They may not have the ideal weight but two-time defending Darwin Cup winner Hawks Bay has come up trumps with barrier three for their attempt at a hat-trick in the Northern Territory’s showcase race running on Monday.
The Neil Dyer-trained Black Hawk eight-year-old has contested the last four and won the past two editions of the now $200,000 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (2000m) and will jump from barrier three of 12 when they shoot for a third straight next week.
Due to be ridden by Steven Arnold on the 65kg top-weight the veteran is looking to improve on their disappointing seventh last Saturday when 66kg got the better of them in the Metric Mile over the 1600m at Fannie Bay.
They were able to do that 12 months ago when backing up from a Metric Mile sixth to carry 64.5kg to victory for their second Darwin Cup trophy, with Arnold in the saddle from the inside alley, so it is achievable.
Early Darwin Cup betting favourite, six length Metric Mile winner Spartan Eagle meanwhile has suffered an early blow drawing the extreme outside gate.
The local Bob Richard-trained Niello six-year-old is shooting for their fifth consecutive Fannie Bay win on Monday but will have to overcome the ‘visitor’s draw’ coming up with 15 – into 12 with the three emergencies out.
It’s certainly much wider than their barrier three of nine draw for the Metric Mile and it will be a big test for the in-form galloper who sees further than the 1600m for the first time in the Cup.
Other horses with double digit gates to overcome include Stephen Brown’s local grey The Big Steel vying for their third on the trot and Warrnambool visitor Constant Force in gates 12 and 11.
Big winners in the Darwin Cup barrier draw along with Hawks Bay then include Brown’s other runner Host Of The Party (barrier two) who comes off the Darwin Guineas – NT Derby double and Generous Boy in last year’s winning agate (one).
See below for the complete 2013 Darwin Cup field and barrier draw with betting to open at bookmaker.com.au shortly.
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2013 Darwin Cup Field & Barriers
Darwin Race 9 – 5:35pm (local) 05/08/2013
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||161×439697||HAWKS BAY||Neil Dyer||Steven Arnold||3||65kg||110|
|2||910×503154||RED COLOSSUS||John Stanton||Dale Smith||7||61kg||96|
|3||0315×70844||THUMBTACKS (NZ)||Mark Nyhan||Craig Moon||10||60.5kg||95|
|4||53707×4508||EXTRA ZERO||David Hayes||Nash Rawiller||8||60kg||94|
|5||23x42311x5||THE RUFFIAN||Sheila Arnold||Paul Shiers||4||57.5kg||89|
|6||134×805274||CONSTANT FORCE||Bill & Symon Wilde||Jason Maskiell||11||57kg||88|
|7||09×0044411||THE BIG STEEL||Stephen Brown||Andrew Mallyon||12||57kg||88|
|8||x360x06834||AGRIPPA||Michael Hickmott||Reece Wheeler||6||56kg||86|
|9||9202251111||SPARTAN EAGLE||Bob Richard||Scott Hillebrand||15||56kg (inc. 2.0kg penalty)||86|
|10||7700×60545||BOLTON (NZ)||Stephen Brown||Stephen Baster||9||55kg||84|
|11||4223×35523||GENEROUS BEAU||Todd Balfour||John Powell||1||55kg||84|
|12||40×5904111||HOST OF THE PARTY||Stephen Brown||Dwayne Dunn||2||54.5kg||83|
|13e||225157×214||IGLES STAR||Chris Pollard||Ms Felicia Bergstrand (a)||13||54kg||82|
|14e||2846x263x4||PORT VELL (NZ)||Greg Connor||Ms Kacie Connor (a)||5||54kg||82|
|15e||x60745x962||PALMYRA BOY||Neil Dyer||–||14||54kg||79|