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R9 Darwin Cup 2000m
Looks like good speed here with Big Man to lead from Moon Devil and Our Valdivia. Think they will set up for the closers with the most suited run on horses being Saturday Sorcerer, Royal Request and Lightinthenite. The latter is the class runner and think he will fill the placings but it will be a huge effort with 63kg on its back.
- 3 of past 4 winners have used Metric Mile as their lead up
- 4 of past 4 winners have drawn barrier 7 or closer
- 3 of past 4 winners have been 3rd up or deeper in their preparation
- 3 of past 4 winners have carried 60kg or more to win
Previous Winners & Lead Up Result
Lightinthenite – BR 7 60kg SP $3.30 – 2nd up, 3 weeks 1st Chief Ministers Cup 1600m Darwin
Pretty Blonde – BR 1 56kg SP $21 – 3rd up, 9 days 4th Metric Mile 1600m Darwin
* Abandoned *
Hawks Bay – BR 1 64.5kg SP $10 – 4th up, 9 days 6th Metric Mile 1600m Darwin
Hawks Bay – BR 3 62 kg SP $5.5 – 5th up, 9 days 1st Metric Mile 1600m Darwin
1. Lightinthenite: Clearly the best horse in the race and is looking to make it back to back wins after winning by nine lengths last year. The big query this year is obviously the weight as he has to lump 63kg which is 3kg more than last year. Last year he was coming into this after breaking the track record in his lead up run, whilst this year he seemed to labour under the big weight in the Chief Ministers only managing fourth where he had enough on the line. I still feel that he is right in this and think he will run into the placings, he’s well found in early markets and I will be betting around him looking for value.
4. Our Valdivia: Has strung three wins on end putting itself into serious calculations here. The key to his wins have been staying clear of the kick back which he clearly resented in Alice Springs. He has the natural early speed to make use of the alley but Denton has to decide whether to kick up and hold the lead or take the sit trailing likely leader Big Man. I suspect he will take the trail but it is just hard to say if he can finish at the end of a strongly run 2000m race. If the race was 200m shorter he would be right in it but just think the trip might see him out.
5. Finke: Has been a revelation since heading to the Clarke stable this season being unbeaten in eight runs on the dirt winning the Alice Springs and Darwin Guineas as well as the Derby (making eligible for the $100k Triple Crown Bonus). His win the Derby was full of merit as he was forced to make all the running there. The worry is the time was comparatively slow to the Buntine (1900m) on the same day, including a much slower last 200m. Couple that with the fact that it is quite short in the early markets, making Finke a good risk here against seasoned Cup runners.
6. Royal Request: Last year’s runner up (albeit 9L back) found form last start by taking out the Buntine Hcp over the 1900m. Was ‘flushed out’ early and made a long run but was very strong to the line on that occasion. Drops to 54.5kg, is drawn to get a soft run in transit and gets the services of Group One winning jockey Tommy Berry. The inside draw won’t be an issue as he loves the dirt and runs through it well, it all depends if Tommy can get some luck in running and get this big horse into the clear early enough. He looks value here and is a good each way hope.
7. Saturday Sorcerer: Has had two runs from a spell for new trainer Jason Manning and has run extremely well on both occasions with the big weight. The horse loves this track (won this race in 2014 but was disqualified) and maps very well just behind the speed. Dean Yendall goes on, is bound to take fitness improvement from last run and is a knockout runner at double figure odds.
8. Big Man: Is the likely leader and finally found its form after an indifferent campaign thus far. The worry is that it has drawn outside two quick runners and whilst it will cross them, it may have to work harder than it would like leaving it very vulnerable in the run home. Don’t think it will run this trip with the likely race set up.
Unfortunately, the winning streak of Finke will come to an end here. He won the Derby but I’m not convinced he runs a strong 2000m and could only entertain him at double figure odds.
** Speed Maps courtesy of www.racingandsports.com.au
Good Luck Backing & Laying.
The Betfair Insider