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A Kembla Grange maiden win might not ordinarily be considered a selling point for a horse tackling Saturday city grade, let alone the ATC Australian Derby.

But the low-profile form reference has added significance for the David Payne-trained Doc Holliday.

The three-year-old defeated Ritzy and Dawnie Perfect at Kembla in September.

Both placegetters earned trips to Melbourne for the spring carnival with Ritzy contesting the VRC Oaks while Dawnie Perfect won the Group Three Ethereal Stakes.

Payne didn’t go deep into the spring with Doc Holliday, instead opting to concentrate on a Group One Sydney autumn carnival goal.

“We’ve given him time to mature so now we’ll march onto the Derby,” Payne said.

“That’s the plan if all goes well.”

Doc Holliday is by noted sire of stayers High Chaparral out of the Danehill mare Fiammarosa.

He will take on eight rivals when he returns in the TAB More Than Just Winning Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday including last-start winner River Wild and Hierarchal who finished fourth in the Group One Spring Champion Stakes.

Payne says Doc Holliday will come into his own when he is stretched to a middle distance but expects him to be competitive first-up.

“It will be a bit short for him this week but he is fresh and he’ll run a cheeky race,” he said.

“I can’t wait to get him out to 2000 metres.”

 
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