The Carlton Mid Darwin Cup creates a bit of interest on an otherwise quiet day of racing this Monday, August 6th. The $200,000 event is the final race on the nine-race card and sees a field of 12 line up over the 2000m.
It looks a bit of a race in three between (1) Zahspeed, (7) Lieder and (12) Turf Man.
Zahspeed ran an admirable race first up on his Northern Territory debut and improved out of sight to bolt in by five lengths over 1600m last start. His third up record stands at five starts for three wins so there’s every reason to say he will improve further today, making him a deserved favourite. One slight query could be the 60.5kg he has to lump and he has to step up in trip once again to the 2000m. His record at the distance is sound but it can sometimes be a bit tricky to step up so sharply two starts in a row so early in a preparation.
Michael Hickmott’s only entry in the race is Lieder, who ran 3rd in this race last year, beaten just over three lengths. The stable said they’ve set this horse for this specific race for the whole year and the trainer certainly knows how to win the race. Lieder’s had a good preparation for the 2000m today and drops to 4.5kg to 54kg. Drawn ideally in barrier 4 and looks hard to beat.
Turf Man comes off a 10L win over this track and distance last start and he ran hot time in the process. That was only in 3YO company though, so he has to take on the older horses today. It’s going to be a much tougher contest than what he faced last start but it’s hard to knock him off such an impressive win. Gets in well with 54kg.
Outside of the top three, there could be a bit of value to be found in (2) Royal Request and (9) Saturday Sorcerer, who ran the quinella in last year’s Darwin Cup. Royal Request is a $17 chance and will relish with the step up to 2000m today while Saturday Sorcerer should show significant improvement third up.
Sticking with Lieder here who draws well and looks well handicapped. The stable have clearly set him for this.
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