Canny Ballad Surprises to Win 2016 Darwin Cup at Fannie Bay

Outsider Canny Ballad provided quite a surprise when he took the 2016 editions of the 2000 m Darwin Cup. Racing on the dirt track of Fannie Bay, he went off at $31 and beat second place finisher Whistle Stop and pre-race favourite Finke by over three lengths.

The seven-year-old gelding cannot be accused of not working. He has made 38 starts, winning six and placing 11 times to earn just under $500,000.

Canny Ballad had not won anything significant since March of 2014 when he took a Listed race in New South Wales, the 2000 m Albury Gold Cup with Kathy O’Hara aboard.

Viewing his pedigree, you might initially be tempted to ask, “Who is Canny Ballad?” Three generations back on his dam Briars Lass’s side, though, one finds Australian Champion Sire Bletchingly, best known for giving racing Kingston Town. Going back one more, Biscay, brilliant as a two-year-old, appears. On his sire Dream Ballad’s side, Canada’s English Triple Crown winner from 1970, Nijinsky makes a showing, as does Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Northern Dancer.

Jockey Raymond Vicar scored the biggest win of his career. Canny Ballad was trained by Guy Walter for the 2014 Albury Cup win, and then by Joe Pride and John Thompson before he moved to South Australia to work with current trainer Michael Hickmott, who won the Darwin Cup in 2007 with General Market and in 2009 with Activation.

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