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Kerrin McEvoy probably won the Darley Classic in the first 200 metres of the race

Ken Boman | 17.11.2017

One of the highlights on the final day of the VRC’s Melbourne Cup Carnival was the Darley Classic (registered as VRC Stakes) (Gr 1, 1200m) – an event that jockey Kerrin McEvoy probably won in the first 200 metres of the race.

With a field of high class sprinters, a quick pace throughout was expected but McEvoy was able to retain the lead with the eventual winner Redzel (Snitzel) and surprisingly did so by covering the first 200 metres in a very moderate 13.63.

The task of his opposition in overhauling the in-form sprinter then suddenly became more difficult as McEvoy lifted the tempo significantly with Redzel from the 1000 metres mark.

Redzel then returned 200 metre sections of 10.42, 10.67 (400m in 21.09), 10.92 (600m in 32.01), 11.11 (800m in 43.12) with his final 200 metres in 12.01 to give him a fast final 1000 metres in 55.13.

After the start, McEvoy had steered closest to the rails on the Grandstand side and Redzel then safely held his opposition to score by a three quarters of a length from Terravista (Captain Rio) with a similar margin back to Impending (Lonhro) in third in a time of 1:08.74.

The victory was The Everest (1200m) winner’s sixth in succession and his second at Group One level and it took the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained sprinter’s imposing record to 11 wins (five placings) from 21 starts with prize money of $7,797,750.

There were a number of horses that returned fast closing times in the race worth highlighting.

The runner-up Terravista, who was racing in blinkers for the first time, ran his best race for some time and clocked 54.88 (last 1000m), 44.47 (last 800m), 33.83 (last 600m) with his last 400 metres in 22.94.

The third-placed Impending was one in particular that would have been better served by a solid overall pace and he ran his last 1000 metres in 55.14, last 800 metres in 44.73, last 600 metres in 34.09 with his last 400 metres in 23.71.

While multiple Group One winning sprinter Chautauqua (Encosta De Lago) was fourth, failing to be placed in all four starts this preparation and, though he may have appeared to have lacked his usual final burst, he still clocked fast sectionals of 55.20 (last 1000m), 44.70 (last 800m), 33.97 (last 600m) with his last 400 metres in 22.97.

The fifth-placed Clearly Innocent (Not A Single Doubt) took the eye in running on really well and clocked 55.32 (last 1000m), 44.78 (last 800m), 33.97 (last 600m) with his final 200 metres in 22.94 being the joint fastest (with Terravista) for that section in the race.

In the other Group One feature on the card, the Japanese-bred Tosen Stardom (Deep Impact) finished fast – which was a good effort in coming off a solid mid-race pace – to grab an impressive victory in the Emirates Stakes (registered as LKS Mackinnon Stakes) (Gr 1, 2000m).

After racing back in ninth place, on the rails, Tosen Stardom improved between runners at the home turn but was blocked until Damian Lane angled him into clear running at the 200 metres, and the entire then finished so well that he drew clear in the closing stages to win by a length and a half.

Time for the 2000 metres was a solid 2:01.22, with Tosen Stardom returning quick final sectionals of 58.09 (last 1000m), 46.03 (last 800m), 34.37 (last 600m), 23.23 (last 400m) with his last 200 metres in 11.70.

It was Tosen Stardom’s seventh win in 23 starts and his second Group One win in this country after joining the Darren Weir stable, having taken out the Toorak Handicap (Gr 1, 1600m) at Caulfield on 14 October.

Saturday’s victory suggested that there could be even more wins at the elite level for the seven-year-old entire especially considering that he has only raced 25 times to date.

While a strong performance in the race was the effort of the Charlie Appleby-trained Folkswood (Exceed And Excel) who held on well for (1.9 lengths) fifth despite having been caught three deep without cover while racing close to the solid mid-race tempo.

That pace was set by the Darren Weir-trained pair Gailo Chop (Deportivo), who weakened to finish 11th and his younger stablemate Cliff’s Edge (Canford Cliffs) who raced at his girth.

After briefly taking the lead at the 200 metres, Cliff’s Edge then battled on well particularly well for a very good (2.1 lengths) sixth after running a bold race, highlighted by his sectional times.

Cliff’s Edge, clocked from the 1800 metre point, 23.29 (400m), 35.79 (600m), 48.20 (800m), 60.49 (1000m), 1:23.67 (1400m) with 1600 metres (from the 1800m to the 200m) in 1:35.04.

He is a talented three-year-old colt with Group One potential, having impressively won the Norman Robinson Stakes (Gr 3, 2000m) at Caulfield on 21 October and a winner of four (with three placings) of his ten starts.

Another to impress on the watch on Saturday was the progressive Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained four-year-old mare Savapinski (Savabeel), who stepped up quickly in class to score a very good win in the Matriarch Stakes (Gr 2, 2000m) when having her seventh start.

Savapinski set a solid tempo throughout and went on to score by almost three lengths in a time of 2:01.59 – a time that was only 0.37 seconds slower than Tosen Stardom recorded in winning the Emirates Stakes.

While the last word goes to the Tony McEvoy-trained colt Run Naan (Makfi) who was most impressive with his late closing win in the Maribyrnong Plate (Gr 3, 1000m).

A winner on debut of a Two-Year-Old Maiden (1000m) at Bendigo on 21 October, Run Naan remained in second last place to the 600 metres before storming home to score by a neck from the Godolphin-raced colt Encryption (Lonhro) in a time of 57.37.

But it was Run Nann’s sectional times that were the feature – his 200 metre breakdown from the 800 metres point being 10.68, 10.82, 10.79 and 11.11, giving him fast closing sectionals of 21.90 (last 400m), 32.72 (last 600m) and 43.40 (last 800m) in a very smart performance.

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