Randwick Racecourse is home to the Group 3 Frank Packer Plate, a 2000 metre set weights race for three-year-olds that is held during the autumn carnival around mid-April.
The race offered $200,000 in prize money in 2023, with Osipenko taking $109,000 from a field of five. There were no fillies in the race. The race appears to be getting a $50,000 prize money boost for 2024.
Frank Packer Plate Race Details
Race Distance: 2000m
Prize Money: $160,000
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When Is The Frank Packer Plate: 20/4/24
What Time Is The Frank Packer Plate: 1TBA
Where Is The Frank Packer Plate: Randwick Racecourse
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More Details About The Frank Packer Plate
Osipenko is closing in on the $1 million mark from 13 jumps for three wins and three placings. He has won at Group 2 grade, but it seems only a matter of time for Chris Waller to train Osipenko to a Group 1 win.
The race is one of four Group 3 races at an important Randwick meeting where the prestigious Group 1 Champagne Stakes and the All Aged Stakes jump together.
There is the similar Group 3 2000 metre Japan Racing Association Plate run under handicap conditions on the same day for three-year-old that prefer handicap to set weight racing and that races accepts horses above age three.
The race offers a chance to the types that could not race in the Australian Derby or the Australian Oaks.
As is common for set weight races open to all comers, the colts and geldings are assigned 56.5 kg and the fillies 54.5 kg.
History of the Frank Packer Plate
The race was inaugurated in 1980 and is named in honour of Sir Douglas Frank Hewson Packer, a mighty, five-name businessman that was on the committee for the Australian Jockey Club for over a decade.
It appears that while Packer was liked, he was not liked that much, as his namesake race that debuted at Group 2 grade was demoted to Group 3 in 1991.
As a newer race that came along just as the Group classification system was enacted, the race has not been around long enough to have had the name, trip, running conditions or season changed.
It has always been 2000 metres, always at Randwick, always a set weight race and always in the autumn.
Venue for the Frank Packer Plate
Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney NSW is the only place the race has ever jumped.
Randwick is certainly the premier Thoroughbred racing facility in NSW, although Rosehill has a certain ambiance and Warwick Farm is a lovely track as well.
There are currently 20 Group 1 races held at Randwick, where top-level gallops have been going strong since the Australian Jockey Club made its home there in the 1860s.
From 2017, Randwick has been famous for The Everest, a special conditions sprint limited to a field of 12 that now offers $20 million in prize money.
For 2000 metre races at Randwick, the barrier is just beyond the finish line, requiring just under one full circuit of the course. The first 400 metres are a run through the turn at the south side of Randwick. They then proceed down the back straight into the far turn. After a short straight, the home turn leads onto the last 400 metres to finish in front of the grandstands.
Racing History of the Frank Packer Plate
With races of this quality, the winners’ list often seems like a vast assortment of anonymous types, but the Franck Packer Plate has offered some exceptions, which we will reveal for the appropriate year.
We will also be looking for the better types that recorded wins in better graded races, earned significant prize money, or were suppliers of better offspring.
The winner of the first Frank Packer Plate was a horse named Lauriat that we suppose was born here, although his pedigree does not contain a drop of Australian blood; his lines were northern hemisphere, mostly British and U.S.
He left little by way of a racing record, suggesting to us that this win and a place in the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes in 1980 were his best results.
Lauriat was a minor foal-getter; he supplied one colt and eight fillies, but there were no good racers.
The second year of the race gave us the 1981 winner Shaybisc.
She was the daughter of Biscay and Star Kingdom was grandsire. Shaybisc won nine times, with the Packer Plate being her last win. She had two Group 2 wins, but her early and greatest success was in winning the Group 1 Sires’ Produce Stakes in 1980.
She worked hard in the sheds after racing, supplying foals to the likes of Crown Jester (three foals), Sir Tristam (four foals), along with others for a total of 14. The best by far was the 1995 gelding Bradshaw by Last Tycoon that earned over $628,000.
The 1982 winner Dalmacia was a New Zealand horse by the aforementioned Sir Tristam. His earnings of $203,000 look meagre, although he jumped just 24 times for nine wins and four placings, all the more so when two of the wins were Group 1 races – the 1982 Epsom Handicap and the 1983 Rawson Stakes. He beat some good horses in winning the 1983 Chipping Norton Stakes when it was a Group 2 race.
Dalmacia was a good sire from the perspective of quantity. There was one major winner, Flotilla, that won above $1 million.
The 1983 winner Chiamare was a gelding that traced Australian lines through his dam Elevena that joined Todman and Star Kingdom in the line. Chiamare was a solid racer that could handle different trips, with wins all the way out to 3200 metres. His primary wins were the 1984 Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Brisbane Cup, two Group 1 races that carry extra weight.
The first four Frank Packer Plates supplied some nice winners, but the 1984 winner Pleasant Star called a halt to that, so this is as good a time as any to look at some impressive names further along the list.
First, a brief mention of 1985 winner Spritely Native that added a Group 1 win that same year with a big win in The Metropolitan.
In the final year that the Frank Packer Plate was a Group 2 race, the win went to Stargazer. He was a good Kiwi horse that won nearly $1 million from 45 jumps for 9 wins and 10 placings.
Stargazer raced in fast company and quite handily at that, beating Super Impose and Palace Revolt to win the 1990 Chelmsford Stakes. When he posted a repeat Chelmsford win in 1991, Stylish Century was two places back. The epic win in our view was the 1990 Group 2 Grand Prix Stakes, where the win came at the expense of Rough Habit.
After racing, Stargazer was a solid stallion, with eight offspring that won between $106,000 and $232,000.
A true notable, 1995 winner Juggler was a gelding that raced and beat Octagonal, Filante, Saintly and Doriemus. His 60 jumps produced form of 15 wins and 26 placings for $2.4 million. He had four Group 1 wins, four Group 1 seconds and four Group 1 thirds.
The 1997 winner was the mighty gelding Might And Power by Zabeel – definitely the winner that begs the question of what something of his ability was doing in a former Group 2 race that had dropped a rung to Group 3.
Thirty-three races produced 15 wins, eight placings and $5.2 million in prize money.
Might And Power used his might to win sprints and his power to win the 1997 Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup double. He added the Cox Plate in 1998 and received every conceivable honour.
We count seven Group 1 wins as part of his tally and he beat many top gallopers, such as Doriemus, Juggler and Al Mansour.
The wait for another major notable was a short one, as Freemason took the Frank Packer Plate in 2000.
A gelding by the notable U.S. sire Grand Lodge, Freemason used 62 jumps to win 7 and place in 14 races for $3.4 million.
Freemason won the Group 1 T. J. Smith Stakes in 1999, and then the Group 1 Queensland Derby in 2000. He won good races subsequent to winning the Frank Packer Plate. His best win would seem to have been the Group 1 The BMW in 2003, where he beat Northerly into second and Republic Lass into third.
The 2002 winner Arlington Road fills our criteria for his win in the 2003 Group 1 All Aged Stakes, where he beat good types in Dash For Cash and Lord Essex.
Clangalang was another better winner from 2003.
He made 20 jumps for six wins and four placings to earn above $2 million. He also won the Group 1 Australian Derby, beating Mummify in the bargain. His win in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap came against Grand Armee.
Clangalang left many valuable offspring. Top earner Geegees Blackflash won above $1 million with 14 additional offspring adding anywhere from $115,000 to $590,000.
The 2005 winner was the filly Afraah. She was not exceptional, other than when she won the Frank Packer Plate, she beat Eremein into third.
Afraah supplied eight foals, but two wins is all we can attribute to her offspring.
Dream Machine won in 2006.
This filly was by Nothin’ Leica Dane and she made 13 jumps and was a modest winner, but foals by Poets Voice, Choisir, Husson (2x) combined to win about $450,000.
The filly Dariana by Redoute’s Choice was good enough to win the Frank Packer Plate in 2010 and she won the Group 1 Queensland Derby after being left at the post in her previous jump in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks. In the Group 1 Underwood Stakes, she met So You Think, running a distant second. She concluded with dead last in the 2010 Caulfield Cup.
Similar to Dream Machine, Dariana made 13 jumps, winning three and placing in three for $518,000.
Four foals, including one by the horse she met at the Underwood Stakes, So You Think, failed to make any impression.
The gelding Shootoff was the winner of the Frank Packer Plate in 2011. This Kiwi racer had Redoute’s Choice, Danehill and Canny Lad from his sire Duelled.
Twenty-four jumps for four wins and five placings brought him $625,000.
Another gelding, this one Fat Al, was the winner in 2012.
His importance is that he won the 2012 Epsom Handicap racing tips as part of a career of 27 jumps for seven wins and five placings – good for $787,000.
A New Zealand gelding named He's Our Rokkii was the winner in 2016.
He won the Group 1 Toorak Handicap in 2016, beating Group 1 winner Tivaci as part of a racing career that supplied $786,000 from 29 jumps, seven wins and four placings.
The winner in 2019 was The Chosen One, a New Zealand horse that was sired by Savabeel. There were also impressive ancestors on the side of the dam.
The Chosen One was picked to win $2.4 million from 43 jumps for 7 wins and 11 placings. He made some money racing in New Zealand as well. He is aged eight as of this writing in late October 2023. He is listed as active, but he has not raced since June of 2022 and he has already produced his first crop of foals, with four in 2020, one in 2021, two in 2022 and one in 2023.
Verona was the winner in 2022.
Currently aged five, Verona is spelling, on holiday from Ciaron Maher and David Eustace. Her last jump was in September of 2023. She has won just once since winning the Frank Packer Plate and that was in a BM78 race at Rosehill in August.
Honestly, we were pleasantly surprised to find some distinguished winners of the Frank Packer Plate and a few better earners.
We found a nice assortment of genders, a good gelding or two, and some good stallions and broodmares that in many instances produced offspring that exceeded them as racers.
Of course, Might And Power is in a category all his own, as we suspect that there was not another winner of the Frank Packer Plate to supply a Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup double.
Frank Packer Plate Past Winners
|2019||The Chosen One|
|2016||He's Our Rokkii|
|1997||Might And Power|
|1993||Play Or Pay|
|1992||In The Event|