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Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid favourite in the betting for the 2018 $200,000 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (2000m) at Fannie Bay in Darwin today.
The Gary Clarke trained Zahspeed has tightened in from $2.70 to be the $2.60 favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au on race morning ahead of the big firmer in the betting Lieder whose price has been trimmed up from $6.50 to be the second pick at $4.20.
The John Hickmott trained Turf Man is now on the third line of betting at $4.60 while Folk Tales is the only other runner under the $10 mark at $8.50.
Clarke will be chasing a feature race double after producing the winner of the feature sprint of the 2018 Darwin Cup Carnival with Captain Punch scoring a runaway seven and a quarter lengths win in the $135,000 Palmerston Sprint (1200m) at Fannie Bay on Saturday.
Darwin’s leading trainer will also saddle up $15 chance Kifaah but Zahspeed is clearly the stable’s number one pick after a five lengths win in his final Darwin Cup lead up race in the $60,000 Chief Minister’s Cup (1600m) on July 14.
“He (Zahspeed) has had no setbacks. He has done nothing wrong coming into this,” Clarke told Moody On The Mic.
“He won the Chief Minister’s pretty authoritatively so I am pretty happy with where he is.”
Zahspeed has drawn barrier two in the final twelve horse Darwin Cup field who will be ridden again by leading jockey Brendon Davis who has been aboard the seven year old at his last two starts.
Davis was able to get the nod from Clarke to stick with Zahspeed after the leading trainer’s wide Sharlene revealed that champion Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman had made inquiries to secure the Darwin Cup mount.
The South Australian trained Turf Man is the baby of the field, having only turned four on the horse’s birthday on the 1st of August, and will jump from gate nine with Dom Tourneur getting a late call up to replace Sairyn Fawke.
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 a win in the $135,000 Ladbrokes NT Derby (2000m) on July 21 at Fannie Bay in Darwin and finds himself as one of the main fancies for the Darwin Cup.
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