Payne’s SA Derby Dreams for Praecido

Genuine stayer Praecido will begin preparations for a start in next month’s South Australian Derby as the David Payne-trained three-year-old lines up in a 2000m showdown at Randwick on Saturday.

One Cool Cat colt Praecido has failed to finish in the money since his Group 1 placings in the spring of last year.

Praecido showed great promise running third to Erewhon in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick in October and then coming in second on a bog track to Lion Tamer in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington.

To date Praecido has only won one of his 18 starts, but Payne is hoping that will change on Saturday as Praecido prepares to take on 11 rivals in the $125,00 Group 3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m) at Sydney Cup Day.

Drawn favourably in barrier four and due to be ridden by star hoop Corey Brown, Praecido will be looking to improve on his last start fourth to Shamrocker in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m).

Stepping back in class and distance gives Praecido a chance to add a second win to his name before heading to Adelaide for the SA Derby (2400m) at Morphettville on May 7.

“He’ll run well on Saturday,” Payne said.

“He’s freshened up since the (AJC) Derby and then he’ll go to Adelaide for the (SA) Derby in two weeks.

“It wasn’t originally the plan but it’s come about because it’s 2500 metres and it’s probably going to be a bit weaker class than the AJC Derby.

“That’s his mission at the moment (the SA Derby), but it all depends on how he goes on Saturday.”

Praecido is rated a $10 chance in the Frank Packer Plate markets lead by clear $2.70 favourite, the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fast Clip.

Other hopefuls ahead of Praecido in the betting are Waterhouse’s other runner Needs Further ($4) and Happy Trails ($9).

The Good Journey gelding Happy Trails is also being tipped by their trainer to show good form in the Frank Packer.

Coming off an eye-catching fourth to Needs Further in the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) on Derby Day, Adelaide-based trainer Paul Beshara is confident with Happy Trails going into Saturday’s race.

“He missed the start (in the Carbine) by two lengths and never got a run at any stage in the race and still ran on for fourth,” Beshara said.

“Damien (Oliver) thinks the 2000-metres this weekend will be no problem for him, he thinks he could even get 2400-metres if he had to.

“When luck comes his way I think you are going to have a horse to be reckoned with, he is a very good horse.”

Happy Trails is set to jump from barrier six and jockey Damien Oliver will continue his association with the three-year-old.