Thursday night’s Pakenham meeting is a stiff test for punters with four “open” maidens opening the front end of the eight-race card. There are many horses starting first-up and some have no trial form to use as a guide. So all in all it is a test of stamina and will for punters to find winners on this evening card. The rail will be at four metres and the track is rated as a Good 4 at this stage. The weather forecast is overcast with no rain and a cool day with a maximum of 23C.
No 3 ARMEDANDDANGEROUS Boxed on hard when finished fourth at second start over 1200m in a 3YO maiden at Mornington on November 8. Given a break and with a lugging bit on should run straighter as hung badly last time.
No 5 Shot At The Reward Had some support at debut when backed from $14 into $10 in city class at a Saturday meeting at Sandown, running sixth over 1410m. Damien Oliver rode that day and Chris Symons gets the nod here. Down to maiden class.
No 6 LITTLE BESS Has a good record fresh and shown some ability. She has not raced since finishing second over 1200m in a 3YO fillies’ maiden at Cranbourne on May 29. She has the blinkers taken off and a tongue tie on here for the first time.
No 9 UNDERPASS Again has a good draw in seven and can improve on last start when finishing fifth over 1200m in a maiden at Sale on January 22. Has a gear change with a tongue-tie on for the first time.
VALUE RUNNER: No 9 UNDERPASS
No 6 SNOWY BLACK Bumped into a smart pair when finishing third overt 1000m in a 3YO maiden at Yarra Glen on January 22. Gets his chance here with Luke Currie taking the reins and a good draw in gate three should ensure a soft run. Most honest.
No11 ROSEWEDGE Showed solid improvement at her second start when running second over 1200m in a 3YO maiden at Warrnambool on January 15. Michael Dee keeps the ride and she is again on 56kg and can overcome a wide alley in eight.
No 5 OCEAN GROVE Did enough in a trial when finishing a close third over 1000m at Ballarat on January 16 to suggest here. He is well-bred and has shown some ability in the past and worth a look.
No 3 RITCHFORD Has been solid at his past two starts and warrants respect. Latest gave a sound effort to run third over 1200m in a maiden here on January 19. Luke Currie is the new rider.
VALUE RUNNER: No 5 OCEAN GROVE
No 8 PULL THE RIPCORD Plenty of chances in an open maiden, but willing to give this horse another chance on his last-start fifth over 1800m in a maiden at Sandown on January 18. He is from the Darren Weir camp and was backed from $9 into $7 last start and has hit a few handy types.
No 9 Red Gateau Defied a betting drift from $8 to $12 to run a solid second over 1600m in a maiden at Cranbourne on January 13. Before that ran second in a country maiden and doing enough to warrant here.
No 12 Trimouille Was well fancied being backed from $6 into $5 before finishing last in a 2025m maiden at Cranbourne on December 23. She was found to have tied up so draw a line through the run.
No 2 Ammerland Is going to be aided by the extra distance here after finishing fifth over 1500m in a 1500m maiden at Mornington on January 17. Jamie Mott rides again and has drawn wide in 12 but can run well.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 AMMERLAND
No 2 CAPTAIN RHETT Looks primed for this race on his second start back from a spell when running second over 1717m in a maiden at Sale on January 22. Appeared a shade unlucky not to have won and gets his chance here.
No 10 DELZALI Appeared to shy at the 100m and worth another chance on her last run when finishing fifth over 1400m in a F&M maiden at Pakenham on January 19. Eased out to $11 before punters lunged and backed her into $9 that time.
No 9 ZANZAROCK Has been placed at two of his three starts and can emerge the victor here if he repeats his last start when finishing second over 1500m at Mornington on January 17. He eased in betting from $4.60 to $5.50 that day and will be fancied again.
No 12 MISS STRATHALLAN (Best Roughie) Staying type resuming and worth a look. She was warmed up with a 1000m trial at Ballarat on January 16 and she has been placed once (here) at three starts. Worth looking at.
VALUE RUNNER: No 12 MISS STRATHALLAN
No 2 LABUAN STAR Has been a model on consistency and gets his chance here for trainer Darren Weir following his sound second over 1300m at Sandown on January 11. Brad Rawiller is the new rider and he can carry to 59.5kg here.
No 5 WALL STREET WOLF Was first-up off a long spell when finishing seventh over 1100m down the straight at Flemington on January 14. Regan Bayliss gets the nod here and he was firm in betting first up at $6. Smaller field suits too.
No 7 ESSENCE OF TERROR She didn’t appear to run out the 1400m when finishing sixth at Flemington on January 14. She was not wanted in the betting easing from $3.80 to $5.50 that day. Here in a small field she warrants a second chance.
No 3 NITRO NICK Form before last start last of eight was first class and pay to overlook that start over 1100m at Geelong on January 12. Gets a change of rider with Noel Callow the new pillion and has the bar shoes removed which is a significant gear change.
VALUE RUNNER: No 7 ESSENCE OF TERROR
No 5 LOTION Was in the firing line when finishing a close fourth over 1600m here on January 19. He was at $21 that day but won’t be at silly odds here with Regan Bayliss taking the reins from Michael Dee. Has the speed to lead in a race with no obvious leader.
No 7 DOWNHEARTED Has finished second at his three runs this campaign. Latest fought on well to be runner-up over 1400m at Warrnambool on January 15. Michael Dee sticks to him here but he jumps 4kg to 58kg.
No 2 REZAK Now is primed to win with three solid runs under his belt. He ran a solid second last start over 1600m here on January 19 and will have Thomas Sadler again to steer and carries the same weight on 59.5kg.
No 6 BACKROADS Has been a blow out for punters winning his maiden at $41 before winning again over 1500m at Cranbourne on January 6 at $51. The more he wins the bigger the odds! Drawn in three, should get a soft run.
VALUE RUNNER: No 6 BACKROADS
No 3 EL DORADO MINE (BEST BET) He hails from the leading stables of trainer Mick Price and his three-year-old form suggests he is superior to this grade. He ran second over 1400m here at his last start on August 23. Stable jockey Craig Newitt gets the ride here and from gate three he should get a soft passage first up. He has won once from two starts first-up and looks one of the safe bets on the night.
No 1 HENRY GEORGE His debut win was certainly impressive.
No 6 JOCASTA Has drawn the gate to be running home strongly.
No 5 MOSAQUA If gets a clear passage can improve
VALUE RUNNER: No 6 JOCASTA
No 4 ELEGANT QUEEN (NEXT BEST BET) She can box seat and she has been finishing up close behind some strong winners at her recent starts. With Ethan Brown’s 2kg claim she gets to carry 57kg and was solid when running third over 1400m here against her own sex on January 19. She is drawn to box seat or lead from gate three and she can give punters a boost on a hard night.
No 2 KAPTAN APOLLO Confidence is up and can loom here.
No 9 LOST COMMAND His Moe win was most sound and respect.
No 11 NINA RULES Gets a test here over 1400m second-up but is up to the task.
VALUE RUNNER: No 11 NINA RULES