Lightinthenite justified his clear favouritism to record a dominant win in the 2015 Darwin Cup at Fannie Bay yesterday afternoon.
Lightinthenite stamped himself as a clear favourite for the Darwin Cup when he recorded an impressive victory in the Asian United Minister’s Cup (1600m) at Fannie Bay on July 11 and he never looked like losing when he was settled in the perfect position by jockey Hugh Bowman in the early stages of the race.
Storm Approach and Kayno set the tempo in the early stages of the race, but Lightinthenite cruised past them effortlessly when he was asked for an extra effort and he raced away from his rivals to record a dominant nine lengths from Royal Request and Pretty Blonde in a track record time.
Bowman had made the trip to the Northern Territory specifically to ride Lightinthenite in the Darwin Cup and he gave the eight-year-old a perfect ride, but he was quick to pay credit to the training performance of Gary Clarke.
“I was on the superior horse, all credit to Gary Clarke for turning him out in such magnificent fashion,” Bowman told the media after the race.
“He was a class horse in Sydney, I rode him a little bit as a young horse for the John O’Shea stable.
“He’s always had a high cruising speed and it actually brought him undone a little bit on the grass but he’s a lovely dirt horse.
“I’m a country boy at heart and to come up here really does top off a wonderful season for me.”
Lightinthenite joined the Clarke stable after he finished at the tail of the field in the Dunkeld Cup in November last year and he was set for a second-up tilt at the Darwin Cup.
Clarke admitted that he was slightly concerned when Lightinthenite hit the front so far from home, but he believes that there is only one way to successfully ride the evergreen stayer.
“It’s pretty tricky to get a horse ready first-up for a mile and then second-up to 2000,” Clarke said.
“You’re always nervous when you see them hit the front like that so far out but when you looked behind them and nothing else is chasing, he’s just got to maintain to win but he didn’t just maintain he hit the line full of running.”
Lightinthenite has now recorded eight wins from his 33 race starts and accumulated over $600,000 in prizemoney for connections.