Next Monday, August 4, sees the Northern Territory host their premier race of the year with nominations for Fannie Bay’s Darwin Cup 2014 now out.
There are 22 stayers making up the early entries for this year’s $200,000 Group 1 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (2000m), the race abandoned in 2012 after a devastating jockey fall in race six on Darwin Cup Day.
This year the locals, along with some talented interstate visitors, are lining up for a shot at the lucrative showdown that boasts a field limit of 12 starters plus three emergencies and that the best odds for which will be available online at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Heading the current Darwin Cup nominations and weights with 60kg is the Gary Clarke-trained Lightinthenite.
The Galileo six-year-old is Group 3 performed in Sydney from this autumn gone and returned home on July 12 for a first-up fourth to Smarty Mac in the Chief Minister’s Cup (1600m).
There they carried 62kg and so are set to relish a step up in distance on Monday as well as a drop back two kilos in the weights.
Chief Minister’s Cup winner Smarty Mac is also nominated for the Darwin Cup next week.
The Dick Leech-trained Akhadan gelding is allocated 54.5kg which is a notable relief from the 59kg they carried last start when runner-up behind the Sheila Arnold-trained The Ruffian in the Buntine Handicap (2000m) here on July 19.
Buntine Handicap winner The Ruffian meanwhile also had 59kg that day and is another Darwin Cup nominee who, if they make the final field, will enjoy a drop back in weight to 56kg.
The Lonhro gelding, turning seven on Friday, appreciated a step up from a mile to 1900m for their lead-up run and is also likely to enjoy the extra 1000m in the Cup.
Following Lightinthenite in the Darwin Cup weights meanwhile are the likes of David Bates’ Elvstorem gelding Pull No Punches (58kg) out to break a winning drought that spans back to an Adelaide win in early February and Constant Force (57.5kg) from the Warrnambool stables of Bill & Symon Wilde out to improve on some dismal recent form.
Their latest effort was a dead last when beaten nearly 15 lengths by Saturday Sorcerer last Saturday at Darwin in the Sky Racing Metric Mile (1600m).
Stuart Gower’s Metric Mile winner Saturday Sorcerer, visiting from Adelaide, meanwhile has copped a 1kg Darwin Cup weight penalty for their success that day and so will carry 55kg on Monday, a kilo more than their winning weight from the weekend.
The premier Darwin Cup lead-up run, the Metric Mile has produces a number of other genuine contenders for the big one including runner-up Spartan Eagle and third placed Cantonese.
Bob Richard’s Morphettville-trained Niello gelding Spartan Eagle has had four lead-up runs in Darwin this winter for two thirds and a second.
Two back was their third behind The Ruffian over 1900m before they dropped back to 1600m for the Metric Mile where they carried 54kg.
Beaten a length and a quarter that day, Spartan Eagle again gets in on the minimum weight for the Cup but must handle the rise in distance.
As for the Metric Mile third placegetter, Cantonese is shaping up as one of the genuine contenders for next week’s clash.
Prepared in Victoria by Neil Dyer the rising seven-year-old Redoute’s Choice gelding was runner-up to Smarty Mac two back before their third last weekend, efforts they are tipped to improve on as they get out over further.
They have winning form up to the mile and a half and will be ridden in the Darwin Cup by Sydney-based hoop Blake Shinn who has also secured the ride on Scream Machine in the $100,000 Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) at Rosehill this Saturday.
See below for the full Darwin Cup 2014 nominations and weights with the final field due out on Thursday.
When it comes to placing a bet on the races make sure you get the guaranteed best price online every time by betting online at Ladbrokes.com.au, home of the Ladbrokes Card giving you access to your winnings sooner!
2014 Darwin Cup Nominations
Darwin Racecourse – 04/08/2014
|1||THE RUFFIAN||Sheila Arnold||1||56kg||87|
|2||SATURDAY SORCERER||Stuart Gower||2||55kg (inc. 1.0kg penalty)||85|
|3||ROYAL REQUEST||Neil Dyer||3||54.5kg||84|
|5||PRETTY BLONDE||Kym Healy||5||56kg||91|
|6||PULL NO PUNCHES||David Bates||6||58kg||91|
|7||CONSTANT FORCE||Bill & Symon Wilde||7||57.5kg||90|
|9||DIFFERING FORTUNES||Greg Connor||9||55.5kg||86|
|10||SMARTY MAC||Dick Leech||10||54.5kg||84|
|11||WARREGO MELODY||Gary Clarke||11||54kg||83|
|12||SPARTAN EAGLE||Bob Richard||12||54kg||78|
|14||THE BIG STEEL||Stephen Brown||14||54kg||77|
|15||LETHAL ARROW||Dick Leech||15||54kg||77|
|16||BOMBALATOMBA (NZ)||Peter Stennett||16||54kg||70|
|17||STORM APPROACH||Gary Clarke||17||54kg||69|
|18||DESIGN FOR LIFE||Chris Nash||18||54kg||69|
|19||DEFLECTION T||Alwyn Trengrove||19||54kg||65|
|21||WHISTLE STOP||Dick Leech||21||54kg||59|
|22||SLEW LEFT||Michael Templeton||22||54kg||54|