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Saturday 26th January 2019

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Posted by TRNT

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OLD marvel Neat Feat, having his first start since the Palmerston Sprint in August and burdened with 64kg, defied the handicapper and his rivals with a thrilling win in the Helping People Achieve Handicap, the feature event at Fannie Bay’s Australia Day meeting yesterday.

The 8yo son of Danerich, trained by Gary Clarke and ridden by Kim Gladwin, sat midfield in the run before unleashing a powerful home stretch burst to run down the pacemaking hot favourite Dark Whirlwind, carrying a massive 9kg less, to win by a short neck. El Toranado took third three and a-half lengths away, with Grand Teton and Brooklyn next.

One of the best sprinters in the Top End for the last three and a half seasons, Neat Feat showed he has lost none of his ability, even though he will be nine come 1 August.

A speechless Gary Clarke couldn’t believe it.

“I thought with the weight and first-up, he couldn’t win. He won this race last year and it started a run of six wins in seven starts – he’s just a great warrior and loves this place,” said a beaming Clarke.

Owned by Peter and Lee-anne Montgomerie, Kath Du Vallon and Josh McShanag, Neat Feat took his record to 19 wins from 66 starts, and with 16 placings as well, his stake earnings now stand at just short of $367,000.

Clarke has nothing planned for Neat Feat.

“We’ll just pick a race out for him in the next few weeks – he’s going to carry plenty of weight again but as he showed today, it doesn’t worry him.”

Popular jockey Matthew Hart had an Australia Day to remember, piloting a double courtesy of Delta D’Or and Meazza.

Former Alice Springs apprentice Hart, who along with his wife Bec and family have recently made Darwin home after spending several years in Queensland, gave Delta D’Or a lovely ride in the Designer Kitchens Handicap.

Hart had his mount outside the pacemaking favourite Let’s Celebrate and assumed control at the 250m mark. He kept going strongly to win by over two lengths from Mavericks, with Desxiri third.

Delta D’Or, owned and trained by Pat Johnston, was the 3yo of the year in Darwin and won the Alice Springs Guineas in his 3yo year, but a tendon issue sidelined him for his entire 4yo year.

“He had 12 months with Heather and Graham Lehmann in South Australia recuperating, and then my sister Amy gave him a preparation in Victoria,” said a beaming Johnston. “He went some good races down there, and it’s just great to have him back in winning form.”

Delta D’Or will probably back up in a week’s time in the 0-70 1300m according to his trainer.

Meazza was the first leg of Hart’s double, the son of Pierro finishing resolutely from midfield to score in the Seppelts Handicap.

Meazza had been a little disappointing since a winning brace in September and October, but bounced back to his best yesterday, scoring by almost two lengths from a game Joker Poker, with Flinders Beach third. The win was also the first of a double for trainer Clarke.

Tiger Trap, having his second Darwin outing for trainer Dick Leech, was an impressive winner of a rough-house Darwin Corporate Park Plate.

The odds-on shot Paghman was very tardily away and raced at the rear of the field for the first half of the race. Then pacemaker Liberty’s Torch ran off approaching the home turn, taking Awesome Mo with him, which left Tiger Trap (Vanessa Arnott) to waltz home at the head of affairs by three lengths.

The son of Jungle Ruler has now had eight starts for a win and two third placings, and he looks the type to go on with the job. He proved too strong for outsider Franula, with another longshot Compere taking third a head farther away.

Madame Duporth, purchased for $16,500 out of the Magic Millions Darwin Turf Club Tried Horse Sale in early August, finally broke through for a deserved win in the Happy Australia Day from Darwin Racing Handicap.

Paul Denton had the Kerry Petrick-trained mare rolling along at the head of the field from her inside barrier draw and she kept going bravely to win by over two lengths from Hattan Man, who did a good job after being slowly into stride, with Panda’s Choice a good third.

A highly-strung individual, Petrick believed that using the new tie-up stalls at Fannie Bay for the first time yesterday, as well as a slightly cooler day, was a godsend for Madame Duporth, who had really “run her race” before entering the starting stalls in recent outings.

“The new stalls are so much like their stable at home and she was a lot more settled today,” explained Petrick.

Mazzaro continued the great run being experienced by his trainer, Tayarn Halter, with a narrow victory over Taciturn in the Sprout Handicap (1600m).

Aided by a never-say-die ride from Raymond Vigar, Mazzaro persevered for an inside run throughout and even when it looked as though Taciturn would hold on, Mazzaro collared him in the shadows of the post to win by a head, with four lengths back to Redwood Gardens in third.

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