Packenham: 18th January Preview By Dean McHugh

17 January, 2024

Image Source : Pexel

An exciting eight-race card awaits at Packenham this Thursday, so there are eight fantastic races for us to enjoy.

In this article, we will preview each race and try to predict who has a major chance of landing the spoils and who might be able to cause a shock.

Race 1: Bunyip Equipment Handicap (1000m)

Thursday’s Packenham card will open up with the Bunyip Equipment Handicap. A field of six has been declared, and there are two horses who look set to dominate the betting – Plus Fours and Walter Spur.

Plus Fours has two wins from his sixteen career starts and despite being winless in his last six, has finished second in three of his last five runs. As consistent as they come, he should be too strong for most of this field.

Walter Spur heads into the race looking to land a second success in his last four starts. Having finished third in both of his last two runs, his connections will be hoping he can break well and play a leading role in proceedings.

Race 2: Work Armour Solutions Maiden Plate (1600m)

Eight horses will head down to post for the Work Armour Solutions Maiden Plate, and a fascinating race lies in store, with several horses looking to hold a major chance.

Set to start as the short priced favourite is Itsukushima. Winless in all nine career starts, there are absolutely no guarantees that he will finally shed his Maiden tag, but his second-place finish last time out does offer up some serious encouragement.

For those looking to take on Itsukushima, the play could be Atteindre. Less exposed than her main market rival, she has finished second in both of her last runs, and her connections will finally be hoping that this is the race where it all comes together.

An interesting runner is Smokin’ Giant. Yet to hit the track, he is well-bred and could well have the class to win on debut. Another runner making his debut is Irish Storm. Another who has nice breeding, he will start at a price but could have the potential to cause a major shock.

Race 3: Sheen Panel Service Pakenham Maiden Plate (1400m)

Ten horses will line up for the Sheen Panel Service Pakenham Maiden Plate. In what looks like one of the trickiest betting heats of the day, the form of most of the field isn’t inspiring, but one horse that sticks out is Pride of Pariah. 

This will be just his second start, and he ran well on debut, finishing third by just over a length. The conditions that day were on the heavy side and could have had an impact on Pride of Pariah being unable to cross the line in first place.

With conditions set to be better on Thursday, it could greatly boost his chances. 

If you are looking for alternatives it could be worth taking a second look at Hot Gospel and newcomer Jennio’s Filly.

Race 4: Norm Henwood Memorial (1200m)

Race 4 is exclusively for the girls, with ten fillies and mares heading down to post for the Norm Henwood Memorial.

Kiko has placed in over half of her career starts and was a good winner last time out. Easily boasting the best form in the race, she will start as the one they all need to beat.

Sassy Boom will be making a fifth career start and will be looking to win her second race. Since winning her first race, she has struggled, having finished 11th and 4th. Her connections will be hoping that her previous win was no fluke and she could bounce back to form here.

Two other horses that could make the frame are Cadenabbia and Fast Star.

Race 5: Sportsbet Future Stars Series (1200m)

One of the busiest races of Thursday’s card is the first of the Sportsbet Future Stars Series races, where eleven horses are due to compete.

In what looks a tough race to call, Subsix is likely to start as the slim favourite. Well bred, he has yet to finish in the top three in any of his three career starts and will be hoping for a career-defining run here. Having been off the track for just over three months, he arrives fresh and should give his backers a good run for their money.

Brier will be hugely popular in the betting, having finished second in two of his last three starts. Only just defeated when last seen, there were feelings that the heavy track did him no favours. With conditions set to be decent, everything looks set for another big showing.

Rubology is one of the most exciting horses on Thursday’s card, and big things are expected. A second place on debut suggests he is a classy horse, and with that run now behind him, there will be hopes of further improvement.

Race 6: Sportsbet Future Stars Series (1400m)

The second race of the Sportsbet Future Stars Series looks to be a really competitive contest.

Four horses are due to make their debut, and the most likely to win looks to be Give Her A Medal.

If you are looking to back a horse with more experience, then the play could be Shiny New Deel. Able to finish third on debut, there will be hopes of further improvement and he could be a major player.

Another horse that will be looking to build on their debut performance is Kissed Earth. Her fifth-place finish offers up some encouragement, and she could be a player at a decent price.

Race 7: O’Brien Real Estate Pakenham Handicap (1600m)

A fascinating race lies in prospect for the O’Brien Real Estate Pakenham Handicap, with several horses arriving in fantastic form. 

Of the eight declared runners, four runners stand above the rest – Super Solar, The Claimant, The Ballet Dancer and Fine Rebel.

All four look to have a great chance of winning, but most of the pre-race betting has centred around Fine Rebel. 

Without a win in her last six starts, she is consistent, having finished inside the top three in three of those races. Although she finished third when last seen, the margin of that defeat was narrow, and there could be plenty more to come.

Of the other highlighted runners, Super Solar could be worth consideration. Having finished third in her last three starts, there will be hopes of another solid showing here. 

Outside of those that we have already highlighted, Rose Dior could cause a shock. The only recent winner in the field, she arrives in good form.

Race 8: O’Connor, Australia’s Finest Beef (1400m)

The action from Pakenham concludes with a sixteen-runner handicap. For those looking to end the evening in style, they may have a tough time picking out the winner!

Races of this nature can often throw up shocks, but it’s hard to look beyond Some Sheila. A winner of her last race, she has some good recent form and looks more than capable of landing a blow in this contest.

The only other recent winner is Darra Linen. After a poor run of form, her victory last time out was a surprise, and there won’t be a guarantee that she can back up that win here.

Magarten finished second when last seen and is another who could have a say in proceedings, as could Queen of Tuscany, who will be looking to build on her recent third-place finish.

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