David Payne thought Ace High had Group One potential when he picked him out at the Magic Millions yearling sales.
And after a patient development, the talented High Chapparal colt is on the verge of fulfilling the Rosehill trainer’s prediction.
Ace High’s bold win in the Group Three Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Rosehill means the $1.5 million Victoria Derby is now a goal via the Spring Champion Stakes.
“It’s been the plan all along to get him to these races because this is where he shows his true potential,” Payne said as Ace High resisted the chasers to score by 1-1/4 lengths.
Payne bought the yearling for $130,000 last year
After Ace High won his first barrier trial at Rosehill last October, Payne decided he should be ridden quieter time in next outing.
That versatility impressed the trainer before Ace High was second on debut to Champagne Cuddles last spring, and adaptability will also be a key to his spring campaign.
“When a stayer shows you that, they could be a little bit special,” Payne said.
Payne wanted Tye Angland to set the pace and Ace High ($9) crossed to the front from barrier nine with the tactics working out perfectly.
All Day had a dig at Ace High before the turn but faded to 10th, leaving only $3.60 favourite Sanctioned to spearhead a forlorn pursuit.
Coral Coast ($21) was four lengths adrift in third.
“He’s adaptable. In the Derby we would be sitting a couple of lengths off,” Payne said.
The South African now has Ace High eyeing the Spring Champion (2000m) at Randwick on October 7.
“He’ll be better after this, he keeps going. He’s one of my better ones,” he said.
Angland was also impressed after Ace High provided Payne’s first stakes win of the season.
“He got attacked by one horse around the half mile. I knew he was coming. I just had to get him into his gears and he won well.”