WELL TRAVELLED galloper Budget King will be trying to defy 24 years of history in Monday’s $100,000 Darwin Cup (2050m).
Ventilago was the last horse NT Derby winner to win the Cup as a part of the elusive top end triple crown in 1996, while Wild Heart beat the older horses in 2003.
Budget King’s liking for the dirt hasn’t gone unnoticed by bookmakers sitting on the third line of betting at $4.40 with tab.com.au.
Previously with Lloyd Kennewell before five runs in SA for Travis Doudle, Budget King is in the hands of Garry Lefoe in Darwin and owner Sean Buckley has indicated the horse could head overseas if he can win the Darwin feature.
“If he was to win the Darwin Cup and run a good time, my friend said to me “you should take it over to Dubai, there’s a lot dirt racing over there prior to the world cup for big money, you win three or four races and win half a million dollars”,’’ Buckley said on RadioTAB last week.
“If he ran well, he ran time, fingers crossed he does, I think I might ship him over to Dubai. I don’t think he’s enough to win the good races, don’t get me wrong,’ he said.
Handsome Return is another Adelaide galloper who has shown his liking for the dirt surface.
He scored a soft Port Augusta Cup win last time out which prompted trainer Will Clarken to send the horse to Darwin and join Gary Clarke and all the reports from up north were positive regarding his chances.
“He’s settled in really well there according to Clarkey, but normally horses need a run there,’’ Clarken said.
“He’ll probably be right in the finish or out the back, we’ll just have to wait and see.
“He travelled up there nice and slow, which he needs as he’s a lightly framed horse,’’ he said.
Handsome Return is marked a $6.50 chance.
Adelaide jockey Anna Jordsjo will make the trip to partner Safety Dance in the feature for Dick Leech while Paul Gatt rides Lotion for Angela Forster.
MEANWHILE former local Captain Punch will be chasing a third $70,000 Palmerston Sprint (1200m) feature.
Captain Punch finished runner-up behind Niccoco back in 2017 before winning the past two features and boasts a brilliant record on the dirt having won 10 of 16 starts in the top end with four minor placings.
Sairyn Fawke rides $10 chance Golden Dice in Palmerstone, Gatt will ride I’m Too Hot for Gary Clarke (who has five runner sin the race) while Jordsjo has the ride Clever Tommy.