Arguably the day of all days in Australian horse racing is the Great Northern Darwin Cup Day, which this year comes with a massive 12-race card that also includes the Palmerston Sprint. Twelve runners will face the starter in the 2050m feature, chasing the $100,000 prize purse. NT Derby winner Budget King tops the market just ahead of Metric Mile champion Savatoxl and last year’s Darwin Cup winner, Ihtsahymn. Savatoxl looks to be the speed influence in the race, with Turnberry and Budget King likely to settle handily. It looks a real race in three chances, which is reflected in the market.
Monday racing tips for 2020 Darwin Cup
Ihtsahymn @ $4.40 Sportsbet
Ihtsahymn is coming off a good second last start in the Metric Mile behind Savatoxl and should be peaking second up. This has been the clear target for the big grey since he was victorious in the Northern Territory’s feature race this time last year. He had to lug 62kg over a mile first up and got within 1.5 lengths of the very handy winner, but now he meets Savatoxl 1kg better off at the weights. That will make a world of difference over the mile and a quarter, where the 10-year-old gelding is a three-time winner. He’s never been out of the top two in three starts at Fanny Bay and will be hoping to make it back-to-back wins for Rob Gulberti and Peter Hall.
Budget King @ $4 Sportsbet
Budget King has won his last two starts by a combined 16 lengths, which includes a dominant win in the NT Derby two weeks ago. He drops 4kg off his last start at this track and steps up to the 2000m for just the second time in his career (1:1-0-0). Senior rider Paul Shiers has retained the ride and is striking at a 50% place record in the past 12 months, which will be a confidence booster for favourite backers. He should settle just off the pace and chime in at the top of the straight in a bid to make it a Derby/Cup double.
Savatoxl @ $3.90 Sportsbet
Savatoxl’s record is an owner’s dream with 18 starts for 12 wins and two minor placings. The 2000m has eluded him, however, with both placings coming at the trip without winning. Having won his last three starts by convincing margins, the five-year-old son of Kuroshio should be rock-hard fit and ready to go. From barrier 10, Kim Gladwin will take the gelding forward and look to lead them a merry dance in a bid to make it four wins from six starts at the track and take Savatoxl’s prizemoney over $300,000. He’s the one they have to catch, but the 2000m is a slight concern.
Ihtsahymn – $75 win
Boxed trifecta 1-2-10 – $25