Gary Clarke’s in-form local veteran Lightinthenite is clear early favourite among the Darwin Cup 2015 nominations for Monday’s feature race at Fannie Bay.
Early markets at Ladbrokes.com.au on this year’s $200,000 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (2000m), which attracted 24 nominations, are clearly led by Galileo seven-year-old Lightinthenite who turns eight on Saturday.
A winner of seven of his 32 starts to date the warhorse won first-up on July 11 at the track carrying 61kg to victory in the Chief Minister’s Cup (1600m).
He is the current third heaviest weighted entry in the Darwin Cup weights on 60kg behind the Chris Nash-trained import Gris Caro (61.5kg) and Gai Waterhouse’s Travolta (60.5kg).
Lightinthenite pays $3.60 in all-in Darwin Cup betting, Travolta the next best in the markets at $4.50.
Handsome Ransom gelding Travolta hasn’t won a race since the Listed Australia Day Cup (2400m) at Randwick back in January of 2014 and was last seen finishing a below par seventh in the Metric Mile at Fannie Bay on July 25.
There are three other single figure hopes in the latest Darwin Cup odds including Royal Request ($7).
Neil Dyer’s in-form Bel Esprit gelding is a rising five-year-old and heads the Darwin Cup ballot after back-to-back wins at the track in July.
The first was over a mile before he stepped up to 1900m to defeat Whistle Stop by one and a quarter lengths in the Buntine Handicap last time out.
Royal Request carried 55.5kg to victory that day and is extremely well weighted for the Cup getting in on the 54kg minimum.
Rounding out the top chances in the all-in markets for Monday’s NT major are Buntine Handicap runner-up Whistle Stop ($8) who beat home The Ruffian on July 25 by nearly three lengths to win the Metric Mile and the aforementioned Gris Caro ($8.50) who was an early favourite for last year’s Caulfield Cup in Melbourne.
Just outside of those are the likes of the Stephen Brown-trained Post D’France ($11), Metric Mile second placegetter The Ruffian ($11) who will line up for his 50th career start on Monday if accepted, High Rolling mare Pretty Blonde ($12) who defends her Darwin Cup title this winter and the Bob Richard-trained Adelaide visitor Spartan Eagle ($12).
See below for the full Darwin Cup 2015 nominations and weights, the final field due for release on Thursday.
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2015 Darwin Cup Nominations
Fannie Bay Racecourse – 03/08/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Ballot||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||4384044411||ROYAL REQUEST||G||5||Neil Dyer||1||54kg||82|
|2||x967245611||FLYING TORMENTA||M||4||John Peacock||2||54kg||64|
|3||x6710x080x||GRIS CARO (GB)||H||7||Chris Nash||3||61.5kg||98|
|4||74684500×6||TRAVOLTA (NZ)||G||7||Gai Waterhouse||4||60.5kg||96|
|7||5x031370x0||THE RUFFIAN||G||8||Sheila Arnold||7||54.5kg||84|
|8||11×0532183||BOLTON (NZ)||G||9||Neil Dyer||8||54.5kg||84|
|9||09565792×4||PRETTY BLONDE||M||7||Kym Healy||9||54kg||83|
|10||x46126x954||POST D’FRANCE (NZ)||G||7||Stephen Brown||10||54kg||82|
|11||8446053189||SPARTAN EAGLE||G||8||Bob Richard||11||54kg||81|
|12||x452221118||WHITE SAMBUCA (NZ)||G||6||David Bates||12||54kg||80|
|16||3151236422||WHISTLE STOP||G||5||Dick Leech||16||54kg||74|
|18||1x299x4727||DESIGN FOR LIFE||G||6||Chris Nash||18||54kg||74|
|19||253DDx2541||SATURDAY SORCERER||G||6||Mark Webb||19||54kg||74|
|20||645506×113||BEL SIR||G||8||Neil Dyer||20||54kg||72|
|21||0748×88568||FIRST COURSE||G||7||Stephen Brown||21||54kg||71|
|22||32392×2322||STORM APPROACH||G||5||Gary Clarke||22||54kg||70|
|23||03122×0011||STRAIGHT JACKET||G||5||Symon Wilde||23||54kg||70|
|24||4x8811x623||PURRFECT COCKTAIL||G||6||Malcolm Carson||24||54kg||62|