It may be a town of just 18 residents but on Sunday over a thousand racegoers will descend on Halidon as Cup Day hits town.
Mindarie-Halidon Cup Day usually draws a big crowd but for two of SA’s leading jockeys, Cup Day will be a huge chance to continue the good form they’ve showed so far this season.
SA UBET Apprentice Academy Jockey, Raquel Clark, is on fire this season with 13 wins and she sits in second place on the South Australian jockey premiership table, while Todd Pannell is three behind her on 10 wins and holds third spot. Clark and Pannell are no strangers to Halidon, both winning a race on the Cup Day meeting last year with honours going to Clark who claimed last year’s feature on the John Hickmott trained Danouli.
Clark will take the ride on the Grant Young trained Dance of Heroes who she rode in two Stakes races in Adelaide earlier this year. The eight-year-old has been in decent form in a higher grade in his last two starts running third and fourth in BM82’s. The horse will also drop back sharply in trip to the 1800m but he has won at the distance once in his career. The booking of the in-form Clark is a big plus for the horse and he will be a big chance on Sunday.
Todd Pannell will ride the Matthew Seyers trained Kifaah who has just returned to SA after eight runs in the Northern Territory for one win and three placings. Two starts back he ran tenth in the Darwin Cup before a much stronger showing, running second in the Katherine Cup over 1700m. He carried 61kgs that day and will appreciate the 1.5kg drop for Sunday’s feature with Pannell in the saddle.
Joining Kifaah and Dance on Heroes will be Fantastic Magic and Red Menace who have each claimed an SA Country Cup this year. Red Menace won this year’s Kangaroo Island Cup in February but has hit a run of bad form, finishing each of his last four races in tenth place or worse since that Cup victory.
Fantastic Magic will have Dom Tourneur on board, who has ridden the horse to two of his five career wins, including the victory in this year’s Strathalbyn Cup. The seven-year-old has also found it hard to win since his Cup victory in February but in his Strathalbyn Cup win he defeated Exalted Lightning who went on to win a Listed race in his next start before running sixth in the Adelaide Cup.
Scott Whittle’s Tommy Gun has been in decent form in weaker grades with two placing in his last three starts and a boost for his chance on Sunday that his rider Sairyn Fawke, has never finished worse than fourth on the horse in three rides.
The other two runners in Doctor Dapper and Spiritof Endeavour have found it very hard to win of late but both have been running in Metropolitan grade and could find this easier than some of their more recent outings. Connections of Doctor Dapper would be hoping that the trip to Halidon will be worth it as they haven’t tasted success in a long time with the horse not tasting victory in 33 months.