Clarke’s in-form Siakam leads all the way to win Adelaide River Cup

Champion Darwin trainer Gary Clark had a big day at Fannie Bay on Saturday with four winners, including victory in the $30,000 Adelaide River Cup (1600m) with Siakam.

3/6/23 Adelaide River Cup Replay – Siakam (1st)

He dominated the 2022 Darwin Cup Carnival and with this year’s event just a month away leading Darwin trainer Gary Clarke had four winners at Fannie Bay on Saturday.

Clarke, the Top End and Country’s champion trainer for the past 10 years, landed the feature race on the seven-event program when five-year-old gelding Siakam (Jarrod Todd) won the $30,000 Adelaide River Cup (1600m).

Clarke has 39 winners in the 2022/23 premiership race and has extended his lead to 13 from Phil Cole (26) and Tayarn Halter (19).
It was also a good day for Todd, who partnered four of the five horses to win features for Clarke during last year’s Carnival, as he picked up a treble to join Sonja Wiseman (29) as the leading jockey this season.

Todd, winner of the Top End and Country jockey’s title for the past three years, led from start to finish aboard Siakam ($2.50 fav), who is in excellent form after winning the $40,000 St Patrick’s Day Cup (1600m) in March with Paul Debton as the pilot.

It also continued Siakam’s exemplary Fannie Bay record since debuting in April 2021 after arriving from the stable of Warwick Farm trainer Bjorn Baker – he now has eight wins and 11 minor placings from 24 starts.

With Darwin hosting the meeting for the second straight year after Adelaide River’s grassed-surface was deemed unsuitable due to relentless wet season rains, Siakam, the son of Akeed Mofeed, jumped to an early lead in the Cup and was never headed.

In the back straight Siakam led from Kerry Petrick’s Magnolia Rose (Denton), Cole’s Smuggling (Wayne Davis), Ella Clarke’s Ironedge (Alice Lindsay) and Petrick’s Boom Boom Sweet (Casey Hunter).

When the five-horse field headed down the side Siakam still led comfortably at the 500m as Ironedge ($3.90) started to make ground and as Magnolia Rose ($4.40) started to fade.

Siakam (60kg) kicked at the final bend and was in good shape before Ironedge pounced at the 200m, but by the 100m it was Clarke’s horse that finished the stronger to overcome his daughter’s horse by 1.22 lengths.

Ironedge, from Victoria, was making his Darwin debut after securing three minor placings during the recent Alice Springs Cup Carnival.
The 10-year-old marvel Smuggling ($7.50) held on for third from Boom Boom Sweet ($6.50), while Magnolia Rose, a first up winner in the Top End over 1600m (0-70) a fortnight ago after impressing during the Alice Carnival, came fifth.

3/6/23 Darwin Race 1 Replay – Tubthumper (1st)

In a dramatic start to the day, Wiseman had issues with her irons and almost fell from the Tom Logan-trained Battle Class when the field jumped.
Prior to the race Battle Class, who would eventually finish fifth with Wiseman sitting upright in the saddle passing the winning post, and Cole’s Tubthumper (Davis) had issues in the gates before being passed fit to start.

It wasn’t meant to be for Battle Class as he reared in the barriers with his legs appearing over the front of his gate, while Tubthumper was in the barrier next to Battle Class when he reared.

Basically a passenger for the duration of the race, Battle Class sat outside the Petrick’s early leader Old Mate Smithy (Denton) with Cole’s Tubthumper (Davis) not far behind in third place.

The trio skipped away, but once turning for home Tubthumper ($9) – making her NT debut after arriving from Queensland – made her winning on the outside of Old Mate Smithy ($1.75 fav) with 150m to go to seal victory by 2.25 lengths from Heather Lehmann’s fast-finishing $9 hope Quick Return (Todd).

Mark Nyhan’s $8.50 chance Slinky’s Star (Jade Hampson) finished strongly on the fence for third.

Under trainer Annabel Neasham, Tubthumper had four starts against maiden class in south-east Queensland late last year with Zoustar’s three-year-old filly achieving two seconds and a third.

3/6/23 Darwin Race 2 Replay – Great Diviner (1st)

Victorian jockey Mark Pegus has returned to the NT for the winter and celebrated his fourth win at Fannie Bay with Clarke’s five-year-old gelding Great Diviner ($2.80) producing a late burst over the concluding 200m.

After two seconds from two starts at the top level in the Top End, Great Diviner settled in third place in the five-horse field behind stablemate Mr Cashman (Todd), who led, and Chole Baxter’s in-form Swing With Junior (Hampson).

In the home straight and with 350m to go, Swing With Junior ($2.25 fav) accelerated in her quest to make it three straight wins and seemed to pinch a winning break before Great Diviner started working through the gears.

It appeared as though Swing With Junior would prevail at the 100m, but Great Diviner swooped to seal victory by 0.39 lengths with Mr Cashman ($7.50) coming third from stablemates Loveplanet (Adam Nicholls) and Raazou (Alice Lindsay).

After four wins from 17 starts in SA and Victoria for Adelaide-based trainers Will Clarken and Niki O’Shea, Great Diviner – the son of Shamus Award – had four starts before and during the Alice Springs Carnival with his best effort a third over 1100m (0-70) behind Madam Mischief.

3/6/23 Darwin Race 3 Replay – Captain George (1st)

A recent arrival from the stable of Anthony Cummings in NSW, Clarke’s Captain George (Todd) – heavily backed before starting as a $2.35 bookmaker favourite – proved too good winning in impressive style.
Settling three wide with fellow leaders Rover (Davis) from the Cole stable and Boogie Nights (Paul Shiers) from the Lehmann yard, Captain George and Rover were in charge approaching the final bend.

Captain George had momentum as John Peacock’s Super Famous (Adam Nicholls), who was camped on the rails after jumping from gate one and moved up to third once leaving the back straight, made an impact turning for home.

With 200m to go Captain George was able to shake off Rover ($18), but Super Famous ($2.90), a star in the Top End last year as a three-year-old, was gaining ground and posed the biggest threat.

In the end, Super Famous couldn’t make up the difference with Captain George stretching out over the final 100m to salute by 0.88 lengths with Rover some two lengths adrift in third place.

Before arriving in the NT, Captain George, a four-year-old gelding by Vancouver, had finished third over 1600m (Class 1) at Gosford and fourth over 1600m (BM72) at Warwick Farm during March.

3/6/23 Darwin Race 4 Replay – Rising Sphere (1st)

He started poorly, but it didn’t take Clarke’s five-year-old gelding Rising Sphere (Todd) to find its feet before hitting the front and positing an emphatic three length win over his four rivals.

Returning from a long spell, Rising Sphere ($3.60) led by two lengths leaving the back straight with Cole’s Star Magnum (Emma Lines) on the rails, Tayarn Halter’s Canton Kid (Shiers) in the middle and Cole’s Soul Spirit (Davis) on the outside battling it out for second.

Rising Sphere (61kg), the son of Exosphere, extended his lead turning for home and led by four lengths at the 200m before sealing victory from Soul Spirit ($5.50), who rocketed home after slipping to fourth at the top of the straight.

Star Magnum ($4), making his NT debut after racing in northern NSW and south-east Queensland for Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn, had the benefit of a 3kg claim and pipped Canton Kid ($3.50 fav) for third.

Rising Sphere, who won a 900m trial on May 9, had two wins from three starts over 1100m (0-66) for Clarke during the 2022 Darwin Carnival before heading to the paddock after posting two thirds over 1200m (BM76) in September and 1000m (BM76) in October.

3/6/23 Darwin Race 5 Replay – Pop Magic (1st)

Alice Lindsay made it two wins since returning to Darwin from SA recently when she guided the Ella Clarke-trained Pop Magic ($5.50) to back to back wins.

Lindsay and Pop Magic, a four-year-old gelding by Wandjina, was a last start winner over 1100m (BM54) on May 20 and led early on Saturday after pinging from the gates before relinquishing the lead to Gary Clarke’s Hard To Excel (Davis) once exiting the back straight.

With 600m to go, Hard To Excel ($31) still led Pop Magic from Gary Clarke’s Patriotic King (Todd), who missed the start on its Fannie Bay debut, and David Bates’ Fraction Late (Shiers), who looked untroubled in fourth place.

Swinging for home, Hard To Excel continued to hold sway at the 300m as Pop Magic started to wind up along the rails and Fraction Late ($1.90 fav) picked up speed down the middle of the track.

It was a three-way go at the 100m mark after Patriotic King got a stitch, but it was the stylish Pop Magic who shot away to win by a length from Fraction Late with Hard To Excel, who chewed up plenty of petrol in the early stages, hanging on for third.

3/6/23 Darwin Race 6 Replay – I’m A Dreamer (1st)

Apprentice Hampson, with the benefit of a 2kg claim, jumped from the inside gate aboard the Halter-trained four-year-old gelding I’m A Dreamer ($6.50) and never left the rails before producing a super winning ride.

It was I’m A Dreamer’s first 1600m win in six attempts after finishing second on two previous occasions, but in the end the son of Divine Prophet was too good overcoming Petrick’s stablemates Venting (Denton) and Mangione (Hunter).

Fourth last weekend over 1600m (0-58), I’m A Dreamer led early before settling narrowly in third place when Cole’s Bartolini (Lines) and Ella Clarke’s Cisalpine (Todd) took over in the back at the 1200m.

I’m A Dreamer made a move down the side and at the 700m shared the lead with Bartolini and Venting ($1.80 fav), who had made ground and was sitting three wide after initially settling at the rear in the five-horse field.

At the point of the turn, I’m A Dreamer (54kg) was in front as Venting (59.5kg), the 2022 NT Derby winner, loomed and although little separated the pair at the 200m it was the former who edged clear at the 100m to topple the latter by two lengths.

Mangione ($6.50), who hit form at the end of the Alice Springs Carnival, found space in the home straight from fifth place, but finished a distant third.

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