Payne to make Addington return

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

Sam Payne is looking forward to getting his season underway at Addington Raceway on Wednesday, and there will be some added excitement to the meeting for the young trainer.

Top Of The Hill will be the Southbridge horseman’s first runner of the season and he is excited to see what his colt can do on debut in the More FM 2YO Mobile Trot (1980m).

“It is going to be a big learning curve for him. It’s going to be his third time off the property,” said Payne, who also part-owns the son of What The Hill.

“He had a wee gallop at the trials last week, he was in amongst the field and he just got a wee bit keen.

“We thought we would press on and take him to the races, it will be more experience for him.

“I think if he gets around in one piece he will be thereabouts.”

Payne purchased the juvenile out of Woodlands Stud’s 2021 New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred National Yearling Sale draft at Karaka last year for $10,000, and he said he has been pleasantly surprised by the precocity shown by his colt.

“I was up at Auckland and I was standing by the ring and no one really wanted him,” Payne said.

“I couldn’t see too much wrong with him so I put my hand up and I had him.

“He was a big, strong horse, and it looked to me like he was going to take a little bit of time, but he has developed into a really nice horse. He does everything right and has a lovely way of trotting.”

The half-brother to Group One performer One Muscle Hill may just have the one start before heading to the spelling paddock in preparation for loftier targets later this year.

“I do think quite a lot of him,” Payne said. “We were just going to give him the one start to see how he handles it.

“Most of the bigger races are later in the year, so he is probably going to go to the paddock for a wee while and let him furnish into a nicer horse, bring him back later in the season and see how he shapes up.”

Meanwhile, Payne will have his first drive of the season behind Pembrook’s Princess in the IRT. Your Horse. Our Passion. Mobile Pace (1980m).

“She hasn’t really had any good draws,” he said. “She has landed the one draw and I’d say she is going to get a nice, cosy trip. She should be there or thereabouts, it’s not an overly strong field.

“I think Dad’s other one (Cut Glass) is the one to beat, but with racing you never know.”

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