Victorian horseman Neil Dyer will chase his third win in Monday afternoon’s Darwin Cup 2016 and said he “can’t fault” his runner in the Top End’s ultimate showdown Royal Request.
Based at Kyneton in the Macedon Ranges of Victoria, Dyer has been represented during the Darwin Cup Carnival in the Northern Territory eight times before ahead of this year’s shot at the $200,000 Darwin Cup (2000m).
He has twice taken out the lucrative Cup feature with Hawks Bay who went back-to-back with Steven Arnold in the saddle in 2011 and 2012.
Hawkes Bay also finished runner-up in the Darwin Cup quinella in 2009 and 2010, and it is last year’s second past the post Royal Request who represents the trainer this winter.
The Bel Esprit gelding has his third start in a Darwin Cup field, last year’s second to Lightinthenite following Royal Request’s 10th to Pretty Blonde in the 2014 edition of the Darwin Triple Crown’s third and final leg.
The now six-year-old comes into this afternoon’s clash in good form once again having won a 1900m handicap at the track carrying 58kg on July 16.
Royal Request drops down to 54.5kg for the Darwin Cup and has ace Sydney hoop Tommy Berry aboard for the ride from the inside alley.
Darwin Cup betting is dominated by the Darwin Guineas – NT Derby double winner Finke ($3.80) who shoots for his sixth win from as many starts at the course, his ninth win on the trot and the Triple Crown victory not achieved in the past two decades.
Royal Request meanwhile is a $5.50 chance in the latest Darwin Cup odds with only last year’s winner Lightinthenite ($4.20) who carries the 63kg top weight this year and Saturday Sorcerer ($5) shorter in the markets along with Finke.
This will be the horse’s 15th start at Darwin Racecourse and his last start victory was his sixth victory at the sand track, Dyer hoping Royal Request continues his good record in today’s showdown.
“I’m very happy with him, I can’t fault him,” Dyer told Racing Ahead on RSN.
“He won the Buntine [Handicap] last start, he beat Saturday Sorcerer.
“There was probably a bit of improvement in him after that run.
“Tommy Berry today, barrier one… I think he’s going to get a good run for a long, long way.
“Hopefully, when we ask him to hit top gear, he’ll be finishing off – he usually does up here.”
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