A capacity final field of stayers has been announced for Monday’s Darwin Cup 2014 field including three last start winners looking to secure back-to-back wins.
Running as Darwin Race 9 at 5:40pm (local) time next week, this year’s $200,000 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (2000m) drew a full 12 starters plus three emergencies.
With barriers to come out shortly, followed by the Darwin Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, punters are starting to do the form on the hopefuls out to win the Top End’s top race.
As mentioned there’s a trio of last start winners in the mix this y ear including the Sheila Arnold-trained The Ruffian.
They are third-up for the season after the Lonhro gelding won the Buntine Handicap (1900m) by an impressive two and a half lengths at the track two runs in on July 19.
Other Darwin Cup acceptors who ran behind The Ruffian in the Buntine include runner-up Smarty Mac who came off a win in the Chief Minister’s Cup (1600m) seven days earlier and the Bob Richard-trained Spartan Eagle.
Niello six-year-old Spartan Eagle backed up from their run there last weekend when one and a quarter lengths away second to Saturday Sorcerer in the Sky Racing Metric Mile (1600m).
Over the years the Metric Mile has proven a nice form line for the Darwin Cup and this year’s winner will be looking to continue that with Saturday Sorcerer backing up on Monday.
The Stuart Gower-trained Adelaide raider carried 54kg to win at Darwin that day and earned a one kilo penalty, still getting into the Darwin Cup well in the weights then with 55kg.
The third and final last start winner is then the Neil Dyer-trained Royal Request who has won two of their three most recent runs.
Hailing from Kyneton in Victoria, the Bel Esprit gelding turns four on Friday and was last see winning the Northern Territory Derby (2000m) by two lengths.
That was their third Darwin run this prep, the Victorian visitor showing an affinity for the track having won their Fannie Bay debut over 1300m on June 21 before a second over the mile on July 5 and then their NT Derby success.
Royal Request carried 58kg in the Derby and so will appreciate the drop back to 54.5kg here when they take on the older horses over the same track and distance.
Derby runner-up Gravitational is another rising four-year-old who will be tested in the Cup on Monday.
Gary Clarke’s local Astronomer Royal gelding beat Royal Request two back before finding it harder when up in distance for the Derby on July 19.
Dyer meanwhile has also accepted for Cantonese (56kg) who is sure to be one of the top Ladbrokes.com.au’s picks to win.
Runner-up in the Chief Minister’s Cup two back the Redoute’s Choice six-year-old ran again in the Metric Mile crossing third just a nose further back than Spartan Eagle in an effort they’re sure to improve on when getting back up over more ground.
Heading the Darwin Cup weights this year with 60kg is then the Gary Clarke-trained Lightinthenite, Paul Sheirs’ mount second-up after running fourth to Smarty Mac in the Chief Minister’s Cup on July 12.
That was their first run in Darwin following a stable and trainer transfer, the Galileo six-year-old previously prepared in Sydney by John O’Shea.
See below for the full Darwin Cup 2014 field, barriers to follow.
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2014 Darwin Cup Final Field
Darwin Race 9 (5:40pm, local) – 04/08/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||4x38x469x4||LIGHTINTHENITE||Gary Clarke||Paul Shiers||0||60kg||97|
|2||x88100x000||CONSTANT FORCE||Bill & Symon Wilde||Dean Yendall||0||57.5kg||90|
|3||57688×6923||CANTONESE||Neil Dyer||Blake Shinn||0||56kg||87|
|4||4751111×05||PRETTY BLONDE||Kym Healy||Justin Potter||0||56kg||91|
|5||0931746×61||THE RUFFIAN||Sheila Arnold||Kim Gladwin||0||56kg||87|
|6||211195×637||DIFFERING FORTUNES||Greg Connor||Ms Kacie Connor (a)||0||55.5kg||86|
|7||25×2292531||SATURDAY SORCERER||Stuart Gower||Paul Denton||0||55kg (inc. 1.0kg penalty)||85|
|8||987386×121||ROYAL REQUEST TROBIS Bonus Scheme||Neil Dyer||Jarrod Todd||0||54.5kg||84|
|9||5289×35512||SMARTY MAC||Dick Leech||Andrew Mallyon||0||54.5kg||84|
|10||0886×58332||SPARTAN EAGLE||Bob Richard||Ms Jan Cameron||0||54kg||78|
|11||7×62301212||GRAVITATIONAL TROBIS Bonus Scheme||Gary Clarke||Dom Tourneur||0||54kg||77|
|12||0x03799x85||THE BIG STEEL||Stephen Brown||Ms Alana Brown (a)||0||54kg||77|
|13e||16x300x239||STORM APPROACH TROBIS Bonus Scheme||Gary Clarke||Brendon Davis||0||54kg||69|
|14e||87×1219844||DEFLECTION TROBIS Bonus Scheme||Alwyn Trengrove||TBA||0||54kg||65|
|15e||643210×559||SLEW LEFT||Michael Templeton||Wayne Davis||0||54kg||54|