By Ray Hickson
Oaks-Derby double for Payne?
We all know Ace High is headed for the ATC Derby in the autumn and trainer David Payne has unearthed a potential Oaks filly as All Too Soon posted her first win at Randwick on Tuesday.
Ace High, who gave Payne his first Victoria Derby on Saturday, is heading to the paddock on Wednesday and All Too Soon will join him to prepare for the Sydney classics.
Payne, and owner John Cordina, is still on a high after Ace High’s spring successes, which also netted wins in the Gloaming and Spring Champion Stakes, and said All Too Soon has been a bit behind Ace High but appreciated stepping out to the 1800m.
All Too Soon's impressive win at Randwick
“She had a few little setbacks and now she’s strengthened up it’s onwards and upwards,’’ he said.
“If she’s up to it we can aim for the Oaks.”
Jockey Andrew Adkins was quite taken with All Too Soon’s win as much as he was with her ability to put herself into the race without being asked.
The filly really lengthened in the last 200m suggesting to Adkins, who also posted wins on Epidemic and Samantha, an Oaks trip is within her reach.
“I didn’t want to push her out or snag her back and she was happy to be where she was,’’ Adkins said.
“They went steady throughout and that’s why I made a move a bit before the turn, her last 50 to 100m was her best.
“I can’t see why she won’t get a trip, she’s lightly raced and still has plenty to offer.”
As for Ace High, Payne said a program towards the ATC Derby is yet to be locked in but said the Rosehill Guineas will be on the agenda and that he’d like to try to win a 1600m Group 1 to boost his stallion prospects.
Payne won both the Rosehill Guineas and ATC Derby with Criterion back in 2014.
Apprentice Jean Van Overmeire hasn’t been in the country as long as Doukhan has been out of the winner’s stall but the unlikely imported pair combined for a breakthrough win in the McGrath Estate Agenta ACT Handicap (2400m).
The 23-year-old South African expat, apprenticed to Bjorn Baker, posted his maiden Randwick win at just his second ride at Sydney’s number one course while the nine-year-old French import Doukhan claimed his first win since June 2015.
It was in September of that year than Van Overmeire landed in Sydney.
“It’s great to get my first win at Randwick on my first day here and hopefully I can get a few more,’’ he said.
He produced Doukhan down the centre of the track after settling a lot further back that he intended after the horse was slowly away.
“My plan was to be midfield but I was back and I had to take a deep breath and accept where I was,’’ Van Overmeire said.
“They went quick then they eased up again but it suited my horse more than anything else.’’
Doukhan has had two 12 month stints on the sidelines since his last win and he appreciated a drop in class after tackling the ATC St Leger on Everest Day.
Reward for Jennings
A willingness to work behind the scenes landed jockey Koby Jennings the plumb ride on Mark Newnham’s promising filly Star Sensation at Randwick and he didn’t let the side down.
It’s fair to say Jennings fell a bit off the radar after he finished second in the apprentices premiership in 2015-16 and he revealed a little of how tough things have been since.
“When I came out of my time things just got a bit too far down,’’ the 22-year-old said.
“It was pretty hard but I’m not going to whinge about it. I’m a heavyweight and even some of the lightweight apprentices come out of their time and struggle.
“I didn’t know who to ride work for and Mark approached me to ride trackwork at Warwick Farm.’’
Jennings said he’s long known Star Sensation had above average ability.
The three-year-old put that on show as she overcame a slow start and raced on the inferior ground closer to the inside before posting a soft win against the older mares.
“Even riding her in trackwork before I knew the horse’s name I said to Mark she’s a pretty good horse,’’ he said.
“So it’s good to get the job done.’’