Packing Ok ready for the step up in trip and grade
The John Moore-trained Packing Ok takes a big step up in trip today in the Hong Kong Exchanges Challenge Cup (2,200m) and the lightly raced four-year-old can make it a winning step.
Packing Ok (Darren Beadman) also steps up in grade, taking the rise from Class Three at Sha Tin last time to what is virtually a Class Two, but the way he won his latest outing suggested he won't have any issue with the grade.
Ridden on that occasion by apprentice Vincent Ho Chak-yiu, Packing Ok was resuming after a freshen up of two months but he was tough at the finish of 1,600m after being given a fair bit to do in running by the young jockey.
Perception on the day was Packing Ok had enjoyed a stroll outside the leader, Athenium, before outsprinting the promising runner-up New Vision, but the sectionals told a different tale in what was in fact a solid staying win.
Packing Ok and Athenium held a clear break over the field for much of the race, opening a three-length gap at the halfway mark and running faster than average sectionals.
After that work, Athenium had enough and surrendered to be beaten eight lengths, but Packing Ok kept on strongly, holding New Vision by a neck but there was a further three-and-a-quarter lengths to the remainder.
What that did suggest is Packing Ok will stay further, despite defeats at 1,800m and 2,000m in January, and how much further is what we find out today.
With other runners capable of going forward, including Super Pistachio (Matthew Chadwick), who generally leads or races on the lead, the race sets up for Packing Ok to have the right trail just behind the speed, then his modest weight is going to be a big asset in the run home.
Down the bottom of the weights, the Caspar Fownes-trained Win Practitioner (Greg Cheyne) looks an interesting danger, with his two starts at this trip a win and a close second. The seven-year-old looks to have been set for this by Fownes, coming in on an eight-day back-up and that was the scenario when he won at this trip last June.
It is Cheyne's first time on Win Practitioner and, in fairness, he is not the easiest of rides but, with a low draw and no weight, he is going to stay on strongly.
Mark your card
The John Moore-trained Packing Ok copped seven points for his neck win last time and is now rated at: 87