By David Nagel
The $250,000 Sportsbet Pakenham Cup (2500m) has been targeted by prominent Cranbourne trainer Mick Kent after his six-year-old Oncidium Ruler won impressively at Flemington on Saturday.
The Strategic-Princess Regina gelding overcame a poor first-up run at Caulfield, gaining a late split to win the $120,000 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Plate (2000m).
Oncidium Ruler will now hit the lucrative country cups circuit, heading to the Ballarat Cup (2200m) on Saturday 25 November before backing up at Racing.com Park for the listed feature a fortnight later.
While the Ballarat Cup is enticing, Kent believes the wide expanses of the 2400-metre track at Pakenham will suit his steed right down to the ground.
“The race that will really suit is the Pakenham Cup which is two weeks after Ballarat,” Kent said.
“It’s 2500 (metres) on a beautiful big sweeping track which would suit him right down to the ground.”
Meanwhile, local trainers had a field day on Oaks Day at Racing.com Park with all seven winners being prepared at Cranbourne, Mornington or Pakenham.
Cranbourne trainer Cindy Alderson trained a double, while Rob Blacker gave the Mornington faithful a lift by training a mid-meeting double, with Elephant Rock and For a Song both saluting under the guidance of apprentice jockey Liam Riordan.
Pakenham trainer and PRC committeeman Michael Phillips saddled Chevy’s Star to victory in the second race on the card, while fellow local trainer Tim Hughes applied the finish touches to One Hot Dane – the winner of the third.
Pakenham race again this Thursday night, 16 November for the Evergreen Turf Charity Night, before the build-up begins for cup day on Saturday 9 December.