A monster twelve race program has been assembled for Darwin on Monday to showcase the best of the best NT racing has to offer, with the Palmerston Sprint and Darwin Cup joined for one massive race day. The weather is fine and the rail is in the true position for the entire circuit.
Darwin Cup 🏆: View the Field for the Darwin Cup
Race 1. (11:00) Silks Darwin Mdn Plate 1100m
Really tough way to start Cup Day. I think ability wise, 2 Marsalis (Bet Now: $6.00) is the best horse in the race. Formerly with Chris Waller, this gelding is now with Angela Forster and has had three runs for the stable. Heavily backed when racing over 1300m here last time out where she landed near the speed and tried hard, but just whacked late when fourth. Back to 1100m is interesting, but she looks a relatively safe option, albeit confidence is not high.
9 Schillertin (Bet Now: $3.40) is an obvious market watch here. Dick Leech trains this mare, who makes her NT debut after formerly being with Matty Williams at Warrnambool where she ran okay without winning in some handy maidens in Victoria. Always have to respect these cast offs when making their debut in this part of the world.
If 7 I Dream Of Jena (Bet Now: $13.00) is within range on the turn, she can easily take this out. Ran in the same 1300m maiden that Marsalis contested. She just got too far back, run off her legs, but was good late. Back to 1100m is interesting given she was beaten for speed at 1300m, so that’s why you’re getting double figures and not $6-$7.
Race 2. (11:35) Aertex Group Hcp (66) 1100m
Looks to be a stack of speed here, so looking for something that will sit off it and be strong late, which I hope will be 4 Hattan Man (Bet Now: $8.50), who has been racing in open/76 company in his past few runs and now comes back to this grade after finishing down the track behind The Captain in a Palmerston Sprint Prelude. That has to read well for this, can see Vigar taking a sit and finishing over the top.
Big query here is 5 Mandater (Bet Now: $6.00), who resumes for Dick Leech. Hasn’t raced since the Carnival last year when contesting a 1200m 3YO race, finishing third to Gogoldcoast. 53 weeks between runs and resuming in what will be a brutally run race is the query, likewise the fact the stable is only 3/37 last 12 months with runners first up. Market will be the guide.
3 Tornado Of Souls (Bet Now: $10.00) is looking for three on end for the Peter Stennett team. Each time he has stepped up to the plate, he has handled it well, with the last two wins coming over this track/distance in easier races than this. Tricky draw and will have to do plenty of work, but hard to knock the way he’s going.
Race 3. (12:10) Ascend Sales Trophies Hcp (62) 1000m
2 Belmont Day (Bet Now: $1.65) is short enough but he looks very progressive and should make it 3/3 in this part of the world. Bolted up to win the maiden over 1000m before stepping up to 1100m where he led again and was impressive again. He’s running times that suggest that in the future, he could be a Palmerston Sprint type. Should hold up from gate one and prove too good.
6 Frilly Design (Bet Now: $3.40) is a stablemate of Belmont Day that is going well without winning. She had a really good battle with Tornado Of Souls over 1100m here last time out and that pair cleared right out to fight the finish out, with Tornado Of Souls just getting the better. Back to 1000m I like. Just bumps into a very smart stablemate.
If they go stupid in front here, 5 Flash Of Thunder (Bet Now: $23.00) could well finish over the top. Rob Gulberti could be in for a big day with chances in the two features. He has this guy to start his day and his two runs this time in have been just fair but third up now, he’s hard fit and if they overdo it in front, he can launch late.
Race 4. (12:48) Great Northern Original (58) 1600m
Looks a lovely race for 1 Call Me Legend (Bet Now: $2.80). Was keen on him in the NT Derby last time out, hoping he would sit closer in the run from the good draw, but just got too far back again and was never a factor, albeit did make up good ground late. This looks much easier and if he’s within range on the turn, I think he wins.
Bit surprised that 4 Happy Bibi (Bet Now: $8.00) is three times the price of Call Me Legend. While I like that horse here, I think you could easily save on this horse. He was very good in defeat in the Derby after doing a stack of midrace work and was there fighting until around the final 150m. Better run this time around, I think he’ll run a beauty.
Up to the mile looks ideal for 3 Escalator (Bet Now: $15.00), who resumed over 1200m here back on July 11 when run off his legs early and struggling to keep up. Got going late but was never a winning factor. Love the booking of Robbie Fradd and from the inside gate, hopefully can sit closer in the run and be strong at the end.
Race 5. (13:23) Seppelt Wines Montgomerie (69) 1600m
It’s been an interesting set up for 2 Prince Planet (Bet Now: $5.00) but Kevin Hickmott has him flying. Impressive winner at this track/distance three back before dropping back to sprint company at his next two, the latest seeing him finish off well behind The Captain. Straight to the mile is interesting, but potentially leads or sits outside Java and is hard to beat.
1 Java (Bet Now: $4.50) looks suited to this level. Did run a narrow second in the Alice Springs Cup and was being aimed at the Darwin Cup but in the two lead ups, he didn’t quite measure up behind Savatoxl, who is the yardstick for that race. Drop back to the next level I do like for this guy and potentially gets a soft lead depending on Prince Planet.
3 Pinzu (Bet Now: $18.00) was in the similar boat to Java in the sense that he was trying to earn a crack at the Darwin Cup but like Java, didn’t really fire a shot in a couple of lead ups behind Savatoxl. This looks more his go and with the smaller field, hopefully he isn’t too far away. Has showed enough since coming to the NT to suggest he can be competitive here.
Race 6. (13:57) Ladbrokes Hcp (62) 1300m
Tricky race to sort out with confidence. 2 Rhythmical (Bet Now: $6.50) gets the nod though. Kevin Lamprecht trains this gelding, who hasn’t raced since July 11 at this track/distance when doing work on speed to hold a spot and kept finding, only tiring late, but the run was full of merit. Love the booking of the ‘Fawke Lift’, and hoping he can dominate from the front.
11 Art Of More (Bet Now: $4.50) is the one that’s been popular in early betting and given the light weight, can understand why. Narrow second fresh at this track/distance before stepping back to 1100m when run off his legs but worked home very well late. Tumbles down to 52.5kg after the claim and back up in trip is a big tick.
Think a rise in trip will suit 8 Ima Puppet (Bet Now: $8.00). He has run over 1100m in both runs back from a spell where he hasn’t really been a winning threat Outpaced early and struggling to keep up, but has made ground late each time, suggesting that a rise to 1300m will suit and he does have a really strong third up record.
Race 7. (14:38) Magic Millions (71) 1300m
Looks a race in two. With fitness, just leaning the way of 3 Paseeto (Bet Now: $4.00). He’s done a really good job since coming to the NT, winning two of five and placing in a further two. Loved the way he picked up late from off the speed to win over 1000m here a few weeks ago, with the race run at a strong tempo, with him finishing over the top. Like him up in trip and has the fitness edge over his main threat.
That main threat is 4 Spielberg (Bet Now: $3.00), who made his NT debut over 1200m here around a month ago and he was impressive. Unwanted in betting, sat last in the run but went through his gears and he really attacked the line like a nice horse to score. Can only see the extra 100m suiting him and he does have more upside.
2 Dawn Raid (Bet Now: $14.00) could be an improver at odds. Was okay in the Darwin Cup last year but wasn’t able to get ready in time for another crack. Resumed over 1000m here where he was run off his legs early and was never a winning threat but did make up ground late and wasn’t too bad. Good second up record as well.
Race 8. (15:13) Betfair Hcp (58) 1200m
Short enough is 4 Toorak Road (Bet Now: $2.60) but he looks most likely. Drifter in betting when racing over 1100m just under two weeks ago but it was a lovely ride by Huppartz from the wide gate to slot into a spot just off the speed and from there, around 600m out, it was race over. Up to 1200m is no issue and is hard to beat.
2 El Sicario (Bet Now: $8.00), when trained in Victoria, looked a pure 1000m horse, but new stable here in the NT, he wants 1200m off the resumption over 1100m here where he was back and off the bit, but picked up late and was sound in defeat in running fourth. Got upside to come and off that run, the extra 100m will suit.
1 Black Haze (Bet Now: $10.00) is certainly capable if he found anything near his best form. Hasn’t raced since June 17 at this track/distance when back and failign to pick up in a disappointing effort behind The Trooper in a race where the form has been pretty good, with a couple winners to come out of it. Like Gatt aboard and is a horse who can perform well on the fresh side.
Race 9. (15:52) Schweppes Hcp (70) 1200m
9 The Trooper (Bet Now: $5.50) has been in work a little while but is holding his form pretty well. Was 3/3 to start the prep but that run came to an end when racing at this track/distance just under two weeks ago when a notable drifter in betting. Was wide no cover on speed and just felt the pinch late. Better luck this time around and he can bounce back.
7 Vunivalo (Bet Now: $5.50) is the horse that won the race mentioned above that The Trooper ran third in. He led throughout and despite a line of three, the pressure wasn’t overly high and he took full advantage, kicking clear on the turn and bolting up by over three. Was only second up there, so he’s got room to come.
3 Torchbearer (Bet Now: $9.00) is a must for multiples. He’s been a real model of consistency this time in, the latest run seeing him finish second to the in form Paseeto when afforded a lovely spot just off the speed before getting the split and dashing clear, looking home, but was nabbed late by Paseeto. Gate one and the 3kg claim certainly helps.
Race 10. (16:34) Palmerston Sprint 1200m
I think each way is the option here via 4 High Cost (Bet Now: $10.00), who has done a great job since coming to the NT for Kevin Hickmott. Ran in the lead up to this race when eased back from the wide gate and making up a stack of ground late to run third to The Captain. Can sit much closer in the run from the draw and is hard to beat.
2 The Captain (Bet Now: $4.20) had excuses in this race last year and you’d think there is unfinished business with him. He comes here in winning form after winning the race mentioned above, showing sustained speed from the front over 1100m and was too good. Great record at the track/distance, holds up from gate one and will give an almighty sight.
9 Golden Dice (Bet Now: $11.00) should appreciate the fast tempo. He ran in a lead up won by Captain Punch where he was hard in the market but showed no early interest and couldn’t really get going at any stage in a total forgive. Love the booking of Fawke and the rise to 1200m is a tick also. Can be a big improver at odds.
Race 11. (17:20) Garrards Horse And Hound (66) 2050m
With 2 Escondido (Bet Now: $2.00). Gary Clarke trained four year old that was trying to press claims for a start in the Darwin Cup via the NT Derby and while he ran well, he was beaten seven lengths by Budget King but did beat the rest by 2.5L. No horse of that quality here, so just has to hold his form and think he wins this.
1 Yulong Awesome (Bet Now: $4.20) is racing as if the 2050m will be fine. Led throughout to win over the mile here last time out, getting good control from the front and he didn’t let his supporters down, kicking strongly in the straight to get the job done. From gate one, I suspect he’ll lead this field up and if he gets control, he’ll take some running down.
6 Wicked Rhythm (Bet Now: $6.50) has had a few runs at the mile now and is looking like he wants further so the rise to 2050m I do like. Fought back strongly to win two back before racing here on July 22 and worked home okay without threatening behind Rosherville. The 2000m I do like for him and is a knockout chance at a price.
Race 12. (18:00) Darwin Cup 2050m
The Derby/Cup set up has been a trap in recent years, but with the Derby being 1600m this year and not 2000m, the run wasn’t as hard, so with that in mind, I am with 10 Budget King (Bet Now: $4.20), who gave them an absolute spanking to win the Derby, to the point where connections are thinking he could be a horse for Dubai should he win here. He’s the one to beat.
Enormous respect to the topweight and last years winner, 1 Ihtsahymn (Bet Now: $3.80). Resumed over the mile here, where the market knew it was a prep run for this race. Loved the way he worked home when second to Savatoxl. Got more upside and a 1kg weight pull, so think he turns the tables there, and is a proven weight carrier.
I’m very wary of 7 Handsome Return (Bet Now: $6.00), who has been sent to Gary Clarke after being with Will Clarken. Comes here off the back of what I thought was a really strong win over 2300m in the Port Augusta, where he was there to be beaten on the turn and in the straight, but he fought hard and was too good. Back in trip is no issue and does have a touch of quality.
Best Bets & Quaddie Tips
BEST BET: Race Four Number 1 Call Me Legend
NEXT BEST: Race Eleven Number 2 Escondido
LONG SHOT: Race Six Number 2 Rhythmical
Quaddie Tips (Races Nine Through To Twelve):
Leg One: 1, 3, 7, 8, 9
Leg Two: 1, 2, 4, 9
Leg Three: 2
Leg Four: 1, 2, 7, 10
$50 Investment = 62.50% of the dividend if successful
All odds are subject to change. Odds listed are correct at the time of the latest update.
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