Clarke, Todd proving unstoppable in Darwin

Jarrod Todd
Leading Darwin jockey Jarrod Todd celebrating victory aboard the Gary Clarke-trained Spaceship, formerly trained by Robert Heathcote in Brisbane, at Fannie Bay on Saturday. Picture: Caroline Camilleri (Fotofinish Racepix)

Trainer Gary Clarke (46 wins) and jockey Jarrod Todd (40) are almost certain to defend their Top End and Country premierships this season.

Clarke, the leading trainer for 11 years, and Todd, the top jockey for past four years, sealed a winning treble at Darwin on Saturday.

Influential Jack ($3.70) saluted for Clarke at the 13th attempt over 1300m (0-70), Spaceship the $1.40 bookmaker favourite, made it two wins from two Top End starts over 1200m (BM76), and Patriotic King ($3) – Fannie Bay’s 1100m track record holder – prevailed over 1100m (0-64).

That’s 13 wins from the last five meetings for Clarke, while it’s eight wins from the past three meetings for Todd.

Phil Cole and apprentice Emma Lines, who sit in second place, combined to win the other two races with debutante Moorestown ($2.90 fav) over 1300m (0-58) and Miami Vice ($2.35 fav) in an 1100m maiden.

Cole (23) and Lines (22) are likely to finish second behind Clarke and Todd come July 31.

Influential Jack, a seven-year-old gelding by Epaulette, shared the early lead with Cole’s Soul Spirit and Chloe Baxter’s Swing With Junior – they were six lengths clear at the 1000m.

Sitting three deep, Influential Jack eased back into third place, but once turning for home, he pounced before overcoming Soul Spirit ($2.45 fav) by 0.7 lengths.

Chris Pollard’s A Big Chance ($26) wasn’t a factor passing the 600m, but rallied late to finish a distant third.

Spaceship, a four-year-old gelding by Invader, over-raced in third place passing the 800m as Cole’s Star Magnum, who started poorly, and Clarke’s Bel’s Banner held sway out in front.

Swinging for home at the 350m, Spaceship – formerly trained by Robert Heathcote at Eagle Farm – had his mind back on racing before winning by 3.4 lengths from Bel’s Banner ($6) and Star Magnum ($4).

Patriotic King, a five-year-old gelding by Starspangledbanner, has been a consistent performer for Clarke, but he hadn’t won since Melbourne Cup Day.

Kicking clear at the 1000m, Patriotic King was six lengths clear at the 200m before tiring to finish 2.5 lengths ahead of Cole’s Exceedingly Magic ($12) and Tayarn Halter’s Raffalli ($7).

Moorestown, a four-year-old gelding by Shalaa, formerly of NSW, was camped three deep with fellow leaders Awen, a stablemate, and Clarke’s Extreme Emotion.

Hitting the front at the final bend, Moorestown went on to claim a tremendous win by 1.7 lengths from Kevin Lamprecht’s Sweet As Scandi ($13) and Extreme Emotion ($7).

Miami Vice, a three-year-old gelding by Shalaa, was a first up third in a 1000m maiden in April after leaving Victoria.

Although camped on the fence after jumping from pole position on Saturday, he had three rivals for company out in front passing the 900m.

Halter’s Ibegood and Pollard’s NT debutante Call It A Loan, sitting three and four deep, led narrowly from Miami Vice and Baxter’s Siberian Larch at the top corner.

Approaching the home turn, Miami Vice, who never left the fence, made ground before powering away at the 300m to sink first-starter Ibegood ($17) and Clarke’s Nassau County ($2.70), who pipped Call It A Loan for third, by 5.7 lengths.

Horse racing news

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments