This afternoon the Darwin Cup 2016 takes centre stage up in the Top End, betting tips and the latest odds on the Northern Territory’s showcase detailed below.
Due to run as Race 9 as the last on the program at 5:25pm (local), this year’s $200,000 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (2000m) will run with 11 starters.
Two early scratchings – #2 Montalto (6) and #10 Kayno (9) – has paved the way for the race’s only emergency Canny Ballad to line-up from barrier two as a $41 roughie in Darwin Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Sitting top of the updated Darwin Cup odds at $3.80 and firming is the in-form Finke (7) prepared by Gary Clarke.
The Turfontein gelding debuts as a four-year-old chasing his ninth win on the trot and the $100,000 Ladbrokes.com.au Triple Crown bonus after wins in the series’ opening two legs.
Just two horses in history have won all three races in the Darwin Triple Crown, Finke out to be the next this afternoon after completing the Darwin Guineas – NT Derby double at his two most recent starts.
The latest was over the same track / distance as the Darwin Cup, but against a field of his own age, and today Finke will drop back from 58kg to 54.5kg with Brendon Davis retaining his association.
Occupying the second line of Darwin Cup betting at $4.20 is the 63kg top weight and reigning champion Lightinthenite, also prepared by local horseman Clarke.
Twelve months ago the Galileo gelding posted a nine length Darwin Cup win carrying 60kg, but he has been kept to just one run since due to an injury enforced break.
He returned to racing on July 9 with a fourth in the Chief Minister’s Cup (1600m) behind Whistle Stop that he’ll be looking to improve on going down a kilo over the extra metres this afternoon in his nine-year-old debut.
So will the top two in betting run the Darwin Cup quinella or is there value further down the markets from the likes of Alice Springs visitor Our Valdivia ($6.50) who has won three from four at the Darwin track, the rails-drawn Royal Request ($5.50) to be ridden by Sydney’s Tommy Berry on the back of a 1900m win at the course or the market mover Saturday Sorcerer ($5) who ran second in the same lead-up?
#4 Our Valdivia ($6.50)
Lots of boxes ticked by Lisa Lefoe’s in-form Don Edurado six-year-old who comes off a trio of wins over the Darwin mile. Form at the track is excellent and drops a half-kilo to 55kg here even with the kilo penalty for last weekend’s Metric Mile victory. Needs to handle the step up in distance however, which the gelding has just one third place effort over from four previous 2000m runs. If the metres are run out, is a livewire chance here in a class field.
#5 Finke ($3.80)
Deserving favourite hasn’t been beaten in eight latest runs, but history is against the now four-year-old who chases the Guineas – Derby – Cup treble achieved just twice before and not in the past 20 years. Still, deserves dominance in the markets based on the lead-up and going down in weight. Odds-on last run and won without issue, but this is an open-age field and all is hanging on how he handles that. Has had five runs for five wins at Darwin and is proven at the distance though so could prove hard to hold out again.
#3 Whistle Stop ($10)
Plenty of livewire chances to fill the final placing, but think there’s value in this Dick Leech-trained Street Sense six-year-old who won over the mile here two back as a 21/1 roughie before the second to Our Valdivia last time out. Is in career best form and could surprise with the right run.
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