Plumpton horseman Patrick Payne is hoping for a return to form late this year from his former WA galloper Ihtsahymn who could head down to Tasmanian during the summer to target next February’s Hobart Cup 2016.
Formerly prepared in Perth by Fred Kersley, Ihtiram gelding Ihtsahymn has won seven of his 24 career starts to date for over $1 million in prize money.
He is best known for his star three-year-old season back in 2013 winning the Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m), Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) and the Group 2 CB Cox Stakes (2100m) on the trot.
Since then however his form has been more miss than hit, the now five-year-old winning just one race since and failing to finish inside the top three in any of his starts in Melbourne for former Cox Plate winning jockey turned trainer Payne.
Debuting in Victoria in early August with a fourth behind Charmed Harmony at Flemington, Ihtsahymn has been unplaced in his two subsequent Moonee Valley runs when beaten just over two lengths by The United States and Digitalism respectively over 1500m and 2040m.
He trialled at Cranbounre on Monday and ran seventh of eight runners over 800m behind Nordic Empire, with Payne looking at a November 21 return Saturday week on Ballarat Cup Day.
All going well over the next couple of months and Ihtsahymn could be Tasmanian-bound for a shot at the $225,000 Group 3 Hobart Cup (2400m) over the mile and a half on February 8.
“He might kick off on Ballarat Cup Day just in a 1200m race,” Payne, who rode Kersley’s dual Cox Plate winner Northerly to victory for his second in 2002, told Racing Victoria on Monday.
“What we’re planning on doing is if he can win a couple of Saturday races, that’d be great.
“If he’s going good enough to warrant a trip over to Tasmania for the Hobart Cup, that’d be great as well.
“He’d probably have a good four runs before that. If he wins a Saturday race in town, that’d be great, and that probably warrants he’s good enough to go.”
While happy with the horse’s work, Payne is wary that the galloper might not bring that same good form to the races.
“I’m really happy with him, but he worked pretty well last preparation as well,” the Cox Plate-winning jockey said.
“He seemed to travel really well in his races from the 600m to the 200m, but the last 200m he wasn’t gritting his teeth.
“We’ve just got to work on his confidence, and try and get him back into winning form.”
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