The major Brisbane race at Eagle Farm Racecourse...
The barrier draw for the 2018 $200,000 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (2000m) at Fannie Bay in Darwin was kind to the short priced favourite Zahspeed.
The Gary Clarke trained Zahspeed drew barrier two in the Darwin Cup final field of twelve plus three emergencies and has been installed as the $2.80 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The South Australian trained Turf Man and $4.20 second favourite drew awkwardly at barrier nine while Zahspeed’s stablemate Kifaah ($15) will jump from next to the favourite at gate three.
Champion Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman had offered to ride Zahspeed in the Darwin Cup but Clarke’s wife Sharlene said the Top End’s leading trainer was happy for local jockey Brendon Davis to ride the seven year old again.
“Hugh is mates with some of Zahspeed’s owners, and he put his hand up to ride him in this year’s Cup,” Clarke’s wife Sharlene told the NT News.
“But Gary said no – he wanted to give the ride to our stable jockey, Brendon Davis.
“Brendon has ridden horses for us all year round, in trackwork and during the wet season, and Gary wanted to do the right thing by him with a lot of money being up for grabs in this race.
Bowman did steer Clarke’s first Darwin Cup winner Lightinthenite to a nine lengths victory in 2015.
The South Australian trained Turf Man is the baby of the field, having only turned four on the horse’s birthday on Wednesday, and will jump from gate nine with Sairyn Fawke in the saddle.
The John Hickmott trained Turf Man only broke through for his maiden win four starts back at Port Augusta on June 14 and with two more wins from his next three starts, including the $135,000 Ladbrokes NT Derby (2000m) at Fannie Bay in Darwin, and finds himself as one of the main fancies for the Darwin Cup.
Hichmott will also saddle up Lieder (Jamie Kah, barrier 4) who is next in the betting at $6 while the Richard Laming trained Folk Tales (Jason Lyon, barrier 5) is the only other runner under the $10 mark at $8.
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