Leading Northern Territory trainer Gary Clarke is aiming to be the first trainer in fourteen years to win the Palmerston Sprint/Darwin Cup double in the one year when he saddles up the warm favorite Zahspeed later today in the $200,000 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup.
Completing the first leg on Saturday when the favorite Captain Punch obliterated his opposition to take out the Palmerston Sprint in style by nearly 7.5 lengths in the finish, the Northern Territory's leading trainer has the current popular elect for the Cup coming into the feature off a 5 length romp in the Chief Minister's Handicap on July 14 over 1600m.
The double was last achieved 2004 when Stephen Brown won the Palmerston Sprint with Lord Harry and the Darwin Cup with Mr Tambourineman. Andrew O'Toole, CEO for Thorougbred Racing Northern Territory, believes Clarke is in pole position to take out the rare feat.
"Zahspeed is the class galloper of the field and proved his dirt credentials with an easy victory in the Chief Minister's." O'Toole said.
"He's clearly the one to beat for mine."
With a full of twelve taking their their place, O'Toole believes the main threats look to be the Richard Laming trained Folk Tales, NT Derby winner Turf Man and the Hickmott/Kah combination with Lieder.
"It's tough to complete the Derby/Cup double but times suggest Turf Man should be in the mix to run in the first 3 or 4, Folk Tales can mix his form and ...