Stuart Gower’s Adelaide raider Saturday Sorcerer made it back-to-back wins at Fannie Bay Racecourse in the NT on Monday afternoon completing the Metric Mile – Darwin Cup 2014 double with a brave victory in the latter.
The Any Given Saturday gelding took their record to four wins from 21 starts when beating home a quality field in the lucrative $200,000 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (2000m) with regular rider Paul Denton, ‘Dash’, aboard.
“The horse has just peaked, he loves Darwin and Paul has done a sensational job on him,” Saturday Sorcerer’s Morphettville-based trainer Gower told The Advertiser on Monday.
Five-year-old Saturday Sorcerer came off a win in the Sky Racing Metric Mile (1600m) at the same track from July 26 where they carried 54kg.
They handled the step up to 2000m and an extra kilo on Monday then but did it the hard way leading all the way to defeat the Kym Healy-trained High Rolling mare Pretty Blonde ($16) by a long neck.
It was a blanket the placings too with Gary Clarke’s 60kg topweight Lightinthenite ($11) then just a nose further away in third ahead of the Neil Dyer-trained Victorian visitor Cantonese ($6).
Darwin Cup betting favourite Smarty Mac ($5) meanwhile could only manage to finish three lengths off the winner in fifth.
Winning hoop Denton took Saturday Sorcerer straight to the front, the horse having to dig deep throughout with the Kyneton-based Cantonese and their hoop Blake Shinn applying plenty of pressure to the leader.
The two front runners had a notable margin on the rest of the Darwin Cup field by the turn before Saturday Sorcerer dug deep to surge clear.
While Cantonese dropped back for fourth, the winning line came at just the right time for Saturday Sorcerer as Strathalbyn-based Alice Springs Cup winner Pretty Blonde made a late run from the back of the pack and was eating up the metres as she closed in on the winner.
“I was starting to get a bit worried the last 50m, he’s got that hard but he’s just hung on,” Gower said.
“It was a super job.”
Darwin Hall of Fame jockey Denton, based in Adelaide, celebrated his second Darwin Cup win following his success in 1999 with On The Beam.
“I wanted to ride Chris Nash’s horse (Design For Life) in the Metric Mile but he put a southern jockey (Ryan Plumb) on so Stuart put me on this one,” Denton said post-win.
“We had to win the Metric Mile to get in (to the Darwin Cup) and here we are. It’s just terrific.”
Gower added that he believed the horse’s best was over 2000m, cemented by the Darwin Cup result that they would be back in 2015 to try and emulate.
“He’s more of a 2000m horse and I still think he’s immature, I think next year you’ll seen an even better horse, so hopefully we’re back again,” he said.
See below for the full Darwin Cup 2014 results.
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2014 Darwin Cup Results & Finishing Order
Darwin Race 9 – 04/08/2014
|1||7||SATURDAY SORCERER||Stuart Gower||Paul Denton||–||9||55kg (inc. 1.0kg penalty)||$9.50|
|2||4||PRETTY BLONDE||Kym Healy||Justin Potter||0.3L||1||56kg||$16|
|3||1||LIGHTINTHENITE||Gary Clarke||Richie Oakford||0.4L||3||60kg||$11|
|4||3||CANTONESE||Neil Dyer||Blake Shinn||1.9L||10||56kg||$6|
|5||9||SMARTY MAC||Dick Leech||Andrew Mallyon||2.9L||7||54.5kg||$5F|
|6||5||THE RUFFIAN||Sheila Arnold||Kim Gladwin||5.4L||6||56kg||$8|
|7||11||GRAVITATIONAL||Gary Clarke||Dom Tourneur||8.2L||4||54kg||$8|
|8||10||SPARTAN EAGLE||Bob Richard||Ms Jan Cameron||10L||5||54kg||$18|
|9||2||CONSTANT FORCE||Symon Wilde||Dean Yendall||15.3L||8||57.5kg||$31|
|10||6||DIFFERING FORTUNES||Greg Connor||Ms Kacie Connor (a)||16.6L||2||55.5kg||$31|
|11||8||ROYAL REQUEST||Neil Dyer||Jarrod Todd||18.1L||11||54.5kg||$7.50|
|12||12||THE BIG STEEL||Stephen Brown||Ms Alana Brown (a)||30.1L||12||54kg||$26|
|–||15e||SLEW LEFT||Michael Templeton||Wayne Davis||–||0||–||–|
|–||13e||STORM APPROACH||Gary Clarke||Brendon Davis||–||0||–||–|