Paynter aiming for new personal best this season
By Michael Guerin
Local trainer Ross Paynter’s aim of a personal best season could get a double boost, maybe even more, at Cambridge tonight.
Paynter has started the new term well, with three winners from just nine starters, and the laidback horseman admits he would like to break fresh ground this term.
“I have trained 23 winners in each of the last two seasons so I’d like to get past that this season,” Paynter said.
“And I think I can do it. I have 27 horses here at the moment, which is a good number for me and some better bred ones than I usually have.
“I am not usually a numbers man but I know my best is 23 and getting past that has to be the aim.” Stable star Lemond is among the entries for the Dominion at Addington taken this week so will likely head south before returning for a shot at the Auckland Inter Dominions but it is some of the lesser lights of the stable who should continue Paynter's PB quest as Cambridge host a rare Friday night meeting tonight.
He has last-start trotting winners Molly Bones (race three) and As Free As Air (race eight) in and believes they can both win again.
“Molly Bones is better than the grade she is in and the mobile start will really help her,” says Paynter.
“And I actually think she is better left-handed than at Alexandra Park even though she won there last start.
“She is going really well and while Sex On Fire might be a danger I think we can hold her.”
As Free As Air was very brave sitting parked to win last start and while she meets fresh opposition in her own stablemate Gershwin and impressive last-start winner Invictus, she probably hasn’t finished winning yet.
“She is a nervy mare but has been better lately and is a very good stayer so I’d favour her over Gershwin with him being fresh up.” While 20 of Paynter’s 23 wins last season came with trotters he is confident of more pacing success this season and says he has two tonight who can be factors for punters.
“New Frontier (race four) is a horse who has worked well this week and I think he will go better than last start, when he finished second in a very similar field.
“He has a bad barrier but if he can get handy he can go close to winning.
“And Super Actor in race two is a good tough horse who can touch a knee a bit but has the gate speed to get handy and be there at the finish.”