Trainer eyes spring classics with bargain buys
IN THIS era where $1 million yearlings are commonplace, Toulouse and Silent Explorer, who ran the quinella for the David Payne stable in the opener at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, are proof THAT owners don't need to pay a fortune to secure a quality racehorse.
Payne is renowned for his "eye" for young horses and he secured Toulouse for $50,000 and Silent Explorer for just $18,000 as yearlings.
"They have already paid their way, the owners are in front and the best part is that both horses are only going to get better,'' Payne said.
"I think they are classic horses next season, particularly Toulouse. They are promising horses and we will run them in the same races we ran Ace High last year.
"I've got no doubts they will both stay - their father (Lope De Vega) won a (French) Derby.''
Ace High won the Spring Champion Stakes-Victoria Derby Group 1 double last year and both Toulouse and Silent Explorer will be given the chance to try and emulate their celebrated stablemate as three-year-olds.
"I'll give them one more run before they have a short break and then I'll get them ready for the spring,'' Payne said.
Toulouse ($4.40) proved too strong for Silent Explorer ($12), scoring by 1½ lengths as the duo drew right away from their rivals in the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1400m).
Ronstar, the $2.40 favourite, was trying to protect his unbeaten record but after leading into the straight he could not respond when challenged and tired for third, three lengths further back.
For top jockey Jason Collett it was his 54th Sydney winner for the season and he described Toulouse as a "lovely horse".
"I rode him last preparation during the start of the autumn and it came too soon for him,'' Collett said.
"David's given him a little more time to develop and gelded him too, which helped him and he's come back nice. In more time he'll be even better."
Collett said Toulouse's win was "very soft" and he was convinced the gelding would improve as he got out in race distance.
"He was off the bridle most of the way but came back under me at the 500m at the right time of the race,'' Collett said.
"It was just a matter of giving him clear air from that point. The further the better for him."
Toulouse had struggled earlier in the season but Payne said there were genuine excuses for the youngster.
"He had has a lot of blood issues, a lot of problems and I had to put him away,'' Payne said.
"I told the owners we weren't winning so let's give him a break and geld him because he's such a big horse.
"Since he has come back into the stables, he has been a different horse. I think he will make the grade as a three-year-old.''
Ronstar appeared to have every chance and trainer Gary Portelli suggested his youngster might have come to the end of his debut preparation.