Victorian trainer Patrick Payne is feeling the pressure ahead of Sunday’s Hobart Cup 2013 after his in-form raider Fieldmaster drew disastrously wide with barrier 16 of 16.
The Black Minnaloushe gelding was one of 16 final acceptors for this year’s edition of the $225,000 Group 3 AAMI Hobart Cup (2400m) which is one of the highlights of the annual Tasmanian Summer Racing Carnival.
Until the Hobart Cup barrier draw this week where they were allocated the extreme outside gate Fieldmaster was one of the major chances in market likely to be dominated by Mick Burles’ Summer Cup winner The Cleaner.
Both The Cleaner and Fieldmaster however suffered a blow with double digit gates 11 and 16 respectively opening up this year’s Hobart Cup.
The always-honest Fieldmaster contested last year’s race and, from barrier two, was able to cross a credible fifth beaten two lengths by Geegees Blackflash on the back of a win in the Jockey Club Cup at the same track.
They would also go onto finish a brave third to Prevailing in last year’s Group 3 Launceston Cup (2400m) which is held this year on Wednesday February 27.
The past 12 months however has been one of spells and setbacks after they failed miserably back home in Melbourne during the winter before spending over seven months on the sidelines.
For their resuming run they were taken back to Tassie where they enjoyed a confidence boosting first-up victory in the Devonport Cup (1880m) on the synthetic.
From there they ran a good third to The Cleaner in the Summer Cup (2100m) at Hobart before their last start second to last year’s Hobart Cup winner Geegees Blackflash when unsuccessfully defending their title in the Jockey Club Cup (2200m).
Sunday sees them face all the usual suspects including their last-start conqueror the John Luttrell-trained Geegees Blackflash who also has their work cut out for them if they are to go back-to-back in the Hobart Cup having been allocated the 59.5kg and gate 14.
While confident his horse is in top form and that the drop back from 59kg last start to 55kg under the handicap conditions of the weekend’s race, Payne knows that everything must go Fieldmaster’s way from their horror barrier.
“He is in very good order,” Payne said.
“He seems to be peaking for this race and he is well weighted but you can’t be too confident with him because he can be a bit of a tricky horse.
“When everything goes his way he is pretty hard to beat but he can let you down on occasions as well.
“We thought he was peaking for the day and dropping in weight and then he drew barrier 16.
“That’s just the hand we were dealt and we will make do with what it is.
“It’s a very hard assignment from barrier 16. If he spring boards the start he can go forward, if he comes out ordinary he will have to go back.”
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