Local three year old Finke is in line to win the Ladbrokes Triple Crown Bonus of $100,000 after taking out the second leg of the three race series with his victory in the $135,000 Ladbrokes NT Derby (2000m) at Darwin’s Fannie Bay race course last Saturday.
Finke scored an easy win in the first leg of the Triple Crown series with a four and a quarter lengths trouncing of his rivals in the $70,000 Hot 100 Darwin Guineas (1600m) at Fannie Bay on July 2 and can collect the $100,000 bonus if he can win the $200,000 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (2000m) at Fannie Bay on August 1.
The Turffontein gelding was sent out as the raging hot $1.60 favourite for the Ladbrokes NT Derby and didn’t let his followers down when he beat runner up Abu Dhabi ($7) by a length and a quarter and if he starts in the Darwin Cup no doubt will start a short priced favourite again.
Leading Darwin trainer Gary Clarke was very impressed with Finke’s NT Derby win, but is yet to confirm if the three year old will take on the older horses in the Darwin Cup next Monday.
“That was a really good win,” trainer Gary Clarke told the NT News.
“There was a bit of cat and mouse going on there in the early stages, and he had to do some extra work but he toughed it out real well.
“He’s not a stunning horse to look at but he keeps getting it done — I haven’t found the bottom of him yet.
“I will wait to see how he pulls up and make a decision on whether we press on to the Cup come Wednesday.”
Darwin’s top jockey Brendon Davis has been aboard Finke for six of his eight wins, including the first two legs of the Ladbrokes Triple Crown.
Finke made it eight straight wins from his last eight starts and prior to winning the Darwin Guineas scored a four and three quarter lengths win in the $50,000 Imparja Television NT Guineas (1600m) at Alice Springs on April 9 with Davis in the saddle.
If successful in winning the Darwin Cup, Finke will only be the third horse to collect the Triple Crown Trophy and join 1989 winner Brinney and 1996 winner Ventilago on the winner’s board.
As well as Finke, Clarke has nominated Big Man, Celebrakti and Lightinthenite for the Darwin Cup that has attracted nineteen entries.