A talented field of 12 plus three emergencies has been confirmed to line up for Monday’s featured Darwin Cup (2000m), highlighted by several notable performers over the current racing calendar so far.
Trainer Gary Clarke is set to launch a two-pronged attack on the 2014 Darwin Cup, having claimed positions in the final field for classy pair Lightinthenite and Gravitational; third nominee Storm Approach currently listed as the event’s first emergency.
Claiming an impressive total of six race wins and five minor places from 26 competitive starts so far, Lightinthenite began his racing career under the guidance of renowned trainer John O’Shea before transferring to the care of Clarke at the conclusion of his 2014 autumn preparation.
Running on from the rear of the field to finish fourth in the Chief Minister’s Cup (1600m) in his only appearance in Darwin so far, Lightinthenite is an excellent chance for success in the 2014 Darwin Cup should be claim an ideal gate at Friday’s barrier draw.
securing three wins and five minor places from just 17 starts of his own, Gravitational began his career under the care of trainer Danny O’Brien in the autumn of 2013, transferring to the stables of Phillip Stokes before arriving to Clarke at the beginning of June.
Yet to finish worse than second in three starts in the nation’s top-end, Gravitational has proven ability over many of his Darwin Cup opponents; winning the Darwin Guineas (1600m) on July 5th most notably and finishing second in the NT Derby (2000m) last time out.
Charging home to beat Gravitational by two lengths in the NT Derby most recently, Royal Request has arguably returned to racing in career-best form this season, having won the Darwin RSL Handicap (1300m) with ease first-up before finishing a close second in the Darwin Guineas.
Claiming a total of three wins and as many minor places from just 13 competitive starts so far, Royal Request has fast laid his claims as one to watch over season to come, and may warrant a trip to Melbourne for the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, should he again perform to a high standard in the Darwin Cup.
Trainer Neil Dyer is also set to be offered twice the chance of success in the 2014 Darwin Cup, accepting a position for Cantonese to join Royal Request in Monday’s feature race.
A racing journeyman since first debuting on course in the autumn of 2011, Cantonese has had stints under the guidance of trainers John O’Shea and Bjorn Baker before arriving at Dyer’s Kyneton stables at the conclusion of 2013.
Contesting four events at the Northern Territory’s Fannie Bay course in the lead-up to the Darwin Cup, the Redoute’s Choice gelding has hit particularly competitive form over his two most recent starts; finishing second in the Chief Minister’s Cup before running on for third in the Metric Mile (1600m) last time out.
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2014 Darwin Cup Final Field
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||4x38x469x4||LIGHTINTHENITE||Gary Clarke||Paul Shiers||0||60kg||–||97|
|2||x88100x000||CONSTANT FORCE||Bill & Symon Wilde||Dean Yendall||0||57.5kg||–||90|
|3||57688×6923||CANTONESE||Neil Dyer||Blake Shinn||0||56kg||–||87|
|4||4751111×05||PRETTY BLONDE||Kym Healy||Justin Potter||0||56kg||–||91|
|5||0931746×61||THE RUFFIAN||Sheila Arnold||Kim Gladwin||0||56kg||–||87|
|6||211195×637||DIFFERING FORTUNES||Greg Connor||Ms Kacie Connor (a)||0||55.5kg||–||86|
|7||25×2292531||SATURDAY SORCERER||Stuart Gower||Paul Denton||0||55kg||1.0kg||85|
|8||987386×121||ROYAL REQUEST||Neil Dyer||Jarrod Todd||0||54.5kg||–||84|
|9||5289×35512||SMARTY MAC||Dick Leech||Andrew Mallyon||0||54.5kg||–||84|
|10||0886×58332||SPARTAN EAGLE||Bob Richard||Ms Jan Cameron||0||54kg||–||78|
|11||7×62301212||GRAVITATIONAL||Gary Clarke||Dom Tourneur||0||54kg||–||77|
|12||0x03799x85||THE BIG STEEL||Stephen Brown||Ms Alana Brown (a)||0||54kg||–||77|
|13e||16x300x239||STORM APPROACH||Gary Clarke||Brendon Davis||0||54kg||–||69|
|15e||643210×559||SLEW LEFT||Michael Templeton||Wayne Davis||0||54kg||–||54|