Northern Territory’s glamour three year old Finke is no certainty to chase the $100,000 Ladbrokes Triple Crown Bonus he is eligible to collect if he wins the $200,000 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (2000m) at Fannie Bay on August 1.
Finke put himself in line for the bonus by winning the first two legs of the three race series at Darwin’s Fannie Bay racecourse, the $70,000 Hot 100 Darwin Guineas (1600m) on July 2 and the $135,000 Ladbrokes NT Derby (2000m) last Saturday.
Leading Darwin trainer Gary Clarke said that Finke had a tough run when he won his eighth win on the trot with his NT Derby victory and he won’t saddle the rising four year old up against the older horses in the Darwin Cup if he hasn’t fully recovered.
“Finke had a tough run in the Derby, and although he seems to be picking up since Saturday I’d like to wait until the weekend before deciding if the will start in the Cup,” Clarke told the NT News.
“I’ve never been in this position before as far as winning the Triple Crown is concerned, but the horse’s welfare comes first.
“I’ve been training in Darwin for the past 12 years or so and I may never have another horse like Finke again, but I won’t be pushing him.”
“If he gives every indication that he is back to his best by the weekend and he is feeling well within himself, then we’ll keep going to the Cup.”
“We’ve got to get it right because you can only go to the well so often.”
Finke kicked off his amazing run of eight wins back in January with the first three wins at Darwin before stringing together three wins in Alice Spring, including a win in the $50,000 Imparja Television NT Guineas (1600m) at Alice Springs on April 9.
Clarke then brought Finke back to Darwin where he has been the star of the 2016 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup Carnival with wins in the Darwin Guineas and the Ladbrokes NT Derby.
If Clarke decides not to run Finke in the Darwin Cup, he will still have a strong representation with last year’s winner Lightinthenite, Big Man and Celebrakti among the nineteen nominations.
Early Darwin Cup market order at Ladbrokes.com.au have Lightinthenite as the $3.80 favourite just ahead of Finke at $4.20 and Angela Forster trained Montalto at $4.60.
Darwin Cup market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.80 Lightinthenite, $4.20 Finke, $4.60 Montalto, $8 Our Valdivia, $9 Saturday Sorcerer, Whistle Stop, $11 Abu Dhabi, $13 Big Man, Royal Request, $17 Orion, Flying Tormenta, Moon Devil, $21 Canny Ballad, $34 Pretty Blonde, Spartan Eagle, $41 Kayno, $51 Celebrakti, $67 Adjuster, $101 Moonlight Hussler.