David Payne Filly Can Go From Rags To Riches

David Payne doesn’t have the budget to compete at the top-end of the yearling sale market, so the bluebloods are never on his short list.

Instead, he backs his decades of experience and horsemanship to hunt for hidden gems.

Trawling through the yearlings on offer last year, Payne came across a daughter of unfashionable sire D’Argento, liked her on-type, and bought her for $15,000.

That filly was Rag Queen, the cheapest juvenile competing in the $2 million Inglis Millennium (1100m) at Randwick on Saturday.

“She is a very nice type. She’s correct, she walks well, she is athletic. I usually go by my eye and touch wood, I’ve been lucky,” Payne said.

“I don’t look at I Am Invincibles or Snitzels because I know I haven’t got that budget.

“As soon as it’s by I Am Invincible or Snitzel, you’re looking to kick off at $300,000, $400,000 – unless it’s got a very crooked leg.”

Financial constrictions haven’t stopped Payne finding more than his share of handy horses.

Multiple Group 1 winner Montefilia, who is now with Chris Waller, is one of his star advertisements, bought for a relatively modest $130,000 as a yearling and sold for $3.4 million last year to Yulong Investments.

Rag Queen is unlikely to reach the same heights as her former barn mate, but she showed her share of ability on debut at Canterbury, settling back and relishing a fast tempo to weave through the field and storm home to score.

Payne admits the win came as a surprise as he believes Rag Queen will be much better at three and stretched out to a mile.

“I thought she’d run in the first five (on debut), so she did surprise me. It might be flattering too, because they went flat out that day and were cutting each other’s throats,” Payne said.

“I’ve always thought she was a miler from day one, but she’s in it, and if she runs in the first five, I’d be very pleased.

“It’s probably not the ideal race for her, I think she wants further, but for $2 million you’ve got to have a crack.”

Rag Queen will race in the familiar red, white and royal blue colours carried by many of Payne’s horses.

The silks belong to owner Wayne Shelton, who has been with the stable for almost 20 years and has enjoyed luck with the likes of multiple stakes placegetter Madibagold and more recently, Fox Fighter and Bazooka.

“He’s my main client,” Payne said.

“He’s such a good bloke, I just want to win him a Group 1 somewhere and then I’d be happy.”

The are no Group 1 events on Saturday, but a $2 million race might suffice in the interim.

– RAS NewsWire

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