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