Top Randwick trainer David Payne is preparing to make a double-pronged attack on the lucrative Inglis Classic 2012 at Rosehill Gardens this Saturday, but he remains grounded over the chances his duo have of upsetting boom favourite Diamond Earth.
A race restricted to two-year-old Inglis Sales graduates, the $250,000 Inglis Classic (1200m) runs as Rosehill Race 3 on Saturday and the final field features 14 hopefuls.
Two of those come from Payne’s stables with Risky Blonde and Chez Harmony.
Both youngsters have previous race experience, but Risky Blonde is the only one to have broken their maiden status so far.
The daughter of 2007 Golden Slipper runner-up Zizou won over 1000 metres at Gosford on debut back on December 29 before finishing seven and a half lengths away fifth to Gai Waterhouse’s current 2012 Blue Diamond Stakes favourite Raceway ($4.40 Luxbet) in the Warwick Farm 100 Club Plate (1000m) on January 7.
On Saturday Risky Blonde has drawn wide in barrier 11 with regular rider for Darley Kerrin McEvoy booked for the ride, and she is Payne’s pick of the two.
“She would be the one out of my two,” Payne said.
“She is a little bit more forward at this stage.”
Chez Harmony, due to be ridden by Corey Brown, faired a little better in the Inglis Classic barrier draw, the well-bred Choisir-Harmonia filly to start from gate eight.
She has had two starts to date running sixth to Hussousa in the Listed Gimcrack Stakes (1000m) at Randwick last October before her disappointing resuming run when beaten nine lengths to finish seventh behind Catkins at Kembla Grange on January 11.
“She got quite worked up at the barriers last start so you can disregard that run,” Payne said.
“She would never have won but she should have finished a couple of lengths closer.”
Chez Harmony is also the most expensive yearling purchase running in this year’s Inglis Classic, connections having secured them for $100,000.
Of this year’s Inglis Classic acceptors it is Anthony Cummings’ daughter of Choisir Diamond Earth, purchased for $60,000 from last year’s Sydney Classic Yearling Sale, who looks to have a stranglehold over the feature.
A winner of her last two starts, Diamond Earth was last seen running away to win the Inglis Nursery (1000m) at Warwick Farm on December 17 beating Gai Waterhouse’s $675,000 splurge De Shamekh.
If she lives up to the hype and the punters’ predictions with an Inglis Classic victory on Saturday, Diamond Earth will become the third filly in as many years to secure the Inglis Nursery – Classic double following since-retired Chance Bye who won the inaugural Inglis Classic in 2010 and the John Thompson-trained Pane In The Glass (2011).
Payne, however, believes that Diamond Earth is vulnerable stepping up to the 1200 metres, a sentiment expressed by a few of the other rival trainers including Brett Thompson who prepares unraced Librettist filly Classical Melody.
“I don’t know much about Anthony’s filly but I’m not sure how she will go at the 1200 metres,” Payne said.
The horse Payne is most aware of on Saturday is the Gerald Ryan-trained Charge Forward filly Cavalry Rose who goes to race conditions for the first time following a blistering four and a half length trial win over 900m at Rosehill on January 6.
“I’ve heard Gerald Ryan has got quite a good one,” Payne said.
Stay tuned for all the latest Inglis Classic updates, including the exclusive Races.com.au tips on the Rosehill clash.