By Ray Hickson
Trainer David Payne may have to reassess his plans for in-form galloper Dream Circle if he can complete a hat-trick at Randwick on Saturday.
The four-year-old broke a 10 start run of outs at Randwick on Boxing Day before a close up fourth at his last run in the summer but this time around he’s been unstoppable with back-to-back wins and Payne hopes it can continue in the ACY Securities Handicap (1300m).
Payne said he didn’t have unrealistic hopes for Dream Circle but if he knocks over a Benchmark 94, on the back of those Benchmark 78 wins, a rethink is on the cards.
“My plan was to just go through the grades,’’ he said.
“But I’ll talk to the owners and have a think about it if he does win. He’s a horse that is improving and with two runs in he should be cherry ripe now.”
Dream Circle will drop to 54kg, apprentice Jean Van Overmeire is back on board though he won’t be able to make use of a claim, after lumping 58.5kg over the 1300m course at Randwick two weeks ago.
A wet track doesn’t faze Payne, the gelding is a heavy track winner and does seem to have a liking for headquarters, who says the horse is now showing his true potential.
“He’s a horse that has taken a bit of time, he was quite immature as a young horse but now he’s really strengthened up,’’ he said.
Dream Circle wins at Randwick on May 29
“It’s always been there, he just had to mature. He is going up in grade but he has a light weight and a good barrier, a little bit of rain won’t harm him.
“He can be handy in the run but it doesn’t matter if they go slow or fast for him. He’s a versatile horse and the benefit of a light weight helps.”
A logical option if he passes Saturday's test would be the Listed Civic Stakes (1400m) which is run at Randwick on June 26
On Thursday, Dream Circle was $5.50 favourite with TAB and it’ll be interesting to see whether the support he’s attracted in his two wins continues.
Payne is already looking forward to the spring having welcomed dual Group 1 winning filly Montefilia back into his Rosehill stable last Friday.
In four starts in the autumn she managed a third placing in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas, ran fourth in the ATC Derby and fifth in the ATC Oaks and while they weren’t bad efforts Payne said things didn’t go to plan especially with the rain-enforced week’s delay to the carnival.
“In hindsight I think I made a mistake, I should have run her in the 2000m fillies race (Vinery Stud Stakes),’’ he said.
“They went slow in the Oaks and she’s a filly that can’t really sprint, she needs to wind up. But she put on a lot of weight, which I’m happy about, in the break so she’s looking good.”
He said Montefilia will begin her spring campaign in Sydney and whether she ventures interstate will be determined by her form.
Meanwhile, promising youngster Raging Bull is set to contest a 1500m two-year-old race at Rosehill on Saturday week.
The gelding made an eye-catching debut when third to Cape Breton over 1400m last weekend.