Saturday’s $250,000 Inglis Classic might not be a race for the purists but trainer David Payne believes it is a great incentive for owners.
“It encourages people to buy horses so why not?” Payne said.
“They get a chance to get some early money back.”
The lucrative 1200-metre event, to be run for the third time on Saturday, is restricted to horses bought at the previous year’s Inglis Classic Yearling Sale.
It already has a handy honour roll with Chance Bye and Pane In The Glass the previous winners.
Payne will saddle up two of the 14 starters, Chez Harmony and Risky Blonde, but is hopeful rather than confident.
Risky Blonde is one of just three runners to have won a race after scoring over 1000 metres at Gosford last month.
Payne took her to town and she finished fifth to boom youngster Raceway at Warwick Farm on January 7.
“She would be the one out of my two,” Payne said.
“She is a little bit more forward at this stage.”
Risky Blonde, by 2007 Golden Slipper runner-up Zizou, was a $70,000 yearling purchase while Chez Harmony, who cost $100,000, is the most expensive horse in the race.
A daughter of Choisir, Chez Harmony wasn’t disgraced in a tough race on debut when sixth in the Gimcrack Stakes and Payne said she had excuses when seventh to the impressive Catkins at Kembla Grange first-up.
“She got quite worked up at the barriers last start so you can disregard that run,” Payne said.
“She would never have won but she should have finished a couple of lengths closer.”
Both Payne’s runners have drawn awkwardly with Risky Blonde in barrier 11 and Chez Harmony gate eight.
The Anthony Cummings-trained Diamond Earth has also drawn wide in nine in her quest to emulate Chance Bye and Pane In The Glass who both won the Inglis Nursery in the lead-up.
Diamond Earth showed blistering speed to win the Nursery (1000m) at Warwick Farm but Payne cast doubts over her ability to extend that to 1200 metres at Rosehill.
He believes the hardest to beat might be one of the unraced brigade in the Gerald Ryan-prepared Cavalry Rose, an impressive winner of her only barrier trial.
“I’ve heard Gerald Ryan has got quite a good one,” Payne said.
“I don’t know much about Anthony’s filly but I’m not sure how she will go at the 1200 metres.”
As for Payne’s thoughts on his pair: “We’re hoping.”