firm ground, which the track will be. The testing sprint requires the strength to handle a little further than 1200m, not a 1000m trying to reach out to 1200m at maximum effort. Two boxes ticked.

The TurfTrax Going map of Flemingon on Friday has the outside of the straight, closest to the stands, as slightly firmer than the rest of the straight.

US Navy Flag has barrier 13 for Ryan Moore. Another box ticked. The current market price is $13.00 and $3.60, another box ticked. If Ryan can get US Navy Flag out smartly and travelling down that outside rail there may well be some serious Flag waving.

The VRC Sprint Classic is Race 7 at 4.10pm.