Loving Gaby (Image: Racing Photos)
Loving Gaby will be the sole three-year-old competing for the Melbourne spring's major sprint prize when she takes on just eight older sprinters in Saturday’s $2 million VRC Sprint Classic.
It was expected a number of three-year-olds would take on the older horses over the 1200-metre straight course after the youngsters proved too strong in earlier spring sprint races such as The Everest (Yes Yes Yes) and the Manikato Stakes (Loving Gaby).
But Godolphin will go into the event with just the mare Alizee after three-year-olds Bivouac and Microphone were not paid up for.
The race has also lost the services of last season's Newmarket Handicap and Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Sunlight, who instead ran in the $7.5 million Golden Eagle, and of top Sydney sprinter Pierata, who ran in and won the $1m Redzel Stakes.
Loving Gaby will be piloted by Lexus Melbourne Cup winner Craig Williams, who will ride the filly at weight-for-age of 51.5 kilograms.
No three-year-old has won the final day sprint since it was upgraded to Group 1 status 12 seasons ago.
Meanwhile, a number of the visiting internationals are down to contest Saturday's co-feature the $2m Mackinnon Stakes.
Japanese pair Suzuka Devious and Kluger were paid-up for, along with Coolmore's Magic Wand, who is coming off runs in the Cox Plate and Lexus Melbourne Cup.