By Ray Hickson
Experience tells trainer David Payne that he could have something special in the shape of emerging filly Montefilia.
He’s always had the youngster pegged as a likely classic contender at three, she has a quality Payne says is hard to miss, and is using the end of winter to raise her profile and have her mentally prepared for the spring.
Part of that program is her second-up run in the ATC Thank You Trainers Handicap (1800m) at Randwick on Saturday, though Canterbury next Wednesday is being considered as an alternative, where Payne hopes that raw talent can offset the experience she lacks.
“Over the years and working with horses for so long, I’m 72, they show you. You can see it, and just look at her runs,’’ Payne said.
“She won at her first start at 1400m then she ran fourth in the Baillieu and then there’s last start. She’s shown that she has the potential.
“She’s come on, she still might not be streetwise like the older horses but she’s got the ability.’’
Montefilia was one of the sectional stars of the day when she resumed with a flashing third behind Giovanna Run over 1400m on the Kensington track on July 18.
Punter’s Intelligence revealed Montefilia ran a last 600m of 35.51, two lengths faster than the next best, and her final 200m of 11.94 was 0.01 outside the best of the entire meeting. And she came from last on what turned out to be a front runner’s paradise.
Montefilia runs third at Kensington on July 18
“It was an excellent run considering the bias,’’ Payne said.
“The 1800m is much better, she’s bred to do that and plus.
“I want to get her qualified for better races because you don’t want to be nominating and not having enough prizemoney, you want to be getting in those races.’’
The filly is a $5.50 chance with TAB as she takes on older horses and with the distance increase Payne is hopeful Glen Boss can park her in front of at least a few in the run.
“The other day she was drawn badly and was a bit slow out so (Louise Day) opted to pull her back. But she’ll most probably be midfield on Saturday,’’ he said.
Stablemate Bazooka finished just ahead of Montefilia in that Kensington race, running the second fastest last 600m (35.81), and Payne has elected to fit blinkers to the gelding in the Industry Celebration Race Day Handicap (1300m).
He said Bazooka, $4.60 with TAB, could earn himself the chance to make it as high as the Group 1 Golden Rose in September if he was to put his rivals away on Saturday.
“He seems to hit a flat spot, at the top of the straight he lost a length or two then he picked it up again so I wanted to keep him focused,’’ Payne said of the blinkers.
“He’s drawn a bit awkwardly so I’ll have to leave it to Bossy. We can’t see how the course is playing because we’re in the first race.”
The Golden Rose might be a pie in the sky target, and Payne stresses Bazooka does need to win well to warrant heading in that direction, but the three-year-old’s owners are already enjoying themselves so why not dream a little.
“I paid $14,000 for the little horse, he’s already earned us $63,000 so he’s a bit of fun,’’ he said.
“If he steps up and he happened to win comfortably I’d put him in the Golden Rose but he’s got to win otherwise you’re wasting your money.”