Ace High could finally provide a Group One-winning hand for trainer David Payne and long-time supporter John Cordina in the Spring Champion Stakes.
The High Chaparral colt looks equipped to succeed at Randwick over 2000m on Saturday in the 2017 Spring Champion Stakes and eclipse the combination’s other horses that have not quite measured up at elite level.
Centennial Park went closest for the duo in the 2011 Chipping Norton Stakes, where he was beaten a head by Danleigh.
Gallant Tess also had minor placings in the George Main, Epsom Handicap, Coolmore Classic and Chipping Norton Stakes.
Payne, who moved to Sydney in 2002, thought Ace High had Group One potential from his opening barrier trial and a 1-1/4 length win in the Group Three Gloaming Stakes (1800m) on September 23 reaffirmed that view.
“He should stay all day on his breeding,” Payne said.
“We’ve been waiting for the distance races, building him up to it.”
Ace High worked well on Tuesday morning and is the TAB favourite at $3.50 in a field of 10.
“We’re happy, he’s ticking over. I’d think he’ll be thereabouts for sure,” he said.
“I’d like to get John (Cordina) a Group One, he deserves it. He’s been with me from 2003 onwards,” he said.
Payne last won a Group One with Criterion in the 2014 Australian Derby, and Ace High is aiming for next year’s edition.
Jockey Tye Angland is also confident after Ace High’s effort in the Gloaming Stakes.
“He hit the line strong the other day. The best thing about him is he’s going to go forward and put himself into the race,” he said.
“He’s not really banking on luck, he makes his own luck by putting himself there.
“I know he can stay and a few others have a little bit of a question mark.”
“As a two-year-old he was a bit raw and immature, time has definitely helped him.”
Ace High drew barrier four while Payne’s other runner Colesberg, who was eighth in the Gloaming Stakes, jumps from gate three with Jason Collett.
Godolphin colt Sanctioned was runner-up in the Gloaming Stakes and has an opportunity to avenge that defeat from the outside alley as the $4.60 second elect.
Leading trainer Chris Waller will rely on Tangled ($6), a close fourth in last Saturday’s Listed Dulcify Quality, while Coral Coast ($15) is the only filly among the acceptors.