David Payne has no qualms about running young horses over a distance – but it appears he’s on his own.
Payne was the only trainer to nominate a two-year-old in the Significant Stakes (1900m) at Rosehill when entries were taken on Monday.
Saturday’s race is also open to three-year-olds with the other 13 nominations in that age group.
“If they’ve got the genes why not run them,” Payne said.
“The Melbourne Cup is the richest race in the country and we don’t breed or develop the stayers.
“It doesn’t make sense.”
The Payne-trained Over The Air will represent the juveniles after an encouraging second in the Significant Prelude (1500m) on June 8 when he picked himself up and hit the line strongly after being blocked for a run at the top of the straight.
Over The Air is by Artie Schiller, a champion over middle distances in the United States out of Miracletto, a mare by Fuji Kiseki.
His trainer believes he has all the attributes to be a stayer and Saturday’s late season race will give a guide to where he can go in the spring.
“He will be better later but this will give us something to go by,” Payne said.
“If he steps up we can then set him for the Victoria Derby and other staying races.
“He is a nice relaxed horse which you need for a stayer. It means they don’t use too much energy.”
Payne will make a final decision after Over The Air works on Tuesday morning which is also the deadline for any extra entries.
The trainer will also have Foreign Prince running on his home track in the Benchmark 85 over 1200 metres.
The 27 entries for that race are headed by the Chris Waller-trained Said Com who has not lived up to his Group One second in the 2012 Randwick Guineas won by Mosheen.