By Ray Hickson
After a minor nomination scare, trainer David Payne says classy colt Ace High is on target to spring an upset in Saturday’s Group 1 $1m Randwick Guineas (1600m).
The dual Group 1 winner will take his place among a crack field including Kementari, Trapeze Artist, Pierata, D’Argento and the Kiwi Age Of Fire but it almost went awry on Monday morning.
Payne believed he had nominated Ace High for the Guineas but he didn’t show up in the entries when they closed at 11am.
Fortunately for Payne, there were less nominations than the field limit of 16 and the race was re-opened and Ace High could be included.
“He’s well and has had a good preparation,’’ Payne said.
“He’s definitely on the right track, he’s looking a million dollars and now we have to keep him in that shape.
Ace High's fifth placing in the Hobartville Stakes at Rosehill on February 24
“If he could win a race like this it would double his value, a 1600m Group 1, that’s the reason we wanted to have a go at it.’’
Ace High, an $11 chance when he was inserted into the market with TAB, has pleased Payne since his second-up fifth behind Kementari in the Hobartville Stakes (1400m) on February 24 where Punters Intel data showed he held his own with a last 600m of 34.34.
Payne said he still fears a sit and sprint tempo in the Randwick Guineas but will leave it up to jockey Tye Angland to work things out when the gates open.
“The bigger track will suit him and he’s a bit fitter as well. All he wants is a good gallop, we don’t want a sit and sprint,’’ he said.
“Tye can jump out and see what it looks like then it will depend on the draw and the speed of the race.’’
Payne said he’s likely to send lightly raced youngster Toulouse to Flemington for the Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) in preference to the Todman Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.
The colt ran the third fastest last 600m (34.09) in his first-up sixth behind Santos in the Pierro Plate (1100m) three weeks ago.
“He’s a lot like Ace High, as he gets up to a more suitable distance he is going to be very competitive,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Australian Oaks bound filly All Too Soon has come through her second-up win at Rosehill last Wednesday in fine style and Payne said he’s likely to keep her increasing in distance towards next month’s classic.
He’d originally planned to drop to the 1600m of the Kembla Grange Classic on March 16 but said a Benchmark 85 over 1900m a day later at Rosehill looks more suitable.
“You don’t really want to go back to the mile if you’re going to the Oaks,’’ he said.
“She might be nominated for the Kembla race and have that up our sleeve but you’d rather keep going up in distance.’’