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Widgee Turf makes his return in Saturday's Listed Bendigo Bank Stakes (1200m) at The Valley

As spring starts, many owners and trainers have big plans for their horses.

On the other hand there is Patrick Payne, a quiet achiever who is happy to pick off what he sees as achievable races.

Payne was a major player through the winter of the recently completed jumps season and has now switched his attention to the spring races.

His $1 million prize money earner Widgee Turf makes his return in Saturday’s Listed Strathmore Community Bendigo Bank Stakes (1200m) at The Valley.

After two midfield finishes in Group One races last preparation, beaten just over five lengths in The Doncaster and a little over four lengths in The Stradbroke, Payne has lowered his sights for the spring.

Those performances showed Payne Widgee Turf was not quite up to Group One level, but he said that may change if he gets a wet track during the spring.

Instead Payne is happy to aim at the VOBIS Gold races, which Widgee Turf has picked up wins in on two occasions along with a number of placings.

“Saturday will determine where we head,” Payne said.

“There’s plenty of options at 1400 metres and then there’s the VOBIS Gold race, the night before the Cox Plate.

“He’s just so well weighted in a race like that and then we can look at something like the Eclipse Stakes or even the Ballarat Cup.

“They’re achievable races for him, but if it comes up wet one day, he might be able to win a better race.

“He tries really hard and I won’t to put him in unachievable races so he doesn’t get disheartened.”

A gallop at Moonee Valley on Tuesday had Payne believing Widgee Turf was as good as ever with the prospects of a forward showing on Saturday.

“He’s normally not a good track worker but he worked well,” Payne said.

“And it got him out of the house for the day.

“He didn’t work that hard but going away for the day, it’s like having three gallops at home.”

 
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