Top Darwin jockey Paul Shiers will get the chance to win his first Darwin Cup at Fannie Bay today after retaining the ride on the in-form Poet’s Landing.

Zahspeed, above, was the winner of the 2018 Darwin Cup at Fannir Bay. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Zahspeed, above, was the winner of the 2018 Darwin Cup at Fannir Bay. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Shiers had been aboard Poet’s Landing for his last three starts for three wins on Darwin’s Fannie Bay sand circuit but Joe Bowditch was set to take over the reins on the Lloyd Kennewell trained four year old in the $200,000 Great Northern Darwin Cup (2000m).

Unfortunately Bowditch has sustained a fractured collarbone as well as a neck fracture as a result of being involved in a four horse fall at Sale last Wednesday and will be out of action for up to three months.

Shiers in confident that he will be able to get down to Poet’s Landing’s weight of 55.5kg and give the Poet’s Voice gelding every chance of picking up the Ladbrokes Triple Crown $100,000 bonus after the pair combined to win the first two legs at Fannie Bay, the $75,000 Hot100 Darwin Guineas (1600m) and the $135,000 Ladbrokes NT Derby (2000m).

“It’s terrible for Joe what happened on Wednesday,” Shiers told the NT News.

“I was always aiming at riding 56kg Cup weekend.

“I’ve just had to try that little bit harder to drop that extra half kilo.”

Poet’s Landing is chasing his fifth win on the trot after Bowditch won on the gelding at Ipswich before scoring a hat trick of wins at Fannie Bay.

Poet’s Landing has drawn barrier eight in the twelve horse Darwin Cup field and stable representative Gary Kennewell, Lloyd’s father, can see Shiers finding a nice trail mid-field on the $3.40 second favourite.

“I’m sure there will be speed on in the race, hopefully we can slot in somewhere midfield,” Gary Kennewell said.

“Get a nice run and leave the rest up to Paul Shiers.”

“He’s had three starts on the track for three wins so hopefully he can keep the picket fence going,”

“Obviously Lieder and Ihtsahymn are the ones to beat; they both won very well the other day,” he said.

“Our bloke’s (Poet’s Landing) been really well, he’s sound and going into the race in good condition”.

The Michael Hickmott trained Leider is the ruling $2.50 favourite at and will jump from gate five with Shayne Cahill in the saddle while the top weight Ihtsahymn has drawn barrier four with Peter Hall to ride and is also well in contention in the betting at $3.90.

Leider has been placed in the last two runnings of the Darwin Cup with a third in 2017 and a second last year and showed that he was back in form with a win in the $50,000 Buntine Handicap (1900m) at Fannie Bay a fortnight ago.

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.