Verona causes upset in Frank Packer Plate

Verona, ridden by William Pike has taken out the Frank Packer Plate. Photo: Steve Hart

Verona had caused an upset in the first Group 3 of the afternoon at Royal Randwick, winning the Frank Packer Plate (2000m) in fine fashion.

The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained three-year-old was given a lovely steer under William Pike, beating Maurice’s Medad and a disappointing Straight Arron.

The former Kiwi had started just once in Australia, running fifth at Warwick Farm in a 1600m Benchmark 78, but he relished the conditions and the step out to 2000m this afternoon.

2022 Frank Packer Plate Replay

The filly by Belrado is now likely to head to Queensland for the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) in May, but a decision is yet to be finalised.

“She probably had to now (go to Queensland),” stable representative Johann Gerard-Dubord said.

“Top of the ground is no issue for her. She gets through the wet but top of the ground will be just as good.

“Her first run was good. She was still very new behind horses.”

Winning rider William Pike was full of praise post-race, saying she didn’t surprise him despite the $21 odds.

“She just did enough late in her last start that suggested she’d run a good race,” Pike said.

“But I think there were a couple of real fancied ones there that maybe they might’ve overlooked her a smidge.”

James McDonald, the rider of the fancied Straight Arron, believed that an evident track bias is in play, offering that as the excuse for the favourite’s third placing.

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