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Rosehill horseman David Payne is tipping big things for his Victoria Derby winner Ace High this autumn but believes the 2018 Expressway Stakes on Saturday will be too short for the gun young stayer.
A three-year-old son of High Chaparral, Ace High kicks off his autumn carnival this weekend at his home Rosehill Gardens track in the Group 2 $200,000 Expressway Stakes (1200m).
Fifth to Golden Rose winner Trapeze Artist in a 900m Rosehill hit-out that also featured Winx and Redzel from January 22, Ace High races for the first time since saluting by two lengths at Flemington on November 4 in the Group 1 $1.5 million Victoria Derby (2500m).
That was the colt’s third win on the trot and his second at elite level after the narrow Group 1 $500,000 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) success at Randwick last October.
A good performer fresh, Ace High is yet to win over less than 1400m and so Payne is not tipping him to win when resuming on Saturday.
“Saturday’s race will be too short for him over 1200 metres but he’s going so well he will hurt himself if he doesn’t start now,” Payne told AAP.
“The race will just take the edge off him and then we look to the longer races.
“Even though he only had four-and-a-half weeks out he has actually matured and is a bigger, stronger horse.”
The bookmakers agree that the best will come from Ace High later this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival over more distance.
The early pre-field Expressway Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au currently list the VRC Derby champ as a $26 outsider for the win.
All-in Expressway Stakes betting is an open affair with the dual Group 1 winning mare Global Glamour currently leading markets at $3.20.
She is followed closely by Gerald Ryan’s returning Snitzel colt Trapeze Artist ($4.20), the lightly-raced Bjorn Baker-trained Savabeel colt Addictive Nature ($4.60) and his consistent stablemate Egyptian Symbol ($4.60).
As for Ace High’s future autumn plans, Payne is eyeing a second-up run in the Group $400,000 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) back at Rosehill on February 24.
From there the proven Derby winner will stick to the three-year-old staying races with likely runs in the Group 1 $1 million Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 10 and Group 1 $600,000 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) a fortnight later before a shot at the 2018 ATC Derby.
The Group 1 $2 million ATC Australian Derby (2400m) runs at Royal Randwick on Day 1 of ‘The Championships’, April 7, and is a race Payne won back in 2014 with Criterion.
If not the Australian Derby, Ace High’s connections are considering the following Saturday’s Group 1 $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) should Winx miss the event.
The official Expressway Stakes 2018 field is out on Wednesday followed by updated odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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