The past few weeks have been testing for trainer David Payne with the loss of one of the stars of his stable and the possible retirement of the best.
Last month Group Two winner Tarka collapsed when he got to the racetrack and later died while dual Group One winner Ace High lost form after his solid sixth in the Australian Cup in March and was slated for retirement.
His owner John Cordina would like to find a home at stud for Ace High, winner of the 2017 Spring Champion Stakes and Victoria Derby, but he may find his way back to Payne at Rosehill.
“He will come back into work if he can’t find a home at stud,” Payne said.
“People in Australia don’t want to breed stayers so the best bet would be New Zealand but so far nothing has eventuated.”
Payne, who has reduced his stable numbers over the past couple of years by on-selling or retiring older horses, heads to Randwick on Saturday with two-year-old debutant Dream Circle who runs over 1000m on the Kensington track.
“He’s a nice little horse but it might be too soon for him,” Payne said.
“But his latest trial was really good behind a good horse so we will give him a go and see what happens.”
In the most recent of his three trials, Dream Circle ran second to the more experienced Accession, the winner of two of his five starts and second to subsequent Group One winner Castelvecchio in the Inglis Millennium in February.
Dream Circle will be Payne’s only runner at the meeting but he still has a couple of youngsters, Fasano and Peralta, in the mix for feature races at the Brisbane winter carnival.
“We’ll see how they go. They may still head up there,” Payne said.
“Unfortunately Tarka was going to be my main hope in Brisbane.”