Australian Derby third placegetter Hooked heads a quality field for the 2014 Frank Packer Plate at Royal Randwick in Sydney this Saturday.
Running as Race 4 at 2:15pm (AEST) on the dual Group 1 program, this year’s $150,000 Group 3 Johnnie Walker Frank Packer Plate (2000m) field has attracted nine three-year-olds.
Out in gate eight wearing the number one saddlecloth is the John Thompson-trained Hooked, the Casino Prince colt down in class after three Group 1 runs this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
After a fifth behind Dissident and then Criterion in the Randwick and then Rosehill Guineas respectively in March, Hooked was last seen stepping up to the mile and a half for their gutsy third to Criterion in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) on April 12.
They looked to run out of steam over the final 200m there and so the step back to 2000m for the Frank Packer against an easier line-up looks ideal.
Gai Waterhouse has two chances in the Frank Packer Plate this year including the rails-drawn Pheidon to be ridden by Tommy Berry.
The Al Maher gelding has just their seventh career start here, Pheidon having won the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) two back at Moonee Valley in a lovely run.
Their latest effort wasn’t nearly as successful however as they returned to Rosehill but found the Heavy (8) track not to their liking when sixth to Gallatin in the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) on April 5.
Waterhouse’s other runner also has an inside gate with Northern Meteor three-year-old Equator to jump from three with Brenton Avdulla in the saddle as they look to improve on a 10th to Gypsy Diamond in the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) here two weeks ago.
The other trainer dually represented in Saturday’s three-year-old showdown is then Peter Snowden.
Snowden has recent Kensington winner Shikra in gate nine and Teofilo gelding Malice, a last start fifth in the Carbine, in barrier seven with jockeys for the duo still to be confirmed.
There are then two last start winners in the mix with Sebring colt Takewing in five following a Kensington win over the 1500m from April 16 and the David Vandkye-trained Arabian Gold in barrier two with Damien Oliver aboard.
With the gun lead-up and ideal draw, Dubawi filly Arabian Gold is likely to start near the top of the Frank Packer Plate odds for the weekend.
Sixth in the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2400m) last spring, she relished a Heavy going track here on April 12 to beat home a good field in the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) making her a shot again on Saturday.
The full Frank Packer Plate 2014 field, barriers and jockeys are detailed below.
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2014 Frank Packer Plate Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 4 – 2:15pm (AEST) – 26/04/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||4444×58553||HOOKED||John P Thompson||Blake Shinn||8||56.5kg||96|
|2||112316||PHEIDON||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||1||56.5kg||85|
|3||3x93632x70||EQUATOR||Gai Waterhouse||Brenton Avdulla||3||56.5kg||81|
|4||3121×007||SHOW THE WORLD (NZ)||Murray Baker||James McDonald||4||56.5kg||76|
|5||1324×29928||GAMBLESTOWN (NZ)||Guy Walter||Jim Cassidy||6||56.5kg||73|
|8||33925941||TAKEWING||Jason Coyle||Nash Rawiller||5||56.5kg||66|
|9||24146×5801||ARABIAN GOLD||David Vandyke||Damien Oliver||2||54.5kg||91|