Halter, Gardner and Clarke to debut sprinters in Darwin

Tayarn Halter
Darwin trainer Tayarn Halter (left), who has two runners in the feature race for the sprinters at Fannie Bay on Saturday, with Top End jockey Paul Shiers and trainer Chloe Baxter. Picture: Caroline Camilleri (FotoFinish Racepix)

There’s five starters in the feature sprint event at Darwin on Saturday, with three making their first Fannie Bay appearance.

Tayarn Halter’s Schiller Bay raced in NSW and Queensland, Paul Gardner’s Red Wraith is up from Alice Springs, and Gary Clarke’s Flying Annie arrived via NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Alice Springs.

Clarke’s Doc O’Connor (Jarrod Todd), who boasts five wins from eight Darwin starts, and Halter’s City Regal (Jade Hampson), with one win and four minor placings from six Darwin starts, complete the open 1000m handicap field.

With the Darwin Cup Carnival imminent, the speedsters are fine-tuning their engines as they eye the $135,000 Palmerston Sprint (1200m) on August 3.

Schiller Bay, Artie Schiller’s six-year-old gelding, Red Wraith, Charm Spirit’s four-year-old gelding, and Flying Annie, Flying Artie’s five-year-old mare, fall into that category.

After five wins from 19 starts for Port Macquarie trainer Jenny Graham, Schiller Bay had one start for Brisbane trainer Barry Lockwood when seventh over 1200m (BM78) at Doomben last July.

“He was bought by Greg Stewart and trainer Garry Lefoe – he was in work and injured his hoof in a trial, that’s why he has been off the scene for a while,” Halter said.

“He’s versatile, can sit just behind the speed or he can get back and close.

“Those sired by American stallion Artie Schiller can handle the dirt.

“Doc O’Connor and Red Wraith, they’ll go very fast, so whatever Schiller Bay does he will only improve.

“He’s a very nice horse, trialled impressively leading into this, so you can’t rule him out.”

With Lefoe serving a suspension, Halter has cared for the horse and Emma Lines’ 1.5kg claim certainly helps.

Gardner, who secured Red Wraith from Murray Bridge trainer Matthew Sayers a year ago, just hopes his horse handles the track.

“If he puts his best foot forward, then I think he’s a very good chance,” Gardner said.

“It’s a good race for him to start off with, but if he doesn’t match the better ones going forward there’s always races back in his grade.

“He hasn’t raced since winning over 1000m on June 1 – I’ve just been poking along with him and spaced out his runs to keep him on the fresh side.

“Hopefully, it pays dividends, but there are some nice horses in Saturday’s race – they’ve got form in Darwin.”

Gardner, a narrow leader in the Alice Springs and Provincial trainers’ premiership, has celebrated six wins from 14 starts with Red Wraith, who was sixth in Alice Springs’ Pioneer Sprint (1200m) in April.

Better Not Fuss, this year’s NT Guineas (1600m) winner in the Red Centre, and Hey Bull accompanied Red Wraith to Darwin, while Gardner hopes to start Lamoree, Befana, Tajaldin and new purchase Zesty Spice during Cup Carnival.

Flying Annie, once trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace before winding up with Brisbane trainer Jack Bruce, has had four wins and 10 minor placings from 18 starts.

In her one and only NT start, the mare won the Queen Of The Desert (1200m) at 0-76 level during the Alice Springs Cup Carnival.

Sonja Logan is booked to ride Red Wraith, while Aaron Sweeney will partner Flying Annie.

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