Gary Clarke’s short-priced favourite Lightinthenite saluted for the punters in Monday’s Darwin Cup 2015 with an absolute romp home in the Top End classic in record time.
Ridden by ace interstate hoop Hugh Bowman who was aboard the veteran eight-year-old son of Galileo as a favour for connections, former Sydney-based Lightinthenight ($3) had an impressive nine lengths to spare over his closest rival on the line in this year’s $200,000 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (2000m).
Carrying 60kg, a one kilo drop from the weight he had on his back when winning over the mile at Fannie Bay Racecourse the run before, Lightinthenite was unstoppable when flying home to easily account for the Neil Dyer-trained Royal Request ($6).
Adding value to the winning Darwin Cup trifecta a further half-length back for third was then the Kym Healy-trained defending champion Pretty Blonde ($21) who improved on a last start ninth at the track behind Whistle Stop.
Lightinthenite posted his Darwin Cup victory in 2:00.23, over a second faster than the previous track record, thanks to Bowman securing the box seat soon after settling.
The Darwin Cup field was led around by Clarke’s other runner Storm Approach and Kayno, the two emergency runners that gained an 11th hour start, while Bowman took his time aboard the eventual winner.
With 600m left to travel Bowman and Lightinthenite made their move, hitting the lead and racing away with the blistering victory to complete the Chief Minister’s Cup – Darwin Cup double for the locally based Clarke.
“It’s pretty tricky to get a horse ready first-up for a mile and then second-up to 2000 (metres),” Clarke told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“You’re always nervous when you see them hit the front like that so far out but when you looked behind them and nothing else is chasing, he’s just got to maintain to win but he didn’t just maintain he hit the line full of running.”
Recently crowned Sydney Jockeys’ Premiership winner Bowman, who took out nine Group 1 wins last season, was also full of post-win praise for the Darwin Cup winner.
“I was on the superior horse, all credit to Garry Clarke for turning him out in such magnificent fashion,” he said.
“He was a class horse in Sydney, I rode him a little bit as a young horse for the John O’Shea stable.
“He’s always had a high cruising speed and it actually brought him undone a little bit on the grass but he’s a lovely dirt horse.
“I’m a country boy at heart, and to come up here really does top off a wonderful season for me.”
See below for the full Darwin Cup 2015 results then visit Ladbrokes.com.au and open an account quoting the code BETBONUS to get your first deposit matched by the house 100% up to $500 to use up to four times this season!
2015 Darwin Cup Results & Finishing Order
Fannie Bay Race 9 – 04/08/2015
|1||3||LIGHTINTHENITE||Gary Clarke||Hugh Bowman||–||7||60kg||$3F|
|2||10||ROYAL REQUEST||Neil Dyer||Raymond Vigar (a)||9L||9||54kg||$6|
|3||7||PRETTY BLONDE||Kym Healy||Justin Potter||9.5L||10||54kg||$21|
|4||4||BOLTON (NZ)||Neil Dyer||Wayne Kerford||11L||3||54.5kg||$31|
|5||6||THE RUFFIAN||Sheila Arnold||Carl Spry||13.5L||5||54.5kg||$10|
|6||13e||KAYNO||Kerry Petrick||Ms Felicia Bergstrand (a)||13.7L||6||54kg||$31|
|7||2||TRAVOLTA (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Paul Shiers||14.2L||2||60.5kg||$11|
|8||11||PROVERB||Neil Dyer||Dean Holland||16L||4||54kg||$21|
|9||14e||STORM APPROACH||Gary Clarke||Brendon Davis||21L||1||54kg||$13|
|10||9||POST D’FRANCE (NZ)||Stephen Brown||Stephen Baster||31L||8||54kg||$6|
|11||5||PAYTEEVEE||Richard Laming||Paul Denton||32.3L||11||54.5kg||$41|
|12||1||GRIS CARO (GB)||Chris Nash||Andrew Mallyon||35.3L||12||61.5kg||$20|
|–||15e||SATURDAY SORCERER||Mark Webb||Paul Denton||–||0||–||–|
|–||8||WHISTLE STOP||Dick Leech||Stephen Ridler||–||0||–||–|
|–||12||FLYING TORMENTA TROBIS Bonus Scheme||John Peacock||Ms Jan Cameron||–||0||–||–|