Trainer Michael Hickmott has won a third Darwin Cup with outsider Canny Ballad.
Jockey Raymond Vigar scored the biggest win of his career as Canny Ballad ($31) strode away to win the $200,000 climax of the Darwin Cup Carnival from Whistle Stop ($11) with the heavily backed $2.80 favourite Finke finishing third.
Hickmott, who is based at Murray Bridge in South Australia, won the Darwin Cup in 2007 and 2009.
“Darwin’s where I got started and I’ll love Darwin forever,” an emotional Hickmott told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
Hickmott, the younger brother of Lloyd Williams’ trainer Robert, won his second Darwin Cup at 20.
Vigar said riding Canny Ballad quietly and following Whistlestop into the race was key to winning the 2000m feature.
“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,” Vigar said.
Canny Ballad won the 2014 Albury Cup at his last start for Guy Walter and was then trained by Joe Pride and John Thompson before being moved to South Australia with Hickmott.