Standing in the right place at the right time may have delivered trainer David Payne’s long-time client John Cordina his next Group One horse.
The two were next to each other at the Magic Millions yearling sale on the Gold Coast in January when Payne bought a High Chaparral colt for $130,000.
“I bought the horse to put my mates in it and he said ‘who’s that for?’ And I said ‘for me’,” Payne said.
Cordina convinced Payne to let him buy the horse which would become Ace High.
“He’s a very loyal client and he looks like he’s got a nice horse. He’s exciting,” Payne said.
Payne is confident Ace High will be competitive when he makes his debut in Saturday’s Pierro Plate (1100m) at Rosehill.
“They might be a little bit quick for him but he’s got a little bit of class,” Payne said.
“We want to race him because he’s such a headstrong horse.”
After Ace High won his first public barrier trial at Rosehill on October 14, Payne opted to educate him further by giving him a quieter time in his second outing on October 25.
The colt’s versatility impressed his trainer.
“When a stayer shows you that, they could be a little bit special,” Payne said.
While Ace High doesn’t shape as a Golden Slipper prospect, next year’s Group One Champagne Stakes (1600m) is a potential target and Derbys could be on the agenda at three.
“I think he’s going to be a lovely Classic horse later,” Payne said.
“You’ve just got to look at him, he’s the most magnificent horse.”
Ace High is out of an unraced Redoute’s Choice mare and Payne has praise for the extended bloodline.
“It’s a hell of a family,” he said.
Cordina has raced a number of horses with Payne including Gallant Tess and Centennial Park who both competed at the top level.
Ace High’s arrival is timely for Payne after last year’s Champagne Stakes runner-up Chimboraa was sold to Hong Kong for $1.4 million earlier in the year.
And he is a potential replacement for superstar Criterion, the 2014 Rosehill Guineas and Australian Derby winner for Payne before being transferred to David Hayes and Tom Dabernig later that year.