Courtesy of NT News

THE leading trainer-jockey duo of Gary Clarke and Jarrod Todd have pulled off the rare Palmerston Sprint – Darwin Cup double after a daring and emotional run on Cup day.

When Playoffs drew the widest barrier in the Cup, it looked like an uphill battle for the pair and the six-year-old horse.

But Todd, who had also sealed three lead-up races on the day as well as the Alice Springs Cup earlier in the year, kept the gelding out of trouble. He moved Playoffs forward out of the first straight and from there gave the $5.50 second favourite enough of a chance so that when he hit the closing straight he was ahead of the pack.

The gelding maintained his position to the line, holding off the Neil Dyer-trained Kaonic, ridden by John Keating, by two lengths.

Capping an amazing day for Clarke, Playoffs’ stablemate Vallabar, with hoop Anthony Darmanin aboard, was third.

Jason Manning’s Noir De Rue took out fourth place.

For champion trainer Clarke it was his fourth Darwin Cup victory, having won one as a jockey and now holding three wins as a trainer.

“It was a big win. A race like that isn’t something you do with just one or two months of planning, it takes six months,” Clarke said.

“What you need to do in a race like this is stay out of trouble.

“I knew he had the ability to do it, the only unknown factor was if he had the speed coming out of the gates.

“It’s pretty good to get the double. They don’t come around often, I did it a couple of years ago with Captain Punch and Zahspeed.

It’s been a very hard year, but we’ve had good people around us and good staff that sort of helped us through.

“We’ve had good help all the way through.”

Todd called the win a very special occasion for himself and the Clarke family, who he credited for the amount of work they put it.

“It’s pretty special, it’s pretty special for Gary and the family who lost their son earlier in the year,” Todd said.

“I couldn’t be happier with the result.

“I put in a fair bit of work to get here, but nothing like Gary and Sharlene who deal with everything they can and I’m just lucky enough to pilot these horses.

“Playoffs had a strong gallop. He could have gone another 200m and still won it, so a really good run from the horse.”

The Clarke-Todd combination won an emotion-charged Palmerston Sprint with Syncline at the Fannie Bay track on Saturday.

Syncline was part-owned by Leanne Montgomerie, whose daughter Simone died after a race fall in Darwin nine years ago on a Clarke-trained horse.

It has been a massive carnivalfor the Clarke stable.

It started with the win of Wolfburn in the Darwin Guineas in early July and has followed with Syncline’s victory and four winners including the feature race on Darwin Cup day.