The time-honoured Darwin Cup headlines the 11-race program at Fannie Bay on Monday in what is shaping up to be another quality day of racing in the Northern Territory.
We’ve got you covered with our best bets on the dirt in our 2021 Darwin Cup Preview below!
Race 1 - 11:40am AEST
Harvey Norman TROBIS Handicap (1200m)
Wild Rover has raced to mixed results in his short career, but he did show plenty in his maiden win at Pakenham last time in to suggest he’s the rightful favourite.
Colhoun finished off strongly for second after racing on-pace last time out over shorter. He maps to go straight to the front again and will likely give the others something to catch.
She Shines Bright is a useful type that has been racing well of late. She doesn’t win out of turn, but she did well to finish off for fifth after being caught wide last time out over further. The step back to 1200m looks ideal now.
2 Units E/W She Shines Bright
Race 2 - 12:17pm AEST
Schweppes Handicap (1200m)
Snows Bro was a narrow winner here two back over Belmont Day before the pair traded places last week over the same track and trip.
The seven-year-old showed plenty in the concluding stages to suggest he’s wanting further and there’s no question he’ll be hitting the line hard again.
Global Wonder was a clear winner here over the same distance last week and has to be respected on that effort. The son of Hinchinbrook loves racing at Darwin and has plenty of fitness on his side now to go on with it.
2 Units Global Wonder
Race 3 - 12:52pm AEST
Benchmark 66 Handicap (1100m)
Patriot Day is a proven customer over this track and trip with five wins on his resume.
The old boy has raced well in two starts since returning to work and has also won previously third-up from a spell.
The wins are spaced for Another Bit, but he was impressive last week over further from an identical draw. The drop back in trip is a plus and he should appreciate the slight drop in weight.
Like A Heartbeat has won and placed in three starts first-up. He’s another one with major claims over this distance and should enjoy a lovely run just off the speed.
2 Units Patriot Day
Race 4 - 1:27pm AEST
Seppelt Montgomerie Lightning Plate (1000m)
Belmont Day is very tough to argue against in this small field.
The lightly-raced son of I Am Invincible has won four from seven starts so far and could not have been more impressive in his latest when he turned the tables on Snows Bro with a huge turn of foot.
He’s fitter for two runs back and a proven performer over this trip, so everything points to a similar result.
3 Units Belmont Day
Race 5 - 2:05pm AEST
Australian Turf Club Handicap (1600m)
Really Swish failed to fire in his second-up run over the mile, but considering he’s won third-up previously, he could be worth forgiving on that effort.
Lionel won well over the mile two back before struggling to make up ground from a wide position at his latest. He too is worth forgiving and should give the others something to catch up front.
It’s been a while in between drinks for Island Dancer, but his last two efforts over this trip have been good. The son of Hinchinbrook has placed in three of his for starts over the mile and should be doing his best work late.
2 Units Lionel
Race 6 - 2:42pm AEST
Darwin Horse Floats Handicap (1600m)
Taciturn failed to produce his best last time out over the mile, but he’s a genuine contender in a race like this with five wins to his name over the trip.
Southern Bolt scored a brave win last time out over shorter and looks ready for the step up now. He’s been luckless over this distance previously in his career but should be in it for a long way if he gest to the front.
Moscow Rule is only lightly raced, but he clearly wants further now after finding the 1300m a little too short in his latest. The inside gate only improves his chances, and he should prove tough to run down if he lands on speed.
2 Units Moscow Rule
Race 7 - 3:22pm AEST
G H Mumm Handicap (1600m)
That’s Justified returns on the quick backup following a gutsy win over Coin Collector in last week’s Metric Mile.
He’ll carry 4kg’s extra for his troubles on Monday but is capable of going on with it if Stan Tsaikos can save his best for last.
Budget King is the first emergency in the Darwin Cup and will prove tough to beat if he lines up here.
He’s a genuine miler with three wins on the board, as we saw two weeks ago when he won over the track and distance by two lengths. The draw should see him roll forward and he’ll definitely take some catching.
2 Units Budget King
Race 8 - 3:57pm AEST
Ladbrokes Handicap (1300m)
Don’t Wait is capable of bouncing back on his latest effort that saw him run fourth over 1100m behind Fort Knox.
The start prior he won well in his first run back from a spell, and the step up in trip should suit him considering he’s found the money in four of his six starts over the distance.
Bolek won over this track and trip two runs back and can atone for a flat performance in his latest.
With Pleasure is as consistent as they come and is looking to break a run of placings that dates all the way back to March. The mare out of Magnus likes to roll forward and will no doubt be battling out the finish again.
2 Units Don’t Wait
Race 9 - 4:35pm AEST
Magic Millions Handicap (1300m)
Syncline had his chances at a hat-trick denied on Wednesday by Carlingford over the same journey, but he’s clearly pulled up well enough for trainer Gary Clarke to take him back to the races on a five-day turnaround.
Prior to all that, the son of Stratum gapped his rivals by nearly two lengths over 1200m in what was hands down the best performance of his young career.
He’s clearly got a turn of foot, and if he can get to the front under Paul Denton, the pair should be tough to beat.
2 Units Syncline
Race 10 - 5:15pm AEST
Silks Darwin Handicap (2050m)
Tugga War is at a very short price to win the Darwin Handicap and it’s not hard to see why.
She went around as the short-priced favourite on Wednesday over the mile and did not disappoint with a stunning three-length win over her rivals.
Gary Clarke’s six-year-old mare is unproven over this journey, but if she turns up anything like she did mid-week, she’s going to be very tough beat.
3 Units Tugga War
Race 11 - 5:15pm AEST
Great Northern Darwin Cup (2050m)
This is a very wide-open edition of the Darwin Cup and there is a case to be made for most.
I Am The Fox has been installed as the favourite ahead of his second run back after finishing a clear runner-up to rival Highly Decorated in the Chief Minister’s Cup earlier in the month.
The son of Foxwedge had to do a bit of work that day from a sticky draw, but the way he finished through the line suggests he’ll be tough to beat here with a gap between runs.
Highly Decorated also rates well as he looks to extend his winning streak to seven. He’s unproven over this trip though and should look to run the race on his own terms up front.
Casino Seventeen is next best for mine with some form around Cherry Tortoni down in Adelaide earlier this year.
He’s returned a place in back-to-back starts since returning to work and showed he could handle this track and trip last time out when second to Sanblas in the NT Derby Stakes. With even luck, he should be fighting out the finish with next to no weight on his back.
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