While admitting there’s still a way to go before the 2013 Caulfield Guineas rolls around this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, trainer Patrick Payne is hoping his weekend winner Late Charge can make the grade after their nice effort at Flemington.
It is an ambitious aim but the $1 million Group 1 BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 12 is certainly on the Plumpton-based Payne’s radar for his undefeated Hard Spun colt Late Charge.
The two-year-old debuted at Echuca on July 8 and was in the papers straight away after a tidy five length effort.
They bought that form to the big city on Saturday too when Late Charge ($8.50) scored an impressive two and a half length win over the brave Peter Snowden-trained Traditional ($13), who flew from the back of the field into their second place position, in the $80,000 Riverdale Inglis Bonus Plate (1400m).
“I hoped he would (measure up), he was very impressive at Echuca but don’t know if they’re going to take the next step,” Payne said.
“He’s just got such a great attitude, though, I had a feeling that he would.”
Ridden by Mark Zahra, who collected his first metro win on Saturday since coming back from hip surgery, Late Charge relished their nice barrier three draw and the give out of the course which was rated a Slow (7).
Getting into a nice mid-field position they flew down the straight and were able to hold strong over the final 200 metres.
While they were not eligible for the $100,000 Inglis Bonus on offer to the winner they did take out the $48,000 first prize as well as the $21,000 VOBIS Gold Owners Bonus for connections and a $14,000 VOBIS Gold carrot.
“VOBIS has always been great but this VOBIS Gold is fantastic,” Payne added.
“This is a great way for the owners to get a good return.”
Payne is excited to see what the horse has up their sleeve next and is hoping the Caulfield Guineas 2013 will be more than just a pipe dream.
“It is winter time, though, so we don’t want to get carried away,” Payne said.
“If he pulls up we’ll maybe head towards the (Caulfield) Guineas and if he shows he’s good enough we’ll go for it, but if he’s not we can avoid it.”
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