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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.

Royal Request, above, is one of the top fancies in the Darwin Cup at Fannie Bay. Photo by Jenny Barnes.

Royal Request, above, is one of the top fancies in the Darwin Cup at Fannie Bay. Photo by Jenny Barnes.

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
8 696x172x17 UNBREAKABLE G 5 Michael Hickmott 8 56kg 80
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
12 1321616953 LIEDER G 5 Michael Hickmott 12 54kg 75
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
20 x8737x7698 SUPERCOACH G 8 Danny Penna 20 54kg 69
21 6784×35242 SPARTAN EAGLE G 10 Bob Richard 21 54kg 69
22 1x0780x772 NEW EMPIRE G 8 Garry Lefoe 22 54kg 61

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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