Darwin Cup Day is the premier race day at the top of Australia and the 2019 edition rolls around this Monday, with the $200,000 Darwin Cup (2000m) being the drawcard. The weather is fine and the rail is in the true position for the entire circuit.
Darwin Cup 🏆: View the Darwin Cup Field
Race 1. (13:05) Harvey Norman Handicap (66) 1100m
1 Delta D’Or (Bet Now: $11.00 TOP ODDS) for me in the opener. Patrick Johnston trains this gelding, who is a month between runs since racing at this track/distance when well back off the speed but finding the line strongly late to run a close up fourth to Torchbearer. I’d love to see Peter Hall take advantage of the inside gate and sit closer to the speed. If so, I think he’ll take some beating.
Really interesting runner is 9 Mossbelle (Bet Now: $4.00 TOP ODDS), who is making her NT debut for the Dick Leech stable. She was a handy provincial mare when racing in Victoria and times ran okay in town, so certainly has the ability to knock off a race like this and first up on Cup Day, you’d assume she’s around the mark fitness wise. Likely drifts back and look to be strong at the end.
5 Patriot Day (Bet Now: $5.50 TOP ODDS) is a Gary Clarke trained gelding who looks hard to beat here, having done plenty of work in the run here on July 17 and was entitled to drop away but he kept finding and was good in defeat behind Love Club. Draws much better for this assignment so don’t think the workload will be as heavy and stable rarely miss out on Darwin Cup Day.
Race 2. (13:40) Lightning Plate 1000m
4 Street Life (Bet Now: $3.50 TOP ODDS) looks suited back to 1000m. Won at the trip here impressively two back before stepping up to 1100m when just a bit flat footed when the sprint went on and couldn’t quite finish it off, running a narrow fourth. Like him back to 1000m, he should sit off a good speed and be strong late. Just doesn’t want to give away too much head start.
Carl Spry has done a ripping job with 5 Torchbearer (Bet Now: $6.50 TOP ODDS) since coming over from NSW. He dominated from the front when winning here two back before racing over 1100m here again where he had a decent enough run near the speed and tried hard but couldn’t quite finish it off when second to Clever Tommy but was far from disgraced. Hard to beat here.
If they do go silly in front, 3 Pot Black (Bet Now: $17.00 TOP ODDS) will be the one that will be strongest at the end of the race. Loved the way he attacked the line late first up behind Street Life before going to the 1200m where he got back and didn’t come on at all. Best suited at 1000m for mine. Just hope he doesn’t drift too far back from a wide gate. If he’s within range, he’ll be hard to hold out.
Race 3. (14:20) Schweppes Handicap (70) 1200m
Looks a lovely race for the Stephen Brown trained 2 Kronos (Bet Now: $2.60 TOP ODDS). He’s had two runs this prep, both at this track/distance. First up he led and gave them a galloping lesson before last start where he did a power of work, wide no cover on speed, and had to drop away late, which he did. Draws the inside gate, so Aitken has options. Likely leads and if he runs up to the resumption, he wins.
There were bets landed with 7 Eastwood (Bet Now: $4.60 TOP ODDS) when he won first up over 1100m. Can’t take anything away from the win given he was wide throughout and putting the pressure on, but he kept lifting under Vigar and on the line, he was the strongest. Bit more depth this time around, but you’d like to think there is only room for improvement and upside.
The winning chances of 8 Looking For You (Bet Now: $11.00 TOP ODDS) will be known after 200m, whether or not he can get over from the gate without spending too many petrol tickets. Ran over this track/distance on Wednesday where he gave a really good kick after landing on speed, copping pressure, only to be nabbed late by Federal Court. He’s going well this horse and with the right run, can figure.
Race 4. (14:55) Mantra Handicap (58) 1100m
1 Bon Aire (Bet Now: $9.00 TOP ODDS) for me. Carl Spry trains/rides this guy, who looks hard to beat off the back of his run here on July 20 when outpaced early on before picking up in the straight and he attacked the line nicely when a fifth to Hattan Man, beaten three lengths. Think he’ll take good improvement off that and if he can take advantage of the draw, he’ll be hard to hold out.
5 Lots Of Coin (Bet Now: $16.00 TOP ODDS) might want further but it was hard to miss his first up run over the 1100m here last week in an open handicap when back and finishing off hard to run third to Clever Tommy, which is regarded as decent form for the Palmerston Sprint. Back to 58 grade, looks so well placed. Just depends how far back he gets. If he’s close enough, the one to beat, clearly.
10 Vunivalu (Bet Now: $17.00 TOP ODDS) is an interesting one. Formerly with Mick Price, he made his NT debut for Phillip Cole over 1100m here when doing a stack of work from the wide gate to sit near the speed and that early burn just found him out, dropping out to finish down the track in a total forgive. His best is good enough to measure up here. Just depends how much did last start take out of him.
Race 5. (15:35) Magic Millions Handicap 1300m
I’m keen here on the Garry Lefoe trained 6 Alassak (Bet Now: $15.00). Former Queenslander that had his first run in NT over 1100m here last Saturday and I loved the way he found the line from the back to run fourth to Clever Tommy after getting a mile off them in the run. He should take really good improvement from that outing and up to 1300m, he’s very likeable.
8 Tycoon Dancer (Bet Now: $3.00) is knocking on the door to win a race for Angela Forster but the bad beginnings is hurting him, especially at his past two outings. Ran over this track/distance on Wednesday where he was tardy away, back near last in the run, yet made up a stack of ground to run second to Smuggling. I think if he jumps cleanly, he’s the one to beat.
11 Restless (Bet Now: $67.00) is a Phillip Cole trained son of Dream Ahead who had specking when resuming over 1000m here and while he never looked likely, I didn’t mind the way he found the line late behind Ruth’s Boy. Jumps up a fair bit in depth/grade and draws out, but big tick is the rise to 1300m and he’ll be one finishing off his race positively compared to some who may be out of petrol tickets.
Race 6. (16:10) Ladbrokes Handicap (62) 1300m
2 McIntyre (Bet Now: $5.50) for me. Garry Lefoe trains this gelding, who was hard in the market when resuming over 1200m here last Saturday and it was gate one that won him the race. He was just fair to begin but the gate ensured he didn’t have to do much work to make up the ground and in a tight finish, he prevailed. Would like to assume there’s room for improvement and if so, hard to beat.
10 Ticket To Paris (Bet Now: $13.00) is an Angela Forster trained mare who is racing really well at the moment but just can’t quite crack it for a win. Copped on speed pressure at this track/distance on Wednesday and fought hard but was outgunned late. Love the booking of Sairyn Fawke, who is one of the in form riders in SA at the moment and did really well at this Carnival last year.
12 Recording To Win (Bet Now: $12.00) jumps to 62 grade from maiden company but the win on Wednesday was impressive. She was wide no cover on speed for the trip yet was the one looking the winner and once Terry Treichel pushed the button, she put them away late and was impressive. If she can handle the step up in depth, I think she’s going well enough to figure in the finish.
Race 7. (16:45) Designer Kitchens Handicap 1600m
Neil Dyer is no stranger to being prominent on this race day and he has a serious winning chance here in the shape of 10 Junior Burger (Bet Now: $6.50). Former Darren Weir runner who has won 2/5 this time in. Last start saw him win at this track/distance last Saturday when leading throughout and kicking strongly to win despite copping decent midrace pressure. Has to work to lead from the gate, but like the way he’s going.
1 Java (Bet Now: $4.20) is a Gary Clarke trained gelding who should welcome the drop in depth after contesting a lead up to the Darwin Cup last time out where he led at a solid clip and tried hard but just felt the pinch late when third to Ihtsahymn. Has to lump the 62.5kg, but should get run of the race from the gate and on form is clearly one of the hardest to beat.
11 Romanesque (Bet Now: $41.00) is having his third run at Darwin so he should just about be ready. He ran down the track behind Lieder in a lead up to the Darwin Cup last time where he tried hard but was clearly no match for that horse, who is the one to beat in the feature. His Victorian would see him beat these, comfortably. Just depends if he’s handling the dirt or not.
Race 8. (17:25) Arafura Line Marking Handicap (66) 1900m
6 Borlung (Bet Now: $9.00) for me in a tricky race leading into the big one. Emma Steel trains this gelding and you’ll have concerns early because he is a horse who usually drops out to last and is niggled throughout, but as he has done recently, he’s picked up strongly and closed with purpose, winning last time out over the mile in impressive fashion. Yet to race beyond a mile but gives the impression 1900m will suit.
8 General Factor (Bet Now: $2.80) looks one of the hardest to beat on current form. Michael Hickmott trains this mare, who comes through the NT Derby where she ran a courageous race near the speed. Fought on strongly, looked the winner for a stride or two but couldn’t quite finish it off when third to Poet’s Landing, who looks hard to beat in the Cup. Just has to overcome the gate.
10 Mutin (Bet Now: $20.00) is racing as if he’ll be suited over a longer trip and that’s what he gets. He has been racing over the mile here in recent times where he has got back in the run and found the line well without really threatening for the most part. He can sit a bit closer in the run from the good gate and I really like him up to 1900m. Definite knockout chance.
Race 9. (18:05) Darwin Cup 2000m
Sometimes you can over complicate looking at a race, but sometimes it just appears obvious and that looks to be the case in the shape of 2 Lieder (Bet Now: $2.35). He was stunning/arrogant in winning here last time, confirming his status as favourite for this race. Michael Hickmott has been saying for months this is his Darwin Cup horse. He’s two minutes away from confirming that.
This would be remarkable if 1 Ihtsahymn (Bet Now: $3.50) was to win. Former Group l winner who has found a new home in the care of Rob Gulberti. Stunning winner first up winner at Broome with 66kg. Then raced over the mile here in a lead up and was impressive in getting the job done. I think he’s going to find it hard to beat Lieder if that horse runs up to last start. If he doesn’t then Ihtsahymn is the pony to bet on.
It’ll be interesting to see what Sairyn Fawke does on 8 Lotion (Bet Now: $18.00). This gelding ran a gutsy second to Ihtsahymn in the lead up after sitting near the speed, kicking away late and looking home. Just couldn’t quite finish the job and was grabbed late. Is a two time winner at the trip and perhaps with a more conservative steer, he’ll get the trip on the dirt. Must for multiples.
Best Bets & Quaddie Tips
BEST BET: Race Three Number 2 Kronos
NEXT BEST: Race Nine Number 2 Lieder
LONG SHOT: Race One Number 1 Delta D’Or
Quaddie Tips (Races Six Through To Nine):
Leg One: 2, 3, 10, 12
Leg Two: 1, 2, 10, 11
Leg Three: 1, 4, 6, 8, 10
Leg Four: 1, 2
$50 Investment = 31.25% 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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