EL MAGNIFICENCE belied his age and gained a well overdue win in the Ladbrokes Summer Sprint Series (Heat 5) Handicap, feature event at Fannie Bay on Friday.

The 9yo – he will be 10 on 1 August – has been a great acquisition for Phil Cole since joining his stable just under two years ago. He has since raced on 25 occasions, and yesterday’s win was his seventh for the Top End conditioner. He had finished second at his previous three starts prior to his latest victory, his 12th all told.

Ridden by Cole’s apprentice Emma Lines, El Magnificence began well but Mr Have A Chat took up the running soon after, with Patriotic King putting some pressure into the contest at the 900m mark.

Mr Have A Chat was seemingly in control on the final bend but just drifted off the fence a little, allowing El Magnificence a saloon passage up the inside. The son of Magnus was clearly the stronger over the last 150m and reached the line just over two lengths clear of Mr Have A Chat, with Vallabar finishing on into third two and a-half lengths back.

Canton Kid, the 1200m track record holder having his first start since Darwin Cup Day, was next to finish but unfortunately suffered a bleeding attack and was led back to scale by rider Paul Shiers.

Whitten gave Cole and Lines a double when getting home hard to down Starspangledancer in the Great Northern 3&4YO Class 2 Handicap (1200m). 

Starspangledancer began well from gate six, led comfortably rounding the home turn and looked set for victory until Whitten, who had settled back in the field, unleashed a strong last 100m burst. The margin was a long neck, with Erroneous sticking on bravely to hold third a length and three-quarters back.

Whitten broke his maiden two starts previously over 1100m, and the extra trip was no impediment to him. The runner-up looked as though she would take improvement from the outing, her first since 21 October.

Bon’s Pride continued his rich vein of form when striding clear of his four rivals to win the Cup Carnival – Tickets On Sale 12 February Handicap (1200m).

Prepared by Jason Manning and with Vanessa Arnott back aboard – she missed the horse’s previous win when celebrating a milestone birthday – Bon’s Pride was allowed to find his feet as Vunivalu led pursued by Fromthenevernever.

Arnott improved her mount’s position into third by the end of the back straight, and set out after the leaders approaching the home turn. Bon’s Pride swung out three wide into the straight and soon after collared the leaders, before striding clear to win cosily by two lengths from Bel’s Banner, who finished off well, with Vunivalu third.

Bon’s Pride was purchased by clients of Manning’s stable at the Magic Millions DTC Tried Horse Sale at Darwin Cup time last year for $22,000, and has proven a good money-spinner for his connections. From just five Top End starts, he has three successive wins, a second and a fourth for sNT takes of $43,725.

The 4yo son of Bon Aurum and Shameless has now won four of his 14 careers starts, and judged on his last three efforts, there is plenty more in store.

Desarmer made an immediate impact on his first Darwin start when scoring in the Mindil Beach Casino Resort Handicap (1300m).

Trained by Gary Clarke and with Jarrod Todd in the saddle, Desarmer sat on the outer of Looking For you before taking over in front with about 600m to run.

The son of Turn Me Loose established a break around the home turn and looked set for a comfortable victory, only for Queen In The North to dash home late to run the winner to a half-length. I’m a Dreamer took third just over two lengths back.

Clarke bagged a double in the last of the day when Wilsons Prom, ridden by Adam Nicholls, gave his rivals a galloping lesson in the Remembering Ken Rogerson Handicap (1600m). The usually consistent son of Xtravagant blotted his copybook last time out when a distant last on Australia Day, but bounced back to his very best form, taking control before the home turn and kicking well clear to win by over six lengths from New Enterprise, with Kippax an eye-catching third.