IT’S A LONG WAY TO THE TOP – 3753KM TO BE EXACT

BY DAVID WHITE

IT’S a massive exercise for interstate trainers to have their stable represented at the Darwin Cup Carnival.

Just ask Seymour-based trainer Danny Penna, who left home in April bound for the Top End – via Alice Springs.

According to Google, it’s 3753km from the Victorian country town to Darwin.

“It’s a huge effort getting horses to the Northern Territory, a major exercise,” Penna said.

“Your horses have to get used to the warmer weather because it’s a lot cooler down south at this time of year.

“The humidity has been an issue too, but it’s the same for other interstate trainers as well.

“Some of the 12 horses I brought with me have adapted to the track conditions in Darwin and Alice Springs, but not all of them have coped – in fact some have struggled.”

The signs were promising for Penna when he began his Northern Territory sojourn when Threepeat finished second behind Delta D’Or in the NT Guineas (1600m) at Pioneer Park in Alice Springs on April 8.

Penna then made his way to the Top End with Moonlight Hussler getting the cash on May 20.

On Day 1 of the Darwin Cup Carnival on July 8, Penna had a winning double when Threepeat and First Draft saluted.

“Unfortunately, I haven’t had a win since the first day of the Carnival, but that’s racing, however I’ve had my fair share of minor placings,” Penna said.

“I’ve kept the 12 horses here in Darwin and I’ll probably run them at the Darwin meetings on August 19.

“I’m not sure whether I’ll take horses to the Katherine Cup meeting on August 12, but I’ll have a clearer picture after the Darwin meetings on Saturday and Monday.”

It’s the second time Penna has made the trip to the Top End and he has hinted that it won’t be his last.

“It’s an experience, no question, but the racing is fantastic and how could you possible fault the weather,” he said.

“It’s not easy winning races, in fact it’s probably getting harder, as trainers from all over Australia are bringing quality horses to Darwin.

“The prizemoney is hard to fault, so why wouldn’t you come to the Darwin, as well as Alice Springs.

“It’s hard to win a race anywhere in Australia, regardless if it’s a normal meeting or a big meeting, and it’s especially difficult here in Darwin.

“That’s perhaps a true reflection how competitive it can be during a Darwin Cup Carnival.

“The bottom line is that you’ve got to bring the right horses to the Top End, as well as Alice Springs, if you want success.

“Supercoach has been nominated for the Darwin Cup, but a poor rating will inevitably cost him a start.

“It would be good to come to Fannie Bay in the future because I’d love to win the Darwin Cup one day.

“We’re in no hurry to head home, but we’ll probably be on the road before the end of the month – it will take us four days to get back to Seymour.”

Once back home, Penna will be straight back to work.

“They race seven days a week these days, so once I get home it will be back to business,” he said.

“The horses I currently have in Darwin will have a well-earned rest when we get home.

“Other horses in the stable will be back at work, and with spring not far away the racing will only intensify.

“Apart from races during the day there’s also plenty of night racing ahead back in Victoria.

“Racing at various country meetings will once again be the normal routine, but having horses running in Melbourne on a regular basis is also the plan.”

Today is Day 6 of the Darwin Cup Carnival and Penna will have two runners on deck at Fannie Bay.

Rye (Richie Oakford), a six-year-old gelding, is a $12 hope in the $20,000 Spa Lotus 0 – 62 Handicap (1600m), which is the third race on the six-event program.

Moonlight Hussler (Richie Oakford), yet another six-year-old gelding from the Penna stable, is a $11 fancy in the $35,000 Darwin Corporate Cup (1300m) – the last race of the day.

It is also the feature race on the program, with the Gary Clarke-trained five-year-old gelding One Faster (Brendon Davis) the $2.70 favourite.

Day 7 – Darwin Cup Carnival at Fannie Bay

$135,000 bet365 Palmerston Sprint (1200m)

1  x1231x1x1x LE COMMANDANT 7g (Greg Connor) 1 Stephen Ridler 60.5

2  21111×1611 TICKET TO TOORAK 7g (Gary Clarke) 7 Brendon Davis 60.5

3  322015x13x KING’S PARDON 8g (Gary Clarke) 2 Paul Denton 60.0

4  2x111707x2 YOUR EXCELLENCY 9g (Tayarn Halter) 3 Scratched 58.0

5  1118x120x1 CAPTAIN PUNCH 6g (Gary Clarke) 8 Richie Oakford 57.0

6  11×3122234 SUPER BRYAN 5g (Will Sabage) 9 Barry Huppatz 57.0

7  53725×3448 ACTION AGAIN 10g (Neil Dyer) 6 Paul Shiers 56.5

8  x432024021 BOOMWAA 6g (Gary Clarke) 5 Jason Lyon 55.5

9  977075×332 GRACIOUS PROSPECT 7g (Neil Dyer) 4 Jarrod Todd 55.5

10  2453852234 LADY PHROMILY 7m (Lisa Whitle) 11 Carl Spry 54.0

11  41111×5205 CADMAN 5g (Merv Rumble) 12 Felicia Bergstrand 54.0

12  21233×11 HE’S OUR WOODY 5g (David Bates) 13 Kayla Cross 54.0

13  5x8276x131 NICCOCO 5g (Garry Lefoe Jnr) 14 Raymond Vigar 54.0

Emergency

14 x5399x1711 JACKANORY 4g (Dick Leech) 10 Not Notified 54.0