Payne on a High With Ace Delivery

Sydney raider Ace High (Aus) (High Chaparral {Ire}) gave trainer David Payne a longed-for victory in Australia’s oldest Classic, the A$1.5 million G1 AAMI Victoria Derby, making a wide charge down the Flemington straight to lead home Sully (NZ) (Reliable Man {GB}), with Astoria (Aus) (Medaglia d’Oro) and Pissaro (Aus) (Pierro {Aus}) completing the minor places.

From a steady early pace, Weather With You (Aus) (Teofilo {Ire}) took up the running down the back stretch, cranking up the tempo to open up a clear lead rounding the turn until eventually being run down by Sully 300 metres from home. The grey–one of three Derby runners for Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young, didn’t hold his advantage for long, however, as Ace High rallied under a strong drive from Tye Angland to win going away by two lengths.

“I’ve always thought this was the right one,” said Payne, who has twice trained the runner-up of the VRC Derby, with Praecido (NZ) finishing second to Lion Tamer (NZ) in 2010 and Criterion (Aus) filling the same spot three years later.

The trainer continued, “He hasn’t had one hiccup, and that doesn’t usually happen, and he got a good draw so it just worked out perfectly.”

Ace High came into the race on the back of consecutive victories in the G3 Gloaming S. on Sep. 23, followed by his first top-level strike in the G1 Champion S. on Oct. 7.

“That’s why we didn’t run him in between as he’d had two hard races but he had fresh legs today and it worked out,” Payne explained. “I’ve always wanted to win a Group 1 at Flemington, especially at the Carnival as the atmosphere here is so fantastic. But I’m getting older and I thought it would never happen, but now it’s happened.”

Tye Angland was the man who helped to deliver the Classic success for Payne, but not before some consternation in the mid stages of a stop-start race. He said, “It’s obviously a big thrill but around the 800-metre mark I was thinking I was in trouble. It was just the pace of the race. I’ve said how well he relaxes but when you’re in a bunched field like that and they steady up, then they took off and it just fired my horse up. I couldn’t hold him any more so I let him roll into it, but I tried to hold onto to him to get the trip. He could go round again though, he’s pulled up really well.”

Payne is already looking ahead to a return to Victoria for the Spring Carnival next year, with the colt’s obvious staying potential making him a potential candidate for the 2018 G1 Emirates Melbourne Cup. “Why not–we can’t die wondering,” he said. “If he’s around then we’ll have a crack.”


Pedigree Notes…

High Chaparral died just a few months after his most recent Classic winner was born, the late Coolmore stallion having enjoyed notable success with his Australasian runners, which also include another VRC Derby winner, Monaco Consul (NZ).

Bred by Bruce Reid Racing, Ace High is the fourth foal of the unraced Redoute’s Choice (Aus) mare Come Sunday (Aus), a half-sister to the black-type winners That’s A Good Idea (Aus) (Flying Spur {Aus}) and Kneeling (Aus) (Encosta De Lago {Aus}). Come Sunday returned to High Chaparral in 2014 and has a 2-year-old filly by him, while her yearling colt is by Hallowed Crown (Aus). Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.


Saturday, Flemington, Australia
VICTORIA DERBY-G1, A$1,510,000 (US$1,155,675/£883,838/ €995,266), VRC, 11-04, 3yo, Open Set Weight, 2500mT, 2:37.55, gd.
1–ACE HIGH, 55.5, c, 3, by High Chaparral (Ire)
                1st Dam: Come Sunday, by Redoute’s Choice
                2nd Dam: Sunday Service, by Sunday Silence (USA)
                3rd Dam: Lady’s Delight (SAf), by Local Talent (USA)
(A$130,000 Ylg ’16 MM Gold Coast Yearling Sale).
O-Summertime Thoroughbreds (Mgr: J Cordina); B-Bruce Reid
Racing (NSW); T-David Payne; J-T Angland; A$910,000.
Lifetime Record: 12-4-1-0, A$1,408,375. Click for the
   eNicks report 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: A+++.
   *Triple Plus*.
2–Sully (NZ), 55.5, g, 3, Reliable Man (GB)–Lady Winifred (NZ),
by Casual Lies (USA). (NZ$36,000 Ylg 2016 NZB National
Yearling Sale). O-K G Burgess A Kheir; B-G M Mrs G M
Hewson, Central, NZ; T-T Busuttin N Young; J-J Bowman;
3–Astoria, 55.5, c, 3, Medaglia d’Oro (USA)–Segue, by Ad
Valorem (USA). O-Godolphin; B-Darley NSW; T-James
Cummings; J-Damian Lane; A$135,000.
Margins: 2, HD, HF. Odds: 6.00, 6.50, 7.00.
Also Ran: Pissaro, Main Stage (NZ) , Aberro, Wolfe Tone (NZ) , Weather With You, Eshtiraak, Ocean’s Fourteen (NZ) , Tangled, Rockarral, Greycliffe (NZ) , Nothing Too Hard, Justice Faith, Johnny Vinko (NZ). Click for the Racing Post chart.

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