Fresh from breaking a frustrating run of outs in stakes races, David Payne will bid to snare a trio of three-year-old features at Rosehill on Saturday.
Payne won the Group Two Sebring Sprint with the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes-bound Master Of Design last weekend but prior to that had endured seven second placings in stakes races since the start of the season.
Now he has broken his duck, Payne is hoping he can continue his winning run at Rosehill where he will saddle up good chances in each of the black-type races for three-year-olds.
Cocky Raider will spearhead his two-pronged attack on the Group Three Gloaming Stakes (1800m) in which he will also start King’s Pact.
He rates the former as his better chance, pointing to his autumn form which includes a second to Spring Stakes winner Darci Be Good in the Listed Fernhill Handicap in April.
“He’s got good form around Darci Be Good,” Payne said.
“It’s a nice race for him and he will improve on this run as well.”
Cocky Raider resumed with a solid fourth to Ambidexter in the Ming Dynasty (1400m) at Warwick Farm on September 3 and that form was franked on Wednesday when the Darley-owned galloper was an unlucky third in the Spring Stakes at Newcastle.
King’s Pact has had three runs back but his form has waned since an eye-catching first-up effort over 1400m in July.
He was third behind Darci Be Good and Gloaming fancy Strike The Stars over 1400m two starts ago then failed to fire last time out when seventh to Just The Tonic over the same trip.
Payne is banking on a quiet ride from Christian Reith and a rise in distance to help King’s Pact strike form.
“I have been a bit disappointed with him,” Payne said.
“He could improve up to the 1800 metres, we’ll just have to ride him quiet and get him to settle.”
Florentina has been among Payne’s string of stakes placegetters, finishing runner-up in the first two legs of the Princess Series – the Silver Shadow and Furious Stakes.
She has been beaten by narrow margins both times, most recently when she took up the unaccustomed role of pacemaker in the Furious and went down fighting to Streama.
Payne is hoping something else wants to lead in the Group Two Tea Rose Stakes (1500m) on Saturday.
“She’s well and as long as there is some speed in the race she will be competitive,” Payne said.
The Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m) caters for the sprinting three-year-olds and Payne will be represented by Al’s Magic Miss.
He will also chase feature race success with five-year-old Winter King in the Group Two Shorts (1200m) .