Fri, Dec 8, 11:15am by Staff Writer
Feature racing moves away from the city of Melbourne and down to Pakenham with the Listed Pakenham Cup (2500m) the highlight race in a tricky nine-race card. The rail is in the true with the track a soft-7 at acceptances although the forecast is for the wet weather to clear closer to race day.
Grey Lion ($3.10) has opened favourite for the feature as he looks for his first win since March 2016 and first since coming to Australia. The five-year-old gelding is racing well with three placings and a fourth from his past four runs with four wins and seven placings overall from 25 career starts. Matt Cumani is a trainer on the way up with Jordan Childs to ride.
De Little Engine ($6) carries top weight of 60kg – Grey Lion is on 59kg – and he’s third-up on Saturday after a fourth to Grand Dreamer in the Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m) a fortnight ago. The Danny O’Brien-trained gelding is a nine-time winner from 48 starts with five of those nine wins coming when over 2500m or further.
Oncidium Ruler ($3.70) is fourth-up and he was second in the Ballarat Cup which came off the back of a BM90 win at Flemington over 2000m on Stakes Day. Instrumentalist ($19) has won two of his last three over in SA with the nine-year-old drawing wide in barrier 11 while Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott look to continue their good form of late with Goodwood Zodiac ($9) who’s drawn next door in barrier 12. Stephen Baster takes the ride and he’s starting to build a formidable partnership with Waterhouse and Bott with 21 wins and a further 17 placings from only 72 rides for the training partnership.
Burning Front ($3.20) and Grande Rosso ($4.40) dominate the market in the Gold Bullion (1400m), both horses to carry top weight of 60kg alongside Royal Request ($34) who is first-up after winning three straight before a break. Burning Front has drawn wide in barrier 15 while Grande Rosso gets the inside marble (barrier one). Wall Street Wolf ($9) is the only other runner under double figure odds while Dan Zephyr and Willi Willi are at $10 each.
Another Coldie ($4) and Silvera ($4) are fighting out favouritism in race six – an open handicap over 1600m – and both are down on the 54kg limit. Another Coldie has won his past two and six from 15 overall while Silvera was a winner three starts back beating Carraign Aonair ($8.50) – who also lines up here – with a fourth beaten less than a length in the ‘greys’ race on Oaks Day his most recent run.
Carraign Aonair is on the next line of betting with Mr Gustavo ($8) and Coldstone ($7.50) while Howard Be Thy Name ($21) was racing in the G1 Underwood and G2 Herbert Power of spring 2016, and he’s third-up this time in since over a year off. Jacquinot Bay ($9.50) has run third at four of his past five runs while Riyadh ($10) put three-in-a-row together earlier this preparation.
Suggested Bet: It’s not an easy day at Pakenham but going with Fontein Lad (race 3, number 7) in a race with minimal chances. The four-year-old is fourth-up and at the 2000m, hopefully ready to peak at $3.40.
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