Talented gelding Canny Ballad has produced a career-best performance to date to take out the 2016 Darwin Cup (2000m) at Fannie Bay Racecourse.
Canny Ballad was rated virtually not chance of success in the top-end feature race on Monday afternoon, but did his chances no harm whatsoever when jumping well and taking a good position in running off the pace of early leader Big Man, who ensured plenty of tempo would be injected into the race from the outset.
Jockey Raymond Vigar elected to follow Whistle Stop around the field leading towards the final straight; a decision that proved vital when the seven-year-old mustered a scintillating turn of foot to comfortably pass his rivals and pull clear in the late stages; eventually finding the line close to four lengths ahead of Dick Leech’s sole runner; race favourite Finke boxing on for third.
Vigar delivered a smart and well-timed performance aboard Canny Ballad to win the 2016 Darwin Cup, but was quick to lay the praise on the class of his mount in the success.
“It is an absolute thrill to win the Darwin Cup, words can’t explain how much this means to me,” Vigar said after the race.
“I just rode him nice and quiet, I let them go mad in front.
“Coming to the turn I had to grab a hold because we were going so well and then when he got to the outside he just really let down and picked them up.
“To get the opportunity to ride in the Cup on a half handy horse and to ride it home for Michael Hickmott – words can’t explain it.”
Trainer Michael Hickmott incredibly saddled his third Darwin Cup winner in Canny Ballad on Monday afternoon, and the Murray Bridge-based horseman was understandably thrilled with the result.
“Darwin’s where I got started and I’ll love Darwin forever,” Hickmott said.
Canny Ballad began his racing career under the guidance of the late, great Guy Walter in 2012, and has passed through the care of Joe Pride and John Thompson on his way to Hickmott’s stables in 2015; posting a total of six wins and eleven minors through thirty-eight competitive starts.
2016 Darwin Cup Results
|1||13e||CANNY BALLAD||Michael Hickmott||Raymond Vigar||–||2||54kg||–||$31|
|2||3||WHISTLE STOP||Dick Leech||Stephen Ridler||3.3L||8||55.5kg||–||$11|
|3||5||FINKE||Gary Clarke||Brendon Davis||9.3L||7||54.5kg||–||$2.80F|
|4||6||ROYAL REQUEST||Neil Dyer||Tommy Berry||9.5L||1||54.5kg||–||$7|
|5||12||SPARTAN EAGLE||Bob Richard||Ms Felicia Bergstrand||9.7L||9||54kg||–||$41|
|6||4||OUR VALDIVIA (NZ)||Lisa Lefoe||Paul Denton||11L||3||55kg||1.0kg||$8|
|7||1||LIGHTINTHENITE||Gary Clarke||Paul Shiers||14.3L||5||63kg||–||$5.50|
|8||8||BIG MAN||Gary Clarke||Kim Gladwin||31.8L||10||54kg||–||$26|
|9||9||MOON DEVIL||Angela Forster||Jarrod Todd||36.1L||4||54kg||–||$26|
|10||11||ORION (NZ)||Kerry Petrick||Wayne Davis||65.4L||11||54kg||–||$61|
|11||7||SATURDAY SORCERER||Jason Manning||Dean Yendall||99.9L||6||54kg||–||$7|