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Image: Bruno Cannatelli

“We’ve been at the Sunshine Coast for a couple of months now. Smokin’ Piero was our first runners up here (on Sunday). He did well for a stayer resuming over the mile, carrying 60kg.”

That was Michelle Payne’s stable foreperson Nikita Beriman’s happy assessment … both on being in the Sunshine State and of the performance of Payne’s first runner since the stable set up a satellite yard in Queensland.

“It’s beautiful here. We love it,” continued Berriman. “it’s so good.

“There are plenty of places to work and the beaches are not far away … so there are plenty of options for our horses.

“I’m actually a bit of a Queenslander. I was born in Victoria, but I grew up here … so I’m saying I’m a Queenslander!”

As far as the proposed makeup and flow of the stables Queensland runners is concerned, Beriman offered this early perspective.

“There will be a movement of horses between our stables, but we’ve got our horses that we purchased at the Inglis Sales earlier on this year … they are two-year-olds … just coming back now, so I’m assuming we’ll mostly have new ones coming through, but also a couple of old ones that need to get away from the freezing cold in Melbourne.

“At the minute we have got four in work up here with only Smokin’ Piero racing, but we will be extending those numbers soon.

“I think Templar is coming up. He’ll be a nice one to have here. He won very impressively last start.

“Michelle is heavily involved,” continued Berriman. “We run everything past each other a hundred million times a day. Obviously, I am new at the caper. I am still learning and obviously I will continue to learn, but if I have any questions, it is … Michelle, what do I do here, what do I do there.

“Like I say, Michelle is very much involved. If it wasn’t for Covid, she would have been here on Sunday.

“Michelle and I have been friends for twenty years. We trust each other.

“This wasn’t a decision taken lightly by either party, but we put our heads together and said let’s do it!”

 
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