Payne Hoping Clarendon Signals Bright Future For Trafalgar

Trainer David Payne is quietly confident Trafalgar Square is a horse we’ll be talking a bit about come her three-year-old season.

Trainer David Payne. (Pic: Steve Hart).

The filly has had a stop-start year but showed a glimpse of her talent last month when she scored a runaway maiden win at Canterbury, and on the back of that Payne elected to target Saturday’s St John’s Park Bowling Club Clarendon Stakes (1400m) at Hawkesbury.

It’s a race that often throws up a smart youngster, Zardozi was last year’s winner, and Payne said his filly is loaded with upside.

“I think she’s going to be above average, she could be in the decent fillies races once she gets up to the mile,’’ he said.

“That’s always been our hope and she’s shown that she’s got it so far.

“She’s had two viruses, that’s why you haven’t seen the best of her.

“Her debut run was very good, she was three deep the whole way and she fought on until about 50m out. When we were getting her ready again she got a virus, and we put her out, then she got another one.”

Payne is a little cautious about Trafalgar Square, $5 with TAB on Thursday, on a seriously wet track given her second-up failure in the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes on heavy ground at Randwick.

But given first use of the track and reasonable ground he’s confident she’s going to relish the extra distance having won so impressively at 1250m last start.

“I’d like her to get some cover in the first three or four,’’ he said.

“She’s by Churchill who is by Galileo so you wouldn’t think the 1400m will be a worry. The run before was a very wet track, she moved up and made an effort but she wasn’t happy.”

Another heavy track wouldn’t suit Agita so Payne has the fingers crossed for at least a soft track for his assignment in the Blakes Marine Handicap (1800m).

The gelding was unplaced in the Group 3 Carbine Club on Day 1 of The Star Championships but showed he’s back on track with his second behind the smart Redbreast at Kensington when back to 1400m.

“That filly was a bit too quick for him but I wanted to use that race to get him to 100 per cent, we thought he’d run well and he had 59.5kg so it was a good run,’’ he said.

“He was on the inside at Randwick and he looked like he was going to threaten but he wasn’t happy on the heavy track. He’s at his top now and I think he’ll be more comfortable at the 1800m.”

Meanwhile, Payne said expect State Of America to improve on whatever he does first-up in the Midway Handicap (1500m) but he’s one horse that track conditions aren’t important for.

“He’ll need the run and that will top him off nicely but he will run well,’’ he said.

“He trialled well the other day and if it’s wet that’s not an issue for him.”

– Racing NSW

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