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Ballarat beaten brigade eye Pakenham Cup
04 Dec 2017 | By Luke Sheehan - racing.com 

Sixteen entries have been taken for Saturday's $250,000 Sportsbet Pakenham Cup (2500m), including the likes of Ballarat Cup beaten brigade Oncidium Ruler, Grey Lion and De Little Engine.

Second, third and fourth respectively behind Grand Dreamer at Ballarat, that trio is leading the charge in the nominations for the Pakenham feature - the showpiece of a nine-race card that, pending VOBIS bonuses going off, could see more than $1 million in stakes money awarded, a number boosted by an extra $50,000 in the Cup prize pool this year compared to 2016.

Dodging Bullets, from the Symon Wilde yard at Warrnambool, is another leading hope in the mix, while the Peter Roche-trained Transfer Allowance is the local hope from the Pakenham perspective on the shortlist in the feature.

Pakenham Racing Club chief executive Michael Hodge said it was shaping up to be an improved attendance trackside from 2016, when Pakenham hosted its first 'standalone' Saturday metro meeting.

"We're certainly expecting a bigger crowd attendance than last year," Hodge said on Monday.

"Pre-bookings have exceeded 4000 as of today.

"That's about 1500 up on last year, which would put us in the vicinity of a crowd of 8000-9000 on Saturday."

Hodge also said progress was continuing to be made on the project spanning 5.4 hectares that will be a trackside training and rehab facility.

"The EquineTrain project has commenced, and that's a really important milestone for Pakenham," Hodge said.

"That's our pre-training and rehab facility being built by a private investor [Dasame Developments].

"Excavation and civil works have started on that project, so at the latter end of 2018 we'll be able to see that facility, which will be fantastic for the local trainers and also off-course trainers who want to use this facility, it'll be up and running by the latter part of 2018."

Meanwhile, Hodge also heaped praise on his team for their ability to take on the rescheduled Traralgon Cup card on Sunday at short notice, with the synthetic track at Racing.com Park fulfilling its purpose as a back-up option.

"It [the surface] performed really well - the good thing about the Polytrack at the moment is it seems to perform really well in better weather," Hodge noted.

"We got the nod on Saturday afternoon to relocate the race meeting on Sunday, and I suppose what it reflects is the versatility of the facility here, and we're able to put on a race meeting with less than 24 hours notice and get through it successfully.

"The Polytrack performed well, returned a lot of stake money back to the industry participants and owners so it was a great day."

Pakenham nominations

 
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