All eyes on the Pakenham Cup

Huge crowds flocked to Park for the 2016 Pakenham Cup and another bumper crowd is expected for this Saturday’s edition of the great race. 162723 Picture: GARY SISSONS

By David Nagel

Huge crowds are assured – both on and off the track – after the Pakenham Racing Club attracted 116 acceptors for its metropolitan-class race meeting at Park on Saturday.
The eyes of Victorian racing will zoom in on Tynong as almost a million dollars of prizemoney goes up for grabs, including $250,000 in the Sportsbet Pakenham Cup (2500m).
A final field of 13 will contest the cup after final acceptances were confirmed at 9.30am on Wednesday.
PRC chief executive Michael Hodge said the day was shaping up to be one of the very best since the first cup was run in 1926.
“We’re the only show in town, the weather looks good…we couldn’t be happier,” Mr Hodge said.
“Cup day is developing into everything we envisaged it could be, and we can only begin to imagine what this day will look like in the years to come. We’ve had 4700 pre-bookings for the day, which is just enormous, up 1700 on last year and we’re still only in year two of this standalone Saturday meeting concept.
“I’ve never seen anything like this, in regards to pre-bookings, in my 13 years at the club.”
Hodge said the action on course was to set to satisfy the huge crowd expected on track.
“The cup is an absolute cracker with De Little Engine, Grey Lion and Oncidium Ruler at the top of the weights and the support races have really stood up well,” he said.
“Jungle Edge is the poster boy of racing at the moment and the race after the cup, the Gold Bullion, is one of the best support races you’ll see anywhere.”
Jungle Edge will need to overcome a huge impost of 63.5 kilos to take out race five, the 1200-metre open sprint. Trained at Cranbourne by Mick Bell, the seven-year-old gelding has won at Group-3 level and was more than competitive in the feature sprints during the Queensland autumn carnival. He will carry 60.5 kilos after a three-kilo claim for apprentice jockey Georgina Cartwright.
The other highlight on the card will be the rematch between Grand Rosso, Burning Front and Dan Zephyr in the $120,000 VOBIS Gold Bullion (1400m). The trio ran in that exact order in the same race last year and will be favoured to be in the thick of the action again.
Race one on the card, the O’Connor Beef 3YO BM70 Handicap (1000m) kicks off proceedings at 12.55pm.

$250,000 Sportsbet Pakenham Cup (2500m) Listed
Saturday 9 December, 4.40pm
No Horse Trainer Jockey Weight
1 De Little Engine (8) D. O’Brien D. Moor 60kg
2 Grey Lion (4) M. Cumani J. Childs 59kg
3 Oncidium Ruler (6) M. Kent B. Mertens 56.5kg
4 Dandy Gent (5) T&K O’Sullivan D. Yendall 54kg
5 Instrumentalist (11) J. McLean B. Allen 54kg
6 Like a Carousel (3) K. Keys L. Meech 54kg
7 Ormito (1) D.K. Weir 54kg
8 Darabad (7) R. Laing C. Williams 54kg
9 Goodwood Zodiac (12) G. Waterhouse & A. Bott S. Baster 54kg
10 Lucques (13) E. Musgrove C. Symons 54kg
11 Transfer Allowance (2) P. Roche C. Parish 54kg
12 Anemoi (10) D. Loos M. Dee 54kg
13 Khartoum (9) P. Carey B. Thompson 54kg