Phil Cole pair set for Fannie Bay feature

Phil Cole
Darwin trainer Phil Cole with Victorian apprentice Makisha Salter after they combined for a winning double at Fannie Bay last Saturday. Picture: Caroline Camilleri (FotoFinish Racepix)

Leading Top End trainer Phil Cole will start a Darwin Cup and Palmerston Sprint contender in Saturday’s feature at Fannie Bay.

Cup prospect Saccharo, an eight-year-old gelding, and Sprint hope Star Magnum, a six-year-old gelding, line up in the ROANT Day June 29 Handicap (1200m).

The race in fact resembles a ROANT Gold Cup (1300m) field, the $30,000 feature held the week before the Darwin Cup Carnival starts.

Saccharo (60kg) and Star Magnum (55kg) – both sons of Magnus – will take on Gary Clarke’s Spaceship and Siakam, Jason Manning’s Noir De Rue, Kerry Petrick’s Venting, Neil Dyer’s Ziggi Rocks and Angela Foster’s Zoumist.

“Both horses are going well and every other runner is a danger, there’s a lot of quality horses,” Cole said.

“A few of them are heading towards the Palmerston Sprint and the Darwin Cup.

“A lot of quality stayers sprint well fresh, as we know.

“They’re all in good order, it’s going to be a competitive race on Saturday.”

Saccharo, with in-form apprentice Emma Lines on board, is arguably Cole’s best horse, having tasted success from 1200-1600m in Victoria, Queensland and the NT.

He has had four starts this year in open company over 1300m for two wins and a narrow second and third; he saluted last start on March 16.

“Saccharo has never won first up, but he’s a very honest horse,” Cole said.

“He’s got great credentials when looking ahead to Saturday’s race.

“Condition wise, he’s probably the best looking horse I’ve got in the yard at the moment.

“His coat is absolutely glowing, I think he’s in for a magnificent preparation over the Darwin Cup Carnival.

“Unfortunately, he missed it last year with a splint bone injury.

“He’ll be back this year ready to go, he’s a warhorse and loves getting out there.”

Star Magnum, with three wins and seven minor placings from 12 starts for Cole, backs up after finishing second behind Rising Sphere over 1100m (BM76) last Saturday after jumping from gate six and travelling three wide throughout.

Cole argues that he would have won the race if he had drawn a better gate, and this weekend Star Magnum – with Alice Springs hoop Ianish Luximon in the saddle – jumps from gate five as he strives to win his first race since October.

“He was good last weekend, but with his rating we’ve struggled to find the right races for him this preparation,” he said.

“He went a month between runs.

“We gave him a couple of trials before his first up run, just because there wasn’t an ideal race for him.

“He’s come to hand really well this preparation.

“He’s been a great asset, he’s a very easy horse to train.”

Cole has 27 wins for the 2023/24 season and although he won’t catch Gary Clarke (50) in the trainers’ premiership, he is bound to make an impact during Carnival.

“For some reason, I’ve got less horses than I normally have for Carnival,” he said.

“I was thinking that I was probably heading into the Carnival this year with the best team I’ve ever had.”

Horse racing news

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments