Confirming two runners in the final field for this afternoon’s Fannie Bay feature, trainer Neil Dyer is confident of returning to his Kyneton stables a Darwin Cup (2000m) richer via classy pair Cantonese and exciting up-and-comer Royal Request.
Drawn alongside one-another in the relatively unfortunate and awkward barriers 13 and 14, Dyer told Racing Victoria he is confident of positive performances from both Cantonese and Royal Request in the 2014 Darwin Cup, but believes Cantonese’s extensive experience may prove the difference.
“He’s having his first run for me over 2000m on Monday, he has gone pretty good at his last couple of starts over a mile but his best form is upwards of 2000m, from 2000m to 2400m,” Dyer said of Cantonese.
“You know 18 months ago he won the Listed Christmas Cup (2400m) in Sydney beating the like of Moriarty and Fiumicino, he’s got the quality.
“He should have won the Chief Minister’s Cup (1600m) two starts back, he ran off the track on the first corner lost his position, sort of got back into the race, shot to the front in the straight and then got collared right on the line by Smarty Mac.
“I’d lean toward him just because it is so tough for three three-year-olds.”
Carrying exceptional form into the Darwin Cup, Royal Request charged home to win the NT Derby (2000m) by more than two lengths last time out, but may find the late going tough this afternoon, according to Dyer.
“Our three-year-old is going into the race in very good form, he won the Derby in very fine fashion coming from last and running away from them,” Dyer said.
He’ll sit back, it didn’t bother me what barrier he got because he does go back and he’ll have to circle the field.
“But the three-year-olds find it pretty hard to win the Cup, that’s why they offer a $100,000 bonus if you can win the Guineas, Derby and the Cup so it’s not an easy task.
“I can’t see him not finishing the race off; it’s just that the tempo of the open class horses might be a bit too strong for him this year.”
Confirmed to be partnered by renowned jockey Blake Shinn, who will be making his first Northern Territory appearance this afternoon, Cantonese is currently available at generous odds of $5.50 for success in the 2014 Darwin Cup, with Royal Request offered less chance on completing the Derby/Cup double at a quote of $8 with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.
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