A tenacious win by Honorius in the Group Three Craven Plate at Randwick has confirmed a trip to Melbourne for the well-bred four-year-old
Trainer David Payne doesn’t believe Honorius can match it with the elite but is confident he can find a winnable Group One race to secure the horse’s stud future.
Honorius is a half-brother to 2011 South African champion Igugu and Payne is hoping the horse’s family connection will attract a buyer from the trainer’s home country.
Well found by punters who backed him from $4.40 to $3.70 late, Honorius hit the front in the straight and held off the challenge from the favourite Masked Marvel ($2.90) by a short neck with Vaquera ($12) 1-1/2 lengths third.
“I think 2000 metres is his optimum and he is just below the best,” Payne said.
“He will go to Melbourne for some of those Listed and Group 2000-metre races.
“We will look at the Mackinnon but that might be too strong.
“Perth later on is also an option.”
Jockey James McDonald said Honorius showed how tough he was.
“It was a tough effort,” he said. “”The others are probably stayers looking for further so he’s done well.”
Last year’s Melbourne Cup fourth Kelinni, who has recently recovered from a bout of colic, never got into the race and finished last of the seven runners, almost four lengths from the winner.
“When they picked up I couldn’t get him to go with them,” jockey Glyn Schofield said.
“He didn’t really find at all in the home run so he was disappointing.”
Trainer Chris Waller said Kelinni pulled up well and as long as nothing untoward was found, he would continue his preparation to the Caulfield Cup in two weeks.
A lugging bit helped Masked Marvel go straight in contrast to the Hill Stakes when he threw away any possibility of a win by veering left in the run to the line.