2017 Darwin Cup Day is the headline race meet in the Northern Territory and has drawn nine talent-rich fields to Fannie Bay Racecourse on Monday afternoon.
The racing on 2017 Darwin Cup Day is set to get underway with the running of the GBI Racing 0-66 Handicap (1000m) at 12:25pm local time, while the feature race will be run and won at 5:25pm.
Race 1 (12:25pm) GBI Racing 0-66 Handicap (1000m)
Only six horses will contest Race 1 on Darwin Cup day and there is a case to be made for each. Bancroft (barrier 6) and Razor Time (barrier 5) have both posted several smart results this time, but have been charged with carrying 60kgs each. The Hummel (barrier 4) worked home to finish third in a 1200m race last time and will need luck in dropping back in distance, while Grande Castagno (barrier 2), Global Icon (barrier 3) and Roughly (barrier 1) all finished in the minors at their most-recent starts and cannot be counted out of contention.
Tip: No. 4 Grande Castagno
Race 2 (1:05pm) Yellowglen ‘Montgomerie’ Lightning Plate (1000m)
A small field will also step out for the Lightning Plate and there is winning potential across the board. Moot (barrier 6) is seeking a third-consecutive win in the race and should prove extremely difficult to beat amongst this small field, even with a race-high 60kgs in tow. Short Shift (barrier 2) failed to fire last time out, but won each of her six starts prior and is not without a chance once more in this race. Pyxis (barrier 3) has been strong and consistent this time and is drawn ideally with a only 54kgs, while Boogie Woogie Man (barrier 4) is sure to have taken plenty of benefit from his first-up run for sixth in a 1000m Darwin sprint a fortnight ago.
Tip: No. 1 Moot
Race 3 (1:40pm) Schweppes 0-70 Handicap (1200m)
Jackanory (barrier 2) has returned to racing in excellent form this time and should prove extremely tough to beat in Race 3 on Darwin Cup Day. The Equiano gelding won the AFA Insurance Handicap (1100m) by four lengths on July 29th, before opening a two-length gap on his rivals in the Darwin Classic (1200m) last week. Niccoco (barrier 7) also carries winning form into the race and is in the right condition to repeat the dose in this race, while Arrow Lane (barrier 6) faces something of a step up in class given the company, but has the notable advantage of William Pike in the saddle from a good alley. Sky Muster (barrier 5) has been reasonably consistent and is a live each-way chance.
Tip: No. 2 Jackanory
Race 4 (2:15pm) Mantra Trobis 0-58 Handicap (1100m)
There is several live chances in the field for Race 4 on Darwin Cup Day, including Multizone (barrier 5). The Northern Meteor gelding returned from a freshen-up to finish second in the Signcity Handicap (1100m) at Fannie Bay on July 22nd and will only improve second-up. Going Gaga (barrier 2) has only made two career starts, but is yet to finish outside the first three and is drawn ideally on the inside of this field. Duke Of York (barrier 7) has quickly found form through two starts and should be rock-hard fit leading into this race, while Choice Approach (barrier 6) and Melanion (barrier 10) are both also ready for big runs and are weighted ideally.
Tip: No. 1 Multizone
Race 5 (2:50pm) Magic Millions Average Benchmark Handicap (1300m)
A capacity field of twelve will step out in Race 5, including the consistent Nordic Eclipse (barrier 2). Nordic Eclipse returned to the races for a credible fifth in a 1000m sprint at Fannie Bay on July 1st, but responded with a dominant win in the Merit Partners Handicap (1200m) last time out. Delta D’or (barrier 3) improved for second at his last start in Darwin and the form out of that race appears as though it will be strong. Woogie (barrier 14) was outstanding last time in and will improve tenfold second-up on Monday, while Eva’s Day (barrier 1) is also approaching peak fitness and will be right in the finish of this race.
Tip: No. 6 Delta D’or
Race 6 (3:25pm) Ladbrokes 0-62 Handicap (1300m)
A capacity field has also been taken for the Ladbrokes 0-60 Handicap and there is a case to be made for several horses in the group. Marbel Duke (barrier 8) is seeking a third-consecutive win following classy performances in the Signcity Handicap (1100m) and the HK Holistic Health Klub Handicap (1000m) this time and he is undoubtedly the horse to beat once more on Monday. Heart Of Red (barrier 11) is a last start winner, but has copped a 2kg penalty and has been charged with overcoming a wide draw. Mavericks (barrier 14) has been strong and consistent this time, but will need to improve if he is to break into the first three amongst this company.
Tip: No. 7 Marbel Duke
Race 7 (4:05pm) Designer Kitchens Average Benchmark Handicap (1600m)
It is a classy field confirmed for Race 7 and local trainer Neil Dyer will potentially saddle three horses should first Emergency So Poysed (barrier 3) join Bel Sir (barrier 6) and Pot Black (barrier 7) as a confirmed starter. Aussie Jack (barrier 11) has been strong and consistent this time and is primed for another big performances, while One Faster’s (barrier 10) form appears to have tailed off through recent starts, but he is a contender if he can re-find something. Quantum Dot (barrier 14) has drawn the outside barrier and is topweight, but is also seeking a third-consecutive win and should prove tough to beat.
Tip: No. 11 Bel Sir
Race 8 (4:45pm) Arafura Line Markers 0-66 Handicap (1900m)
There is plenty of quality horses confirmed in the field for Race 8 on Darwin Cup Day, however Wicked Promise (barrier 3) is looming as the horse to beat. The Star Witness mare ran a close second in the NT News Handicap 91600m) on July 22nd before storming home to win the Spa Lotus Handicap (1600m) earlier this week. Former Victorian galloper Lotion (barrier 10) is yet to find his best this time, but is arguably faced with his best conditions to date in this race. Rye (barrier 14) will have to overcome a tough draw, but is weighted ideally and up to the grade of the race.
Tip: No. 5 Wicked Promise
Race 9 (5:25pm) Darwin Cup (2000m)
The feature race has drawn a capacity field and there is winning potential across the board. Former Godolphin horses Unbreakable (barrier 9) and Lieder (barrier 6) are primed for big runs and are well positioned with leading hoops Blake Shinn and William Pike in the saddles respectively. Royal Request (barrier 8), Whistle Stop (barrier 10) and Saturday Sorcerer (barrier 15) are all proven performers in the Darwin Cup, while NT Derby winner Billet Doux (barrier 4) has conditions to suit and is primed for another big performance. First emergency Folk Rales (barrier 2) is perfectly suited to this race and will be tough to beat, should he gain a start.
Tip: No. 11 Lieder