|What||Katherine Cup Day 2022|
|Where||Jim Jackson Race Course – 11 Murray St, Katherine South NT 0850|
|When||Saturday, August 13, 2022|
|First Race||1:47pm ACST|
We have seven races to sink our teeth into on Katherine Cup Day this weekend. HorseBetting’s NT racing expert has gone through every event on the card and picked out his best bets for the day.
Race 1 (1.47pm) – $17,500 Aus Projects NT Terry “Ducks” Ross Memorial 0-54 Handicap (1300m)
Boy Big could only manage a third and two fourths in seven starts in country Victoria before debuting in the Top End in early June. The five-year-old gelding finished third on three straight occasions in three maidens over 1200m and 1300m at Fannie Bay before finally posting his first win in a 1300m maiden on July 27. Made the step up to 0-58 level five days later over 1600m and could only manage a ninth. Boy Big deserves another chance in what will likely be his final NT start before heading home to Bendigo. Most of his rivals are battling to find consistent form, but that’s not to say that Mr Boomjangles, Against The Tide, Afternoon Tea and Malibu Edition can’t win. Princess Dejour and Kean As A Bean aren’t out of it.
Race 1 – #1 Boy Big (8)
5yo Gelding | T: Kym Hann | J: Stan Tsaikos (59kg)
$4.60 with Bet365
Race 2 (2.27pm) – $19,500 Great Northern 0-70 Handicap (1100m)
Manly Cove is one of only four horses champion Top End trainer Gary Clarke will to take to Katherine, so you get the impression the seven-year-old gelding was ear-marked for this race. Manly Cove debuted in Darwin in November 2020 and won over 1000m (0-58) before saluting over 1000m (0-64) in December 2020 and 1100m (0-64) in January 2021. He hasn’t won a race since, but he seems to be getting close having been placed in three of his past four starts. There are only four other starters in the race, but it should prove a highly competitive affair. Kent Street and Smartkap both won at their second-last start and it’s hard to knock their form. Tsugaru’s impressive Victorian form has yet to materialise in the NT and Canton Kid is above average.
Race 2 – #3 Manly Cove (3)
7yo Gelding | T: Gary Clarke | J: Jarrod Todd (56.5kg)
$3.50 with Neds
Race 3 (3.07pm) – $17,500 Fred NT Civil Infrastructure 0-58 Handicap (1100m)
Wild Rover is a narrow pick in what seems to be yet another even contest. From August 2 (Darwin Cup Day) last year until February 5, the five-year-old gelding – who brought respectable Victorian form to the NT – managed a win and a third from five starts. Returning from a spell in June, Wild Rover managed a fourth over 1100m (0-58) before a second (0-58) and a fourth (Class 2) over 1100m in July. Champs D’Or, a last-start third over 1100m (Class 2) who also finished third over 1200m (0-62) against the fillies and mares on July 2, and Great Boulder, debuting in the NT after a last-start win in a 1400m maiden on the Ballarat synthetic surface on June 20, pose a serious threat. Dismiss Rojo Boom and Faith And Love at your peril.
Race 3 – #2 Wild Rover (7)
5yo Gelding | T: Tayarn Halter | J: Paul Shiers (58.5kg)
$2.90 with Bet365
Race 4 (3.47pm) – $17,500 St Andrew’s Apartments/Dragonfly Catering 0-58 Handicap (1100m)
Hard Ransom arrived from SA and could not have been more impressive when he left his rivals in his wake over 1200m (0-58) on June 25. The five-year-old gelding carried a bit more weight three weeks later, but wasn’t all that far away when he finished fifth behind Chief Mondo over 1100m (0-58). Far from disgraced when a narrow second behind Dream Weaver over 1300m (0-58) on July 30, Hard Ransom is the one to beat and a decent gate should help. Familja hasn’t raced since April, but was in decent nick before two last-start flops and he has a good first-up record. It was hard to fault Little Kibo’s form in NSW before a last-start seventh. Certainly consider Light And Dark and Cassatt in your first four.
Race 4 – #2 Hard Ransom (2)
5yo Gelding | T: Nicole Irwin | J: Adam Nicholls (58.5kg)
$1.60 with Unibet
Race 5 (4.27pm) – $17,500 NT Keno/Mindil Beach Casino TROBIS Maiden Handicap (1000m)
Air Command managed a third in a 1000m at Kembla Grange and a third in a 1300m maiden at Newcastle last year before exiting NSW after nine career starts. The four-year-old gelding also managed a fourth in a 1000m maiden at Hawkesbury and a fourth in 1500m maiden at Goulburn. In two Darwin starts in July, Air Command finished fourth in an 1100m maiden and second in a 1200m maiden. Perhaps that first win is imminent. Former Queensland mare Laylah’s Wish has received good support, but she hasn’t raced since February. Ready Or Bust and Mystery Flyer finished fourth in their respective maiden when they debuted recently in Darwin. Henestrosa hasn’t fired a shot after arriving from Victoria with handy form.
Race 5 – #1 Air Command (6)
4yo Gelding | T: Chris Nash | J: Adam Nicholls (59kg)
$2.50 with Bet365
Race 6 (5.05pm) – $18,500 Aus Projects NT/Hankel Moffatt Memorial 0-64 Handicap (1700m)
Jet Jackson is a class act, but his Darwin form since early June has been erratic. A sixth in the Adelaide River Cup (1600m) was followed by a seventh over 1600m (0-70). The seven-year-old gelding then finished second behind Dataset twice over 1600m (0-66 and 0-70) before a last-start sixth at open level over 2050m on Darwin Cup Day (August 1). From December-May, Jet Jackson’s form in the Top End and Alice Springs was impeccable, and if he’s at his best this weekend, he should win. Mangione hasn’t done much wrong in five Darwin starts and is perhaps the biggest threat. Nokondi has had two starts over 1300m (0-62) in Darwin for a win and a last. Bull Market might just spring a surprise and Handball is the clear outsider.
Race 6 – #1 Jet Jackson (4)
7yo Gelding | T: Mark Nyhan | J: Sonja Wiseman (60kg)
$2.45 with Ladbrokes
Race 7 (5.35pm) – $25,000 Katherine Cup (1700m)
Vallabar has been a model of consistency throughout his career in Tasmania, and a look at his record indicates that he rarely runs a bad race. Along with Darwin Cup winner Playoffs, who arrived from Victoria, Vallabar wound up in the Top End and his main target was also the NT’s biggest race. The seven-year-old gelding got his first taste of Fannie Bay on July 16 when he finished fourth in the Buntine Cup (2050m) before showing his true credentials by finishing third behind stablemate Playoffs in the Darwin Cup (2050m). Starouz has been racing well, but could only manage a 10th in the Darwin Cup. Saccharo shook off poor form to win at his last appearance over 1600m at an open level on Darwin Cup Day with Boom Boom Sweet, who has had his good and bad days since arriving in the NT, finishing third in the same race. It would be a surprise, but Cowley’s Creek is spotting Vallabar 6kg and jumps from the inside gate.
Race 7 – #1 Vallabar (5)
7yo Gelding | T: Gary Clarke | J: Jarrod Todd (61kg)
$3.10 with Bet365
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