Cap­tain leads Clarke’s tre­ble

Sunday Territorian - - SPORT - JOSH SPASARO

FIVE-TIME reign­ing Top End horse train­ers’ premier Gary Clarke is al­ready think­ing about go­ing one bet­ter in the Palmer­ston Sprint next year.

That was af­ter Cap­tain Punch’s dom­i­nant al­most twolength vic­tory in the $22,000 Lad­brokes 0-80 Hand­i­cap (1100m) at Fan­nie Bay yes­ter­day.

The six-year-old made a tri­umphant re­turn af­ter a five­week break fol­low­ing the Dar­win Cup Car­ni­val, where he won the $30,250 Roger Booth Me­mo­rial (1100m) on July 8.

That was be­fore a fight­ing se­cond car­ry­ing 57kg – one length be­hind Garry Le­foe’s Nic­coco (54kg) – in the $135,000 Bet365 Palmer­ston Sprint (1200m) on Au­gust 5.

“He’s in that cat­e­gory where he’s go­ing to get a lot of weight, and he’s prob­a­bly still good enough to have a go at the Sprint next year,” Clarke said. “If we run him too much in be­tween, come Sprint time next year he’ll be in the same po­si­tion as Ticket To Toorak (who fin­ished fourth in last month’s Palmer­ston Sprint car­ry­ing 60.5kg).

“And then he will have to carry 60-odd ki­los in the Sprint.”

Clarke smiled when asked if he was al­ready think­ing about his plans with Cap­tain Punch in next year’s lu­cra­tive Palmer­ston Sprint over 1200m.

“We don’t over-race him – he only has half a dozen runs through­out the year,” he said.

Cap­tain Punch showed his class to lead early and win eas­ily yes­ter­day, de­spite lug­ging 61kg.

“He had to do a bit of work early with a big weight,” Clarke said. “He’s done noth­ing wrong this prep. He’s a re­ally good horse.”

Clarke was also im­pressed with four-year-old Mag­nif­i­cent Gal­axy’s win in the Sprout TROBIS Maiden Plate (1200m) yes­ter­day.

“I was happy with that. He showed us what he can do in track­work,” Clarke said.

“But he’s a young colt and he can do a lot of things wrong.

“He can get re­ally fizzed up and I was wor­ried about him beat­ing him­self more than any­thing.”

It ended up be­ing a good day for Clarke with Ki­faah (Richie Oak­ford) mak­ing it a win­ning tre­ble by tak­ing out the Gar­dens Park Golf Links 0-70 Hand­i­cap (1300m).

Trainer Phil Cole also had a dou­ble yes­ter­day, with Strate­gic Je­uny (Phillip Crich) win­ning the Gar­rard’s Horse and Hound 0-58 Hand­i­cap (1600m) and Dust ’ N’ Di­a­monds (Phillip Crich) get­ting the cash in the Im­pact Hair Stu­dios 0-54 Hand­i­cap (1100m).

Pic­ture: MICHAEL FRANCHI

Gary Clarke’s Cap­tain Punch (Bren­don Davis) salut­ing at Fan­nie Bay yes­ter­day

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