Darby Racing notches 100 winners this season and hopes there is more success at Rosehill on Saturday

Leading syndicator Darby Racing has had more than 100 reasons to celebrate this season and can add to the list of winners at Rosehill.

Canasta, Harpo Marx and The Empire give syndicators Darby Racing an opportunity to continue their stellar season at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.


The Darby Racing colours of white, navy blue logo, armbands and cap have been carried to 102 wins during 2020-21, earning nearly $4.8m prizemoney for their syndicates of owners.


“We have had our best season so far in terms of winners,’’ said Scott Darby, the director of Darby Racing which has about 2000 clients in their syndicates.


“It is such a difficult and competitive game and you are always looking at the main syndicators and who is doing well.


“I feel one of the most pleasing things for us is since we had Yankee Rose (Group 1 winner of the ATC Sires Produce Stakes and Spring Champion Stakes in 2015) and She Will Reign (Group 1 winner of the Golden Slipper and Moir Stakes in 2017) we have managed to have continued success.


“You can have a good season one year but then the next season struggle to find a decent horse and consistent winners but we have kept strengthening and growing our business.’’


Even off the racetrack, Darby Racing has had success with the sale of top mare Greysful Glamour, winner of the Villiers Stakes and ATC Cup this season, at the Magic Millions Broodmare Sale last month, netting her syndicate of owners $1.5m.


“We had her valued around $700,000-$800,000 and she sold for $1.5m which was a phenomenal amount,’’ Darby said.


“In time, it would be great to try and buy some of her progeny but it will be tough as her yearlings won’t come cheaply.’’


Spirit Ridge, Harmony Rose, Every Rose and Greysful Glamour have led the big-race charge for Darby Racing this season but the likes of Canasta, The Empire and Harpo Marx and playing their part in the success of the syndication business.


Canasta has recorded three minor placings from as many starts this preparation and is the $3.60 favourite to score a deserved win in the Lynette Lamphee Memorial Handicap (1500m).

Trainer Bjorn Baker is backing up with Canasta after his tough effort last Saturday when a close third behind Mirra Vision over 1400m.


He drops 4.5kg to 56kg for Saturday’s race.


“I said to Bjorn after last Saturday that I think the horse needs to get up to around 1800m now,’’ Darby said.


“He is only getting beaten by the pressure over these shorter trips. When he gets out over slightly further, he can get some easier sectionals.


“We are backing him up this week at 1500m to get him ready for an 1800m race in two weeks.’’


Baker also saddles up Harpo Marx ($14) in a competitive Elite Sand And Soil Handicap (1800m).


Harpo Marx, a superbly-bred son for Irish super sire Galileo out of Australian Group 1 winner Nechita, was an astute Darby Racing purchase by renowned European bloodstock agent Hubie De Burgh, for about $100,000 as a tried European racehorse.


He is showing staying promise with three wins up to 2400m last preparation and resumed with a good fifth behind Oscar Zulu over the Rosehill 1500m course last month.


De Burgh also found Spirit Ridge for Darby Racing, purchasing the stayer for $160,000 with that gelding winning the Summer Cup, January Cup and Premier’s Cup this season, but Darby feels Harpo Marx has similar big-race potential.


“I think we will see Harpo Marx in similar races to Spirit Ridge in time,’’ Darby said.


“Spirit Ridge turned up here ready to go and he has kept stepping up for us this season, he has been a super acquisition and we are thinking he can run well in a race like The Metropolitan in the spring.


“Harpo Marx has taken a little longer although he continues to improve and I’ve always felt long term he could potentially be a better horse.’’

Trainer Gary Portelli’s The Empire, a three-year-old son of Not A Single Doubt, has won four of his eight races including successive starts this winter at Newcastle and Warwick Farm.


The Empire’s impressive form is deserving of his chance in Sydney Saturday grade in the Cleanaway Handicap (1300m).

“He is flying,’’ Darby said.


“He is a well-bred horse and has come back in great form.


“Early in his career he wasn’t putting it all together but since he has been gelded he has turned the corner.


“I’ve really liked the way he has been attacking the line in his races and this is the right time of the year to be going through the grades.’’


Darby Racing’s successful season had everything but a Group 1 win – but Darby feels he has the equine strike power to win a major or two next season.


Talented Harmony Rose came closest to winning at Group 1 level this season with her third placing behind Lion’s Roar and Mo’unga in the Randwick Guineas then a narrow loss to Hungry Heart in the Vinery Stud Stakes.


Darby feels the rising four-year-old mare is going to be a big-race contender again in spring.


“Harmony Rose’s second in the Vinery Stakes was probably the one that got away,’’ Darby said.


“She will only continue to improve next season but I think Mark (Newnham) is going to keep her more to the mile range and is setting her for the Golden Eagle.


“Every Rose is back in work and will target some of the mares sprint races over the spring carnival and a horse like Malkovich has been slow-maturing but he is racing well and being aimed at the John Monash Stakes.’’


Darby also has a good opinion of the Baker-trained Overpass who won three of his six juvenile starts this season but is spelling after his flop in the Group 1 JJ Atkins Stakes.


“I think being his very first racing preparation he just came to the end of it,’’ Darby said.


“He’s having a spell now and we haven’t mapped out a plan for him yet.


“We just want to see where he is at when he returns because he came onto the scene so quickly late in the two-year-old season.’’


■ Hoofnote: Darby Racing’s Rupertaar, a daughter of Winning Rupert and a half-sister to the outstanding Isotope, was very impressive on debut, running her rivals ragged at Hawkesbury on Thursday.

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