Trainer Gary Clarke has revealed standout three-year-old Finke is no certainty to line up for the 2016 Darwin Cup (2000m) at Fannie Bay Racecourse on Monday, August 1st.
Finke has undoubtedly been the standout of Northern Territory racing in 2016 so-far, and is offered a rare opportunity to claim the NT Triple Crown after returning this time for consecutive wins in the Darwin Guineas (1600m) and Northern Territory Derby (2400m) through recent weeks.
Clarke told NT News that the horse had a particularly tough run in the NT Derby over the weekend and while faced with the prospect of further success in the Darwin Cup and a $100,000 bonus for claiming the Triple Crown, said the horse’s well-being will take priority.
“Finke had a tough run in the Derby, and although he seems to be picking up since Saturday I’d like to wait until the weekend before deciding if the will start in the Cup,” Clarke said.
“I’ve never been in this position before as far as winning the Triple Crown is concerned, but the horse’s welfare comes first.
“I’ve been training in Darwin for the past 12 years or so and I may never have another horse like Finke again, but I won’t be pushing him.”
“If he gives every indication that he is back to his best by the weekend and he is feeling well within himself, then we’ll keep going to the Cup.”
“We’ve got to get it right because you can only go to the well so often.”
Finke began his racing career under the guidance of Kristi Evans partway through 2015, but has undoubtedly stepped up a gear since his transfer to Clarke’s care in December.
Breaking through for a maiden race win in the Bet365 3.y.o Handicap (1000m) on January 2nd, Finke continued to impress in taking out his five subsequent starts leading into a return to a freshen-up; culminating in an impressive five length victory in the Northern Territory Guineas (1600m) at Alice Springs on April 9th.
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