Three days after Flying Artie’s pink and black colours sizzled down the Flemington straight to win a Group One race, Countess Marinov is set to carry their hopes at Flemington.
Flying Artie beat one of the strongest fields of three-year-old sprinters in recent memory in Saturday’s Coolmore Stud Stakes with Hugh Bowman donning the pink silks with black spots.
Countess Marinov is also raced in partnership by former NSW Police Minister Paul Whelan, Wilf Mula and his wife Rosemary.
Trainer David Payne says the five-year-old mare has a tough task ahead of her in the Group Three Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes (1400m), the final race on Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington, rather than the Listed Ladies’ Day Cup at Hawkesbury on Thursday.
“It was the owners’ call to go there. If she runs a place she becomes more valuable by getting black-type,” Payne said.
After starting her career with Gerald Ryan Countess Marinov had one start for Payne before spending time under Flying Artie’s trainer Mick Price.
She returned to Payne’s yard in search of a city win earlier in the year.
He ticked that off in the first start of her second stint when she won at Warwick Farm on September 14.
Since then she has run fourth twice and was runner-up to Daysee Doom at Randwick on October 22.
“She was a little bit unlucky last start, she probably should have won,” Payne said.
Payne said the horse pulled on apprentice jockey Deanne Payna, forcing her to lead.
Glyn Schofield gets the ride on Tuesday, fresh from his own Group One glory on Prized Icon in the Victoria Derby on Saturday.
“She won’t lead, she’ll be looking to get cover,” Payne said.
“Glyn will give her every chance.”
With the first cricket Test between Australia and the trainer and jockey’s native South Africa starting in Perth on Thursday, an upset win by Countess Marinov could give them early bragging rights.
“I hope we’re all good travellers,” Payne said.