David Payne is hoping Silent Explorer can follow in familiar footsteps as he continues his racing career at Warwick Farm.
The Rosehill trainer has an affinity with Silent Explorer’s sire Lope De Vega since buying Be Like Dad, a now five-year-old who has earned $221,000 prize money.
French Fern, the 2016 Group Two Reisling Stakes winner, followed and this season Toulouse and Heavenly Thunder have been to the races.
Payne bought Silent Explorer for $18,000 at the Scone sale and is confident he has a bargain.
“Lope De Vega is a top sire and we got him (Silent Explorer) cheap,” he said.
The winner of the 2010 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby), Lope De Vega shuttled to Australia for four seasons and his progeny includes dual Group One winner Vega Magic.
Silent Explorer started his career sooner than planned at Rosehill on May 19, when he was unplaced in a two-year-old race over 1200m behind promising trio Ronstar, River Bird and Canyonero.
“I wasn’t really going to run him that day but the owners asked me to run him because it was a small field,” Payne said.
“He surprised me by finishing so close because he was quite fat and only about 70 per cent fit.”
Silent Explorer finished 4-3/4 lengths behind Ronstar after running wide in the early stages.
Payne is predicting significant improvement from the gelding in the #Theraces Plate (1200m) on Wednesday.
“I expect him to run well although he’s going to be better as a three-year-old, and once he steps up to the 1600 (metres),” he said.
Silent Explorer was a $9.50 chance on Tuesday and Payne believed the TAB had the right favourite, the unraced Sir Owen ($2).
The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained colt owned by New Zealand businessman Sir Owen Glenn, heads to the races after three trials against the likes of Group One J J Atkins favourite The Autumn Sun and leading contender Zousain.
“It’s a competitive field. That one of the Snowden’s looks good. He’s a well-bred horse, Criterion’s half-brother,” Payne said.
Criterion won the Rosehill Guineas and Australian Derby in 2014 when trained by Payne and then doubled his Group One tally with victories in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Caulfield Stakes for Lindsay Park in 2015.