Royal Request finished over the top of his rivals to win the 2017 Darwin Cup at Fannie Bay this afternoon.
Royal Request was having his fourth crack at the Darwin Cup after he won the Northern Territory Derby back in 2014 and it was a case of fourth time lucky for the veteran stayer.
Jarrod Todd has formed an excellent connection with Royal Request throughout his racing career and he timed his run to perfection on the seven-year-old, but he was quick to pay credit to the stellar performance of the horse.
“You could not fault this horse going into the race,” Todd said.
“I was tracking into it nicely, but at the 700 they bunched and the horses kept popping up on the inside, so I was three deep at the time.
“With the weight I just had to try and take shortcuts and he was the best horse in the field.
“All the credit goes to the horse – he is a champion this bloke.”
Nobody has a better record in the modern era of the Darwin Cup than Neil Dyer and he was clearly overwhelmed to have won the race for the third time following the two previous wins of Hawks Bay.
It had been a tough Darwin Cup Carnival for Dyer following the tragic passing of jockey Roger Booth following his ride on Dyer-trained Senor Juez and Dyer dedicated the Darwin Cup win of Royal Request to the memory of his great mate.
“I thought that he was the best horse in the race,” Dyer said.
“I was a bit worried when he got that penalty (for winning the Metric Mile), but he is big and strong and it didn’t worry him that much.
“The unknowns of the Michael Hickmott team worried me a little bit, but the horse lived up to what we thought that he could do and he has been doing that here for a long time.
“Jarrod deserves a Darwin Cup.
“We have had a rough old-time this year with Roger and Jarrod and I were both thinking of him here today.”
Saturday Sorcerer was as gallant as ever in second and Lieder ran on well for third, while the well-backed favourite Billet Doux got too far back and was never able to get into the race.