Big Duke is the 2017 Launceston Cup Winner

February 22nd, 2017

Big Duke has justified his resounding favouritism with a strong performance for success in the 2017 Launceston Cup (2400m) in Tasmania this afternoon.

Big Duke was unable to make up the distance on Count Da Vinci when second in the Group 3 Hobart Cup (2200m) a fortnight ago, but did his chances of going one better this afternoon no harm when jumping well and settling off the pace of early leaders Miss Hissy and Gladstone.

Jockey Ben Allen was able to get the British import to switch off when the field past the post the first time and the pair enjoyed an ideal run in transit.

Allen elected to peel Big Duke out upon approaching the final straight, and the young hoop was rewarded for the decision when he was greeted with a clear racing line upon arriving at the final straight.

Locking in a sprint battle with Count Da Vinci, Big Duke’s class shone through as he comfortably pulled clear of the Scott Brunton-trained Kiwi import; hitting the line a comfortable length in the green and delivering trainer Darren Weir is first Launceston Cup triumph.

In being crowned the 2017 Launceston Cup winner, Big Duke has now posted a commendable four wins and five minors, through only ten competitive starts.

Count Da Vinci received the run of the race on the heels of the race’s leaders, but has clearly had enough and will be returned to the paddock.

The Ken Keys-trained Tuff Bickie experienced and un-heralding run off the pace and worked home well to finish third.