The 2017 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup Contenders

BY DAVID WHITE – PHOTO GREG IRVINE

Victory in the $50,000 Sky Racing Metric Mile (1600m) at Fannie Bay on Saturday will guarantee connections a start in the $200,000 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (2000m) on August 7.

A total of 22 horses are still in contention for the Cup at Fannie Bay on the first Monday in August.

Seven horses who have nominated for the Metric Mile have already qualified for the Darwin Cup – Abu Dhabi, Harrebs Time, Pretty Blonde, Royal Request, War Story, Wexford Town and Whistle Stop.

Arctic Song, Hammered Art, Overdane or Spartan Eagle need to win the feature race on Day 5 of the Darwin Cup Carnival to get a run in the Cup.

The Gary Clarke-trained One Faster, the other horse nominated for the Metric Mile, won’t be under as much pressure on Saturday – should he get a run – as he hasn’t been nominated for the Cup.

Thoroughbred Racing Northern Territory Chief Executive Officer Andrew O’Toole, who also assists Sky Racing during their coverage of race meetings at Fannie Bay, gives his assessment on those horses who remain in the mix for the 2017 Darwin Cup.

$200,000 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (2000m) – Fannie Bay on Monday, August 7

  1. MOON DEVIL 9g (Kerry Petrick – Darwin) 56.5kg

O’Toole says: “More than a capable stayer who was strong at the end of the Buntine Handicap (1900m) last Saturday before claiming an impressive victory. Place chance at best.”

  1. BILLET DOUX 4g (Sheila Arnold – Kyneton) 54.0kg

O’Toole says: “Smashed three-year-old rivals in NT Derby (2000m) last Saturday and clearly talented. Gets in on the minimum. Rates a definite top three chance and 2000m no barrier.”

  1. ROYAL REQUEST 7g (Neil Dyer – Kyneton) 59.0kg

O’Toole says: “Impressive winner of the Chief Minister’s Cup (1600m) on July 15. A former NT Derby winner who finished second and fourth in the Cup in the past two years. Will be a royal show.”

  1. PRETTY BLONDE 9m (Kym Healy – Strathalbyn) 57.0kg

O’Toole says: “Veteran mare who is firing at present. A cup specialist here in the Northern Territory who seems to grow another leg on the dirt surface at Fannie Bay. Will be right in the finish.”

  1. WHISTLE STOP 7g (Dick Leech – Darwin) 57.5kg

O’Toole says: “Runner up in last year’s Cup and appears to be approaching best form. Top run when second in the Chief Minister’s Cup and has the services of top jockey Paul Shiers. Leading chance.”

  1. WEXFORD TOWN (IRE) 7g (Michael Hickmott – Murray Bridge) 57.5kg

O’Toole says: “Has not started since April 1 and form at the time was nothing to write home about. Has yet to race at Fannie Bay. Trained by Michael Hickmott, so respect.”

  1. WAR STORY (IRE) 8g (Carly Cook – Alice Springs) 56.5kg

O’Toole says: “Failed to flatter when beaten out of sight behind Folk Tales over 1600m on July 8. Has trialled since, but would need to step up if he runs in the Cup.”

  1. UNBREAKABLE 5g (Michael Hickmott – Murray Bridge) 56.0kg

O’Toole says: “Impressive winner of the ROANT Gold Cup (1300m) before a disappointing run in the Chief Minister’s Cup. Pulled up lame after that race, but is back on track and must be considered.”

  1. HARREBS TIME 6g (Tayarn Halter – Darwin) 56.0kg

O’Toole says: “St Patrick’s Cup (1600m) winner at Fannie Bay in March. Was far from disgraced when fifth in the Chief Minister’s Cup. Main local hope in the Cup. Only question is getting the 2000m.”

  1. SATURDAY SORCERER 8g (Jason Manning – Darwin) 55.5kg

O’Toole says: “Strong, battling effort when second behind Moon Devil in the Buntine Handicap. Races well at Fannie Bay. Was first past the post in 2014 Cup before being disqualified. Some chance at his best.”

  1. ABU DHABI 5g (Gary Kennewell – Morphettville) 54.0kg

O’Toole says: “Looked the winner with 100m to go in the Chief Minister’s Cup before finishing fourth. Races well at the track, but question marks over Cup distance. Different horse compared to last year.”

  1. LIEDER 5g (Michael Hickmott – Murray Bridge) 54.0kg

O’Toole says: “Both runs in Darwin have been OK. Distance should suit and has decent Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide form. Trained by Darwin Cup specialist Michael Hickmott and big chance with light weight.”

  1. BEST CASE (NZ) 7g (Carl Spry – Darwin) 54.0kg

O’Toole says: “Well performed galloper in the southern states, but has failed to shape up in the Top End. Well beaten in the Buntine Handicap and would need to improve if he gets a start.”

  1. FOLK TALES (NZ) 5g (Richard Laming – Cranbourne) 54.0kg

O’Toole says: “Impressive when winning over 1600m on July 8, then struck traffic problems before finishing a close fifth in the Buntine Handicap. Has struck form and would not surprise with bold showing in Cup.”

  1. FLYING TORMENTA 6m (John Peacock – Murray Bridge) 54.0kg

O’Toole says: “Won the NT Derby (2000m) two years ago. Relishes the trip and wasn’t far away when fourth behind Moon Devil in the Buntine Handicap. Place chance if she gets a run in the Cup.”

  1. ELECTRIC CRIMSON (NZ) 8g (Richard Laming – Cranbourne) 54.0kg

O’Toole says: “Proven winner over 2000m and boasts respectable Tasmanian form. His two efforts in the Top End have been satisfactory. Involved in skirmish during Buntine Handicap and unlikely to get a Cup start.”

  1. ARCTIC SONG 7g (Neil Dyer – Kyneton) 54.0kg

O’Toole says: “Recorded a good win over 1300m on Day 1 of the Cup Carnival on July 8, then produced a disappointing effort in the Bridge Toyota Cup (1600m) on July 19. Trip a question mark and unlikely to get a start.”

  1. OVERDANE (GB) 8g (Barbara Joseph and Paul Jones – Canberra) 54.0kg

O’Toole says: “Disappointed in both Darwin starts and unlikely to get a run. Joseph trained McJoey to Darwin Cup success in 2001.”

  1. HAMMERED ART 6g (Carl Spry – Darwin) 54.0kg

O’Toole says: “A second over 1300m on July 8 after resuming from a short break was followed by a third in the Bridge Toyota Cup. Distance not really an issue, but unlikely to get a start.”

  1. SUPERCOACH 8g (Danny Penna – Seymour) 54.0kg

“O’Toole says: “Has failed to fire since arriving in Darwin and will be outclassed in Cup if he got a run.”

  1. SPARTAN EAGLE 10g (Bob Richard – Murray Bridge) 54.0kg

O’Toole says: “Former Alice Springs Cup winner. Veteran runner in good form. Fourth in Bridge Toyota Cup was a good effort. Highly unlikely to get a Cup start.”

  1. NEW EMPIRE 8g (Garry Lefoe – Darwin) 54.0kg

O’Toole says: “Last start second in the Port Augusta Cup (2300m) on July 9, but this is much harder. Doubtful he’ll make the field.”

$135,000 bet365 Palmerston Sprint (1200m) – Fannie Bay on Saturday, August 5

TICKET TO TOORAK 7g (Gary Clarke – Darwin) 60.5kg LE COMMANDANT 7g (Greg Connor – Alice Springs) 60.5kg KING’S PARDON 8g (Gary Clarke – Darwin) 60.0kg YOUR EXCELLENCY 9g (Tayarn Halter – Darwin) 58.0kg SUPER BRYAN 5g (Will Savage – Alice Springs) 57.0kg MOOT 6g (Lisa Whittle – Alice Springs) 57.0kg CAPTAIN PUNCH 6g (Gary Clarke – Darwin) 57.0kg ACTION AGAIN 10g (Neil Dyer – Kyneton) 56.5kg BOOMWAA 6g (Gary Clarke – Darwin) 55.5kg GRACIOUS PROSPECT 7g (Neil Dyer – Kyneton) 55.5kg KIEVANN 7g (Stephen Brown – Flemington) 55.0kg LADY PHROMILY 7m (Lisa Whittle – Alice Springs) 54.0kg CADMAN 5g (Merv Rumble – Warren) 54.0kg HE’S OUR WOODY 5g (David Bates – Darwin) 54.0kg TEA TREE GULLY 5g (Greg Connor – Alice Springs) 54.0kg NICCOCO 5g (Garry Lefoe – Darwin) 54.0kg JACKANORY 4g (Dick Leech – Darwin) 54.0kg

2017 Asian United Food Service Darwin Cup Carnival Bonus (Day 4)

Trainers ($5,000)

6 Gary Clarke

4 Neil Dyer

3 Sheila Arnold

2 Danny Penna, David Bates, Greg Connor, Philip Cole, Dick Leech

Jockeys ($3,000)

7 Brendon Davis

6 Jason Lyon

3 Paul Shiers, Jarrod Todd, Stephen Ridler

2 Kayla Cross, Paul Denton

2016/17 Top End Premierships

Trainers

49 Gary Clarke

26 Kerry Petrick

17 Chris Pollard

13 Tayarn Halter

12 Jason Manning

Jockeys

32 Brendon Davis

29 Felicia Bergstrand

23 Raymond Vigar

17 Vanessa Arnott

16 Richie Oakford