Three times Darwin Cup winning trainer Michael Hickmott has three live chances in this year’s $200,000 2000m feature race of the Darwin Turf Club’s Carnival but has selected Royal Request from a rival stable as the horse to beat.
Hickmott saddled up last year’s Darwin Cup winner Canny Ballad as well as General Market in 2007 and Activation in 2009 and thinks that the Neil Dyer trained Royal Request has the right credentials to take the major prize at Fannie Bay on Monday.
“Whoever beats him (Royal Request) will win the Cup,” Hickmott told the NT News.
“That horse seems bulletproof – everything about him impresses me. He’s handling the track up here well.”
In this year’s Darwin Cup Hickmott will saddle up the highly fancied Lieder with Perth whiz William Pike to ride, Unbreakable with Melbourne Cup winning jockey Blake Shinn booked and Jarrad Noske, also a top rated Perth jockey, on Irish import Wexford Town.
Royal Request is an eight times winner on the Fannie Bay track with his 2014 NT Derby victory being over the same course and distance as the Darwin Cup.
Royal Request is racing in top form and will be chasing a hat trick at Fannie Bay when he lines up in the Darwin Cup after wins in the $55,000 Chief Minister’s Cup (1600m) 0n July 15 and in the $50,000 Sky Racing Metric Mile (1600m) last Saturday.
The Bel Espirt seven year old earned himself a 1.5kg penalty for his three quarters of a length win over Spartan Eagle in the Metric Mile and will now carry 60.5kg top weight in the Darwin Cup.
Hickmott has been steadily building Lieder up in distance and the five year old will go into the Darwin Cup on the back of a last start third to Moon Devil in the $45,000 Buntine Handicap (1900m) at Fannie Bay on July 22.
Unbreakable was a winner at Fannie Bay two starts back in the $25,000 ROANT Gold Cup (1300m) before running third to Royal Request in the Chief Minister’s Cup while Wexford Town is going into the Darwin Cup first up after not having raced since finishing last of eleven in a 1950m BenchMark 90 Handicap at Morphettville Parks in Adelaide on April 1.
Early market order for the 2017 Darwin Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4 Lieder, $5 Billet Doux, $5.50 Royal Request, $7 Unbreakable, $7.50 Folk Tales, $11 Pretty Blonde, Saturday Sorcerer, $13 Whistle Stop, $15 Harrebs Time, $17 Abu Dhabi, Moon Devil, $21 Wexford Town, Spartan Eagle, $26 Electric Crimson, $51 Flying Tormenta, $67 New Empire, $101 Arctic Song, Best Case, Hammered Art, Overdane, Supercoach, War Story.
Weights for the 2017 Darwin Cup (2000m)
|#||Last 10||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Ballot||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||51413×6311||ROYAL REQUEST||G||7||Neil Dyer||1||60.5kg||89|
|2||0031661831||MOON DEVIL||G||9||Kerry Petrick||2||56.5kg||81|
|3||x687732141||BILLET DOUX||G||4||Sheila Arnold||3||54kg||73|
|4||2x4521x834||PRETTY BLONDE||M||9||Kym Healy||4||57kg||86|
|5||x33469x726||WHISTLE STOP||G||7||Dick Leech||5||57.5kg||83|
|6||878x20x00x||WEXFORD TOWN (IRE)||G||7||Michael Hickmott||6||57.5kg||83|
|7||0x56149208||WAR STORY (IRE)||G||8||Carly Cook||7||56.5kg||81|
|9||42111×1953||HARREBS TIME||G||6||Tayarn Halter||9||56kg||80|
|10||1x82553x62||SATURDAY SORCERER||G||8||Jason Manning||10||55.5kg||79|
|11||6×53583249||ABU DHABI||G||5||Gary Kennewell||11||54kg||76|
|13||5×53638080||BEST CASE (NZ)||G||7||Carl Spry||13||54kg||75|
|14||3119×30215||FOLK TALES (NZ)||G||5||Richard Laming||14||54kg||74|
|15||6257×76174||FLYING TORMENTA||M||6||John Peacock||15||54kg||74|
|16||2213043×46||ELECTRIC CRIMSON (NZ)||G||8||Richard Laming||16||54kg||74|
|17||32675×4167||ARCTIC SONG||G||7||Neil Dyer||17||54kg||73|
|18||87289×8705||OVERDANE (GB)||G||8||Barbara Joseph & Paul Jones||18||54kg||72|
|19||12238Px233||HAMMERED ART||G||6||Carl Spry||19||54kg||70|
|21||6784×35242||SPARTAN EAGLE||G||10||Bob Richard||21||54kg||69|
|22||1x0780x772||NEW EMPIRE||G||8||Garry Lefoe||22||54kg||61|