HE enjoys the social aspect of horse racing, but come race day Garry Lefoe Jnr is all business.
After winning the $135,000 bet365 Palmerston Sprint (1200m) at Fannie Bay last August with Niccoco, Lefoe Jnr is in the mix to win other feature races during the Darwin Cup Carnival.
Last Saturday, Lefoe Jnr kicked off the 2018 Cup Carnival in style when lightly-raced South Australian galloper Brunswick Street (Paul Shiers) took out the $75,000 Hot 100 Darwin Guineas (1600m).
The three-year-old gelding is now in line to become only the third horse to win the Darwin Turf Club’s Triple Crown.
Connections of Brunswick Street will pick up an additional $100,000 should their horse win the $135,000 Ladbrokes NT Derby (2000m) on July 21 and the $200,000 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (2000m) on August 6.
Only Brinney (1989) and Ventilago (1996) have achieved the feat.
Brunswick Street was highly-impressive in the Guineas and come the Derby he must be respected.
“He finished strongly in the Guineas and he has pulled up super,” Lefoe Jnr said.
Lefoe Jnr, who made the move from Alice Springs to the Top End two years ago before securing his trainer’s licence, will also prepare the highly-consistent Alice Springs six-year-old gelding Peressini for the Darwin Cup.
Formerly prepared by leading Red Centre trainer Lisa Whittle, Peressini starred during the 2017 and 2018 Alice Springs Cup Carnivals.
He ended up finishing second in the Alice Springs Cup at Pioneer Park behind Pretty Blonde (2017) and Ash Grey (2018).
A winner of nine races in 44 career starts, Peressini has had 26 starts at Pioneer Park since August 2016 for six wins, seven seconds and four thirds.
His form at Fannie Bay is not endearing.
Just one win from seven starts and that occurred on debut in Darwin over 1200m in June 2015 when under the tutelage of former Alice Springs trainer Gary Searle.
These days Peressini is pretty handy from 1600-2000m and after a two year absence he might just be cherry ripe to finally make an impression in the Top End.
“It was always in the pipeline to bring him to Darwin,” Lefoe Jnr.
“He has had soundness issues, but he has ability and his main aim is the Darwin Cup.
“He has enough points to earn a start in the Cup and he has been working well since arriving two and a half weeks ago.
“I’ve put plenty of fitness into him and he is thriving – no matter if it is trackwork or swimming he is going good.”
Peressini will line up against quality opposition in the $60,000 Asian United Food Service Chief Minister’s Cup (1600m) on Saturday – the feature race on Day 2 of the 2018 Darwin Cup Carnival.
Like Peressini, most of the other runners in the Chief Minister’s Cup are also working their way towards the Darwin Cup.
A majority of the runners in the race can salute on Saturday, including last year’s winner Royal Request.
Royal Request, trained by Neil Dyer, then went on to win the 2017 Metric Mile and Darwin Cup.
“Peressini loves the dirt and should prove competitive on Saturday,” Lefoe Jnr said.
“He’ll have one more start before the Cup, but I’ll no more about the horse after Saturday.”
Lefoe Jnr is eyeing either the $50,000 Million Dollar Fish Buntine Handicap (1900m) on July 21 or the $50,000 Sky Racing Metric Mile (1600m) on July 28.
Niccoco, who hasn’t won a race since the 2018 Palmerston Sprint, will be in action as well on Saturday as the five-year-old looks to bounce back to form.
“He was third over 1000m last start (1000m) and ran well – he steps up to 1200m on Saturday and that’s more his go,” Lefoe Jnr said.
2018 Darwin Cup Carnival (Day 2) – Asian United Food Service Chief Minister’s Cup Day
Tips by David White
Race 1 – 1 TROOPER’S PLOY, 5 Wicked Promise, 2 Lindwall, 6 Barkley, 3 Bentley Tycoon
Race 2 – 6 BELEAGUER, 1 Rakitiki, 8 Hot Demand, 4 Rhythmical, 5 Moore Alpha
Race 3 – 2 EINSTEIN MAGIC, 3 Niccoco, 6 Bakslap, 4 Metallic Crown, 7 Mavericks
Race 4 – 1 AMERICAN GENIUS, 2 Cunning Moves, 4 Riverina Romance, 5 Azzuro Bianco, 3 Flash Cash
Race 5 – 1 GLOBAL ICON, 3 Combat Warrior, 2 Lucky Leslie, 4 Dark Whirlwind, 6 Que Pasa
Race 6 – 4 FOLK TALES, 2 Royal Request, 3 Zahspeed, 6 Kifaah, 7 Peressini
Race 7 – 2 LATEST BENTLEY, 1 Bartender Man, 8 Trystoff, 4 Vardy, 6 Can La