HE’S already done it three times, so can Murray Bridge trainer Michael Hickmott do it again?
That is win the $200,000 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (2000m) at Fannie Bay on August 7 for an unprecedented fourth occasion.
A regular visitor to the Top End at this time of year, Hickmott looks like he has yet another handy horse at his disposal.
Hickmott, 28, who was previously based in Darwin, tasted success in the $25,000 Ubet ROANT Gold Cup (1300m) at Fannie Bay on Saturday.
It was the feature event on the seven event program – commonly referred to as Day Zero as it’s the final meeting before the start of the Darwin Turf Club’s Cup Carnival.
An eight race meeting extravaganza starts on July 8 and ending with Cup Day on August 7.
It kicks off with the Hot 100 Darwin Guineas (1600m) for three-year-olds – the first leg of the Triple Crown.
Unbreakable, a four-year-old gelding from Hickmott’s stable in Murray Bridge, sealed victory in the Ubet ROANT Gold Cup when he swamped his rivals with a blistering finish.
Settling behind the leaders, Unbreakable – who was making his debut in the Northern Territory – started to work his way into the race at the 400m and once turning home set sail for the front runners.
With 200m to go, Unbreakable looked a clear winner before sealing victory by just over a length from the courageous Abu Dhabi (Wayne Davis) and the fast-finishing Royal Request (Jarrod Todd).
Hickmott was full of praise for Unbreakable, but his thoughts were for veteran Victorian jockey Roger Booth.
Booth collapsed in the mounting yard after the second race on the program, but later died in hospital.
He had partnered the Neil Dyer trained six-year-old gelding Senor Juez.
“I’m happy with the result today, it’s all good, but all my thoughts are with Roger Booth and his family,” Hickmott said.
Hickmott also confirmed that Unbreakable was brought to the Top End with the Darwin Cup in mind.
And was hopeful of getting a start come the first Monday in August.
It was a fabulous Cup trial by Unbreakable, a view winning jockey Brendon Davis shared.
“He took off at the 400m and basically took me into the race – it was a very good win,” Davis said.
Unbreakable headed north with pretty decent form under his belt.
He won the Mitavite Challenge Heat 8 (1400m) at Sandown Hillside (0-78) on March 15 before a second in the Thomas North Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield (0-78) on April 22.
It’s early days, but it would be wise to keep Unbreakable, who may not race again before the Darwin Cup, in your little black book.
Fellow South Australian raider Abu Dhabi from the Gary Kennewell stable in Adelaide and Victorian visitor Royal Request from the Neil Dyer stable in Kyneton also produced excellent Cup trials in the Ubet ROANT Gold Cup.
Abu Dhabi, who was among the leaders for a major portion of the race of the race, was second to the ill-fated Finke in the Darwin Guineas (1600m) and NT Derby (2000m) a year ago.
Royal Request, a former NT Derby winner and Darwin Cup runner up, flashed home in the shadows of the post.
Dyer’s Action Again (Richie Oakford) and Kerry Petrick’s Statue Of Warriors (Felicia Bergstrand) helped set the early pace before finishing fourth and fith, respectively.
Last year’s Darwin Cup runner up Whistle Stop (Paul Shiers) from the Dick Leech stable in Darwin and Pretty Blonde (Jason Lyon), the 2014 Darwin Cup and 2014 and 2017 Alice Springs Cup winner, from the Kym Healy stable in Strathalbyn in South Australia, finished seventh and eighth, respectively.