ARGUABLY the best female trainer in the Top End, Kerry Petrick has been enjoying an excellent run of late.
Petrick managed a winning double on Ladies Day on Wednesday – Day 3 of the Darwin Cup Carnival.
She kicked things off when ever-improving sprinter Kilim took out the Silk Laser Clinics Handicap (1100m).
In the very next race, Ombromani ended a long drought by taking out the Toyota Finance 0-62 Handicap (1300m).
However, it was two Darwin-based male trainers who took out the feature races on the program.
Carl Spry, who is also one of the best jockeys in the Northern Territory, piloted Hammered Art to a stunning victory in the $50,000 Bridge Toyota Cup (1600m).
Earlier in the day, a beaming Bob Richard celebrated the win of Niccorossa in the Fusion Exhibition and Hire Services Rose Bowl (1300m) for the fillies and mares.
Garry Lefoe Jnr, who won the Darwin Guineas (1600m) with Brunswick Street, won the opening race with former New Zealand galloper Culzean in the WTRNT 0-66 Handicap.
And Alice Springs trainer Mark Nyhan tasted success on the six-event program when Halogem saluted in the Southern Cross Television 0-58 Handicap (1600m).
Darwin Cup Carnival (Day 3) – Ladies Day on July 18
Race 1 – WTRNT 0-66 Handicap (1100m)
CULEZAN had 22 starts in New Zealand before he arrived at the stable of Garry Lefoe Jnr in Darwin.
The four-year-old gelding won his first race on Australian soil after a last start second on debut at Fannie Bay over 1200m on June 30 against 0-66 opposition.
Hugging the rails after jumping from the inside gate, Culzean ($3) basically led from start to finish to seal victory.
He held off Gary Clarke’s $2.90 favourite Sky Muster (Carl Spry) by three quarters of a length with Kevin Lamprecht’s $4.60 hope Cleese (Felicia Bergstrand), who had a slight hiccup at the 500m, a further half length away in third place.
When they jumped, Culzean, Jason Manning’s Tuscarora (Vanessa Arnott), Sky Muster and Cleese were spread across the track as they battled for the early ascendancy.
Former Rose Bowl winner Alphabetic (Jarrod Todd) from the Heather Lehmann stable was the only runner in the race and was never in the mix.
“He ran on the dirt for the first time last start and didn’t appreciate the dirt on his face,” Lefoe Jnr said.
“He went good today – he was able to settle – and he was also back in distance today.
“He’ll just peg along – there’s a race on Cup Day (0-70) that might suit him.”
Race 2 – Silk Laser Clinics Handicap (1100m)
THE stocks of Kerry Petrick’s sprinter Kilim continue to soar.
A six-year-old gelding with 54 runs under his belt, the former Victorian galloper has made the big step to the higher ranks with aplomb.
Kilim made it four wins from seven starts in 2018 – and at the same time tasted success over 1100m for the first time.
And after Wednesday’s milestone Paul Denton, the winning jockey, believes he could get 1200m – which may prompt Petrick to start Kilim in the $135,000 bet365 Palmerston Sprint on August 4.
Settling behind the leaders, Kilim ($6) made his move along the rails in the home straight to catch Tayarn Halter’s $6.50 hope Your Excellency (Paul Shiers) to win by a long neck.
Carl Spry’s $3.80 prospect El Toranado, who was also ridden by Spry, was never far away throughout the race and finished a length adrift in third place.
Gary Clarke’s pair Ticket To Toorak (Brendon Davis), the $3.20 favourite, and Kiss The Condor (Richie Oakford) had every chance before finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
“How good is that?” Petrick said.
“And they said he couldn’t win beyond 1000m.
“He travelled well and maintained a good cruising speed.
“He is a big horse and it takes a lot to get him going.
“I’ll just wait until he re-groups – the Palmerston Sprint is now a possibility.”
Race 3 – Toyota Finance 0-62 Handicap (1300m)
KERRY Petrick was rewarded for her persistence and patience when Ombromani finally won his first race in the NT.
And that was at the 16th attempt after arriving in the NT from NSW in July last year.
Prior to that, the four-year-old gelding had not won a race since February last year at Cessnock against 0-55 opposition.
Ombromani has always been competitive in Darwin and Alice Springs – he just lacked that element of luck.
Jumping from the inside gate, Ombromani ($10) settled in front and ran his rivals off their legs – even though Petrick was worried he may not get the 1300m.
Dick Leech’s $15 contender Zap (Jason Lyon), who was a distant last when they jumped, certainly made up plenty of ground with an exhilarating burst of speed in the home straight to grab second place.
Paul and Tracey Templeton’s $6.50 hope Preemptive (Jason Maskiell), who has had a win and a second since arriving in the Top End, had every chance and finished third.
“It took me a year to get him back – it did take a while,” Petrick said.
“I just needed a bit of luck, but my patience was put to the test.
“It was a great ride by Wayne – he was confident the horse would get the 1300m and the inside barrier helped.
“Ombromani showed a lot of early promise, but he had his troubles and he has been a challenge.”
Subai Subai was a recent winner for Petrick at Fannie Bay and that’s after the horse returned from a long lay-off because of injury.
Proof that Petrick will exhaust every avenue.
Race 4 – Fusion Exhibition and Hire Services Rose Bowl (1300m)
“I’m a happy old man.”
So said Darwin trainer Bob Richard when Niccorossa (Felicia Bergstrand) won the $30,000 Rose Bowl (1300m) at Fannie Bay on Wednesday.
It was the biggest win of the six-year-old mare’s care, so no wonder you couldn’t wipe the smile off Richard’s face.
Arriving in the Northern Territory in September 2016, Niccorossa had had 14 starts in Darwin and two runs at Adelaide River for just two wins.
A win over 1200m on Anzac Day against 0-64 class ended a winning drought that stretched back to June 2017.
The former South Australian galloper wasn’t considered a top hope in the Rose Bowl after a last start seventh over 1200m against her own sex (0-62) on July 7.
The bookies were cheering when the $20 outsider took out the Darwin Cup Carnival’s feature race for the fillies and mares with a 0-70 rating.
Niccorossa settled in front after jumping from a wide gate, but once turning for home there were concerns she may have chewed up too much petrol.
After shaking Phil Cole’s Dust ‘N’ Diamonds (Kayla Cross), Cole’s stablemate Perpetual Bliss (Wayne Davis) finished powerfully to threaten Niccorossa.
In a blanket finish, Niccorossa survived to pip Perpetual Bliss ($15) by a short half head with Dust ‘N’ Diamonds ($11) a half a length away in third place.
Neil Dyer’s Miss Mosh (Jarrod Todd) came from no where to finish fourth, while Cole’s $2.80 favourite Baker’s Dozen (Jason Maskiell) had every chance before coming fifth.
“She’s a funny horse to train and it took me time to work her out,” Richard said.
“She’s also a nervous horse and she has her ups and downs, but it worked today.
“Barrier nine was a worry, but in the end it was a top effort by Niccorossa.”
Bergstrand said that going from 1200m to 1300m was always slight concern.
“Bob asked me to get Niccorossa up there at the start – to be up with the speed – but she used up a lot of juice,” she said.
“We were paddling with 100m to go and just tried to hold on.
“There was a worry that 1300m might be too far.
“She is a tough horse and it was a fighting win, I’m very happy.”
Back in the mounting yard, a gracious Davis greeted Bergstrand.
“I thought I got you,” he said.
Race 5 – Southern Cross Television 0-58 Handicap (1600m)
HALOGEM was screaming for 1600m and duly delivered when he posted his second win at Fannie Bay.
There is no denying the fact that Mark Nyhan’s four-year-old gelding from Alice Springs had proven competitive in seven starts from 1100-1300m since February in the Red Centre and Top End.
Settling at the rear of the field in transit – which was no surprise – Halogem ($5) powered home in the final 200m on Wednesday to catch the early leaders and win by almost two lengths.
Phil Cole’s $3.50 favourite Wicked Rhythm (Felicia Bergstrand) and Dick Leech’s $26 roughie Redwood Gardens (Kayla Cross) came from the rear as well to fill the minor placings.
Ken Rogerson’s $9.50 hope Exonerate (Paul Shiers) had every chance after making what appeared to be a winning move at the home turn, but faded to finish fourth.
“He has got a few gears and he needed the mile today as 1300m wasn’t long enough,” Nyhan said.
“He did get a fair way back, but that’s his style.
“I thought he was a chance today stepping up to the mile – the extra 300m was always going to suit him.”
Halogem seemed to lose focus with 300m to go before getting down to business.
“He is immature and racing against a big field over the mile was a big test,” Nyhan said.
“A smaller field may have been easier, but I’m not complaining.”
Halogem’s last win in Darwin occurred on Palmerston Sprint Day last year (August 5) when he overcame 3YO and 4YO rivals at a Class 2 level over 1100m.
“It was his first run over 1600m this preparation and although we got back I was confident a long way from home,” Lyon said.
“He was definitely looking for 1600m today and once he cruised up to them the issue was never in doubt.”
Race 6 – Bridge Toyota Cup (1600m)
HE has a hard edge about him at times, but Darwin trainer-jockey Carl Spry showed his soft side on Wednesday.
It may have also been his compassionate side as well.
There was one person who came to mind when Spry rode Hammered Art ($9.50) to victory in the $50,000 event.
It was the feature race on Day 3 of the Darwin Cup Carnival and Spry celebrated the win with everyone connected with his stable.
However, part-owner Leon Wetzel came to mind when Spry assessed the six-year-old gelding’s biggest ever win.
“Leon has always been the missing link,” Spry said.
“He lives on Great Keppel Island and I gave him a ring on Sunday.
“He has been battling illness and had treatment recently, so I encouraged Leon to make the trip to Darwin.
“It’s great that he is here to see Hammered Art win.
“Hopefully, it gave Leon a lift before he heads home on Thursday.
“Everyone at the stable contributes to our success, but perhaps Leon was the difference today.”
A highly competitive commodity since arriving in the NT from NSW in April 2016, it was Hammered Arts sixth win in 35 career starts.
He returned to action on July 7 after finishing 10th in Ash Grey’s Alice Springs Cup (2000m) win on May 7.
And he was more than a decent chance yesterday after a blistering finish when third behind Sacambaya and Aussie Jack over 1300m.
It mirrored his burst of speed in the Bridge Toyota Cup for 0-76 rated horses.
A clear last yesterday once the field settled entering the back straight, Hammered Art ($9.50) circled the entire field before flashing home in the final stages to seal a memorable win.
There were numerous chances at the top of the home straight as the back-markers caught the leaders.
They were spread across the track before Garry Lefoe Jnr’s $3.70 hope Grand Teton (Paul Shiers) hit the front.
Last year’s winner Quantum Dot (Paul Denton), a $5 hope from the Sheila Arnold stable, pounced and looked set for victory before Hammered Art arrived on the scene.
In a thrilling finish, Hammered Art got the cash by a half neck with Quantum Dot edging out Grand Teton by a neck for second.
Bob Richard’s Spartan Eagle (Felicia Bergstrand) and Neil Dyer’s Gracious Prospect (Jarrod Todd) weren’t far away in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
“I realise that he has now qualified for the Metric Mile, but I’m not sure what I’ll do with him right now,” Spry added.
“You could say that Hammered Art is an out and out stayer – he did win the 1900m race on (Darwin) Cup Day in 2016.
“He is a good horse, but he can be his own worst enemy as he gets back too far.
“It was a good win today, but he just lacks that consistency when it comes to winning.”
2018 Darwin Cup Carnival – Asian United Food Service Trainer’s and Jockey’s Bonus (Day 3)
Trainers ($5000) – 4 Gary Clarke; 3 Dick Leech; 2 Phil Cole, Karen Byrnes, Kerry Petrick, Garry Lefoe Jnr; 1 Paul and Tracey Templeton, Heather Lehmann, Craig Conron, Neil Dyer, Bob Richard, Mark Nyhan, Carl Spry
Jockeys ($3000) – 5 Jason Lyon; 4 Brendon Davis; 2 Barry Huppatz, Jarrod Todd, Paul Shiers, Wayne Davis, Felicia Bergstrand; 1 Jason Maskiell, Paul Denton, Carl Spry