Clarke’s Darwin treble, Baxter’s debutante breaks track record

Darwin trainer Chloe Baxter and Alice Springs apprentice Ianish Luximon celebrating the win by Shecanmixit, who broke the track record in a 1000m maiden, at Fannie Bay on Friday. Picture: Caroline Camilleri (Darwin Photography Professionals)

It was an eventful Darwin meeting on Friday.

After Rising Sphere ($3.50) won the feature race, leading trainer Gary Clarke sealed a treble when Wilsons Prom ($2.90 fav) and Daunting Decision ($6.50) saluted.

Clarke’s No.1 rider Jarrod Todd managed a double after partnering Rising Sphere and Daunting Decision.

The Chole Baxter-trained Shecanmixit ($1.50 fav), once a $6.50 quote with the top bookmakers, was making its Top End debut in a 1000m maiden before prevailing by 9.7 lengths and breaking the track record.

Trainer Tom Logan, hit with a recent $5000 fine when his horse Blueant returned a positive swab in September, could afford to celebrate when Fromthenevernever ($5.50) held on for victory.

Fellow trainer Chris Pollard had his first Fannie Bay win since Dream Weaver was victorious on Palmerston Sprint Day in August when Lucky Dog ($4) swooped with a late finishing burst.

Rising Sphere, a six-year-old gelding by Exosphere, had gone eight races without a win, but yesterday he led throughout over 1100m (0-70) in a five-horse field to sink Phil Cole’s El Magnificence ($2.45 fav) and Clarke’s Bel’s Banner ($4.40) by 2.2 lengths.

The race honoured 2008 Darwin Cup winning jockey Nathan Stanley, who rode in the NT intermittently from 2006-2011, following his recent passing.

Stanley rode Clarke’s Sunshine Resource to victory in the ROANT Cup prior to the 2008 Darwin Cup Carnival.

Rising Sphere was too good, clocking 1.02.10 – stablemate Patriotic King broke the track record for 1100m (1.01.84) in September.

After four seconds from his last five starts, Wilsons Prom (Adam Nicholls) – a five-year-old gelding – finally delivered when he kicked clear in the home straight to overcome stablemates Patria ($6) and Zourisky ($6.50) by four lengths over 1300m (BM54).

For Nicholls, who had the son of Xtravagant camped on the fence in fourth place before flicking the switch at the 400m, it was his first win since October 14 in Alice Springs – during that period he was also sidelined with injury.

Four-year-old mare Daunting Decision broke her duck in her third Darwin start when she held on to edge out Logan’s Beatification ($2.60 fav) and Ella Clarke’s Gunshot Glitter ($2.80) in another 1000m maiden.

The daughter of Charge Forward, who had five SA starts, has had her issues in Darwin, and after leading on Friday, she looked like succumbing to Gunshot Glitter over the final 400m before finding her second wind en route to a courageous win.

Gary Clarke’s I’m Too Hot broke the track record for the 1000m (56.07) on Darwin Cup Day in 2019 when he won by 6.5 lengths in the Simone Montgomerie Lightning, so for five-year-old mare Shecanmixit to clock 56.02 in a maiden is outrageous.

Ridden by Alice Springs apprentice Ianish Luximon, the daughter of Danerich pinged out of the inside gate and had Jason Manning’s She’s Tuff Enuff ($21) for company before edging clear at the 500m.

Shecanmixit, who had five seconds from 15 starts in Victoria, ACT and NSW, was devastating, with NT debutante She’s Tuff Enuff and Tayarn Halter’s Vetiver ($20) filling the minor placings.

It was Baxter’s first win since July, when He’s The Ultimate secured the $50,000 Metric Mile during the Darwin Cup Carnival.

Logan employed daring tactics when Fromthenevernever (Sonja Logan) sprinted clear when the five-horse field jumped over 1200m (0-64) with the seven-year-old gelding five lengths clear at the 700m.

The son of Bold Expectation, winless since March, led by seven lengths, passing the 400m and in the home straight, his lead seemed insurmountable.

Global Wonder ($1.65 fav), from the Clarke-Todd camp, set sail after the leader, but he couldn’t bridge the gap with Fromthenevernever – running on empty – surviving by 0.2 lengths with Peter Stennett’s New Enterprise ($5) 2.6 lengths adrift in third place.

For Tom Logan, it was his first win since Mister Monaro delivered in September.

It was another win for apprentice Emma Lines when Lucky Dog bounced back to form with a memorable win over 1000m (0-58) after pipping Baxter’s unlucky Aplomado ($6) right on the line.

Lucky Dog, a six-year-old gelding by Time For War, hadn’t won since February, and it looked like that trend would continue when all seemed forlorn at the 300m.

Jumping well from gate one, the six-year-old gelding by Time For War settled in front before Aplomado moved up on his outside, exiting the back straight.

Aplomado got to the fence down the side to lead by two lengths at the 600m, but for Lucky Dog, Dick Leech’s Pride Of Limassol and Jo Banks’ Colour De Roy it was far from smooth sailing before finding their feet.

Turning for home, Aplomado had a healthy lead with Pride Of Limassol and Colour De Roy the likely threats before Lucky Dog, who rallied over the concluding 300m, finally left the fence to get up by 0.6 lengths with Colour De Roy ($6.50) hitting the line strongly for third.

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