On Monday the Northern Territory’s premier race was run and won in an upset with eleventh hour addition Canny Ballad taking out the Darwin Cup 2016.
The early scratching of Alice Springs Cup winner Montalto from the $200,000 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (2000m) early in the week paved the way for the Michael Hickmott-trained Canny Ballad from Murray Bridge in South Australia to gain a start in the lucrative feature.
The seven-year-old son of Dream Ballad, formerly prepared by the late Guy Walter as well as Joe Pride and John Thompson, lined up from a good barrier two draw with young jockey Raymond Vigar taking over for Paul Shiers in the saddle of Canny Ballad who jumped a $31 chance.
Improving on a last start sixth over 1900m at the track behind fellow Darwin Cup rival Royal Request in the Buntine Handicap on July 16, Canny Ballad relished the extra metres and flew home to score a commanding three and a quarter length victory over the Dick Leech-trained Whistle Stop ($11).
This year’s Darwin Cup favourite was the young Gary Clarke-trained Finke ($2.80) who came off the winning Darwin Guineas – NT Derby double, but was unable to complete the Darwin Triple Crown with his distant third on Monday afternoon.
Completing the first four was Canny Ballad’s last start conqueror, the Neil Dyer-trained Royal Request ($7) beaten nine and a half lengths in the 60th edition of the Darwin Cup.
Alice Springs Cup runner-up Big Man set a hot pace in the Top End’s winter classic who was challenged for the lead on the turn for home by the likes of the in-form Metric Miler winner Our Valdivia, Clarke’s defending Darwin Cup champ Lightinthenite and stablemate Finke.
Halfway down the home straight Leech’s recent Chief Minister’s Cup winner Whistle Stop, ridden by Stephen Ridler, who came off a second in the Metric Mile, swooped late and looked like taking it out.
Vigar though found an inside run late after settling Canny Ballad back off the speed in the early stages, charging through the gears to run down Whistle Stop and pull clear over the final 100m.
“It is an absolute thrill to win the Darwin Cup, words can’t explain how much this means to me,” Vigar told the media post-win.
“I just rode him nice and quiet, I let them go mad in front.
“Coming to the turn I had to grab a hold because we were going so well and then when he got to the outside he just really let down and picked them up.”
Hickmott has now trained three Darwin Cup winners, Canny Ballad’s shock win adding to those of General Market (2007) and Activation (2009) for the young South Australian horseman who first won the race as an eighteen-year-old.
See below for the full Darwin Cup 2016 results and finishing order then make sure you’re ready for your next winter racing bet by signing up to Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $500 first time depositor’s bonus with use of the code BETBONUS!
2016 Darwin Cup Results
Darwin Race 9 – 01/08/2016
|1||13e||CANNY BALLAD||Michael Hickmott||Raymond Vigar||–||2||54kg||$31|
|2||3||WHISTLE STOP||Dick Leech||Stephen Ridler||3.3L||8||55.5kg||$11|
|3||5||FINKE||Gary Clarke||Brendon Davis||9.3L||7||54.5kg||$2.80F|
|4||6||ROYAL REQUEST||Neil Dyer||Tommy Berry||9.5L||1||54.5kg||$7|
|5||12||SPARTAN EAGLE||Bob Richard||Ms Felicia Bergstrand||9.7L||9||54kg||$41|
|6||4||OUR VALDIVIA (NZ)||Lisa Lefoe||Paul Denton||11L||3||55kg (1.0kg penalty)||$8|
|7||1||LIGHTINTHENITE||Gary Clarke||Paul Shiers||14.3L||5||63kg||$5.50|
|8||8||BIG MAN||Gary Clarke||Kim Gladwin||31.8L||10||54kg||$26|
|9||9||MOON DEVIL||Angela Forster||Jarrod Todd||36.1L||4||54kg||$26|
|10||11||ORION (NZ)||Kerry Petrick||Wayne Davis||65.4L||11||54kg||$61|
|11||7||SATURDAY SORCERER||Jason Manning||Dean Yendall||99.9L||6||54kg||$7|
|–||10||KAYNO||Kerry Petrick||Jason Lyon||–||0||–||–|
|–||2||MONTALTO||Angela Forster||Carl Spry||–||0||–||–|