If there is one thing David Payne has learned about horses during his long and decorated career, it is never to judge them on one run.
For that reason, Payne is taking a cautious approach with two-year-old Montebello’s Charm, who steps up to Saturday grade in the Precise Air Handicap (1400m) at Randwick after a debut fourth over 1100m at Kensington.
The distance rise looks perfect for the youngster, who showed little speed out of the gates to settle last at his first start before motoring down the outside and making up many lengths.
A plain trackworker, Montebello Charm’s performance came as a surprise to the stable and Payne wants to see him back it up.
“Let’s see if he reproduces. I always like to see their second run,” Payne said.
“It might have been flattering because they went so fast that horses had to finish off.
“But it should bring him on, and it will be an interesting guide to see how much he has improved.”
While Payne is still feeling his way with Montebello’s Charm, he knows exactly what he is going to get from Fox Fighter in the PF Civil Handicap (1100m).
The consistent three-year-old has been thereabouts in three of his four starts this campaign, highlighted by a third behind subsequent Doomben 10,000 winner Mazu in February and a last-start fourth at the Hawkesbury stand-alone meeting.
While Fox Fighter is more adept on firmer ground, he has been coping with Sydney’s spate of wet tracks and Payne says he can never be discounted.
“He would prefer a good track but it’s what we’ve got and it is going to be like this for months. You can’t leave him in the box,” he said.
“He has always got a winning chance because he tries his best. It will just come down to luck in running.”