Local jockey Stephen Ridler has secured the ride on pre-race favourite Billet Doux in the 2017 $200,000 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (2000m) at Fannie Bay in Darwin today.
Leading Darwin jockey Brendon Davis was in line to ride Billet Doux, the only four year in the twelve horse Darwin Cup field, but was ruled out of contention when he failed in his appeal against a careless riding charge on Friday.
David was suspended for careless riding and will miss one Northern Territory meeting, Darwin Cup Day, and was fined $500 for causing interference on eventual winner Marbel Duke at Fannie Bay last Wednesday.
The Sheila Arnold trained Billet Doux is the $4 race morning favourite for the Darwin Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au and heads into today’s feature race on the back of a dominant four lengths win against his own age group in the $135,000 Ladbrokes NT Derby (2000m) at Fanie Bay on July 22.
Billet Doux finished an unlucky fourth two starts back in the $70,000 Darwin Guineas (1600m) at Fannie Bay in Darwin on July 8 but then put himself into Darwin Cup calculations with his win in the Ladbrokes NT Derby.
Arnold was happy that Billet Doux could show everybody his true ability after being boxed in on the fence before finishing fourth to Krusty in the NT Guineas.
“Unlucky in the Guineas when caught on the fence, but that’s racing,” Arnold said.
“A long striding, horse he needed more room, but full credit to Krusty.”
Murray Bridge trainer Michael Hichmott will saddle up three runners in the Darwin Cup with Lieder at $4.20 with Perth sensation William Pike in the saddle, challenging Billet Doux for favouritism.
Hickmott also prepares Unbreakable with Melbourne Cup winning jockey Blake Shinn travelling to the Top End to ride and the five year old is also well in the market at $6 while his third runner Wexford Town with Jarrad Noske holding the reins is one of the outsiders of the field at $26.
Top weight Royal Request is also one of the top fancies in the Darwin Cup at $4.50 and will have to lump 60.5kg after earning a 1.5kg penalty for his win in the $50,000 Sky Racing Metric Mile (1600m) at Fannie Bay on July 29.
The Kym Healy trained Pretty Blonde is the only other runner under $10 at $8.50 and is coming off a last start fourth to Roya Request in the Metric Mile.