Payne's patience paying off with Costello

Patience is paying off for trainer David Payne as he plots a path to the G1 ATC Derby with stoutly bred 3-year-old Costello (Americain {USA}), after win at Rosehill on Wednesday; a horse from a family the trainer knows a thing or two about.

The South African handler could have thrown Costello in the deep end during the spring but his decision to stick with easier benchmark assignments has his gelding in form and confident before a first test at stakes level.

That test will come soon though with Payne eyeing starts in the G1 Rosehill Guineas and G1 ATC Derby, races he won with Criterion (NZ) (Sebring) in 2014.

"It's a nice prep for him, he will just go to the 2000m race (Guineas) now," Payne said. "We are dreaming at the moment and let's hope that gets him there."

A benchmark 74 for 3YOs might seem like a low base to jump to G1 level but Payne's horse has now won three from his last four and heads into the Rosehill Guineas rock hard fit and in-form.

"That's the deep end and we will find out about him there," Payne said, adding that he was taking heart from the fact Costello was able to win from up on the speed over 1800m.

"That was the right way to ride him in this race, it was a slow run race, but maybe not the best way to ride the horse," Payne said, and winning jockey Jason Collett agreed with the trainer's assessment.

"There wasn't as much tempo, he got on the bridle early before coming back underneath me, so I do think that adds a lot more merit to the win," he said.

Payne said that a quieter ride up in distance, and hopefully a more genuine tempo, would unlock the gelding's staying prowess.

"He will be ridden with cover and a further back over 2000m, and hopefully we get some speed, and he will be ridden even further back again when we get him to 2400m, where I think he will be even better," Payne said.

Costello was a $40,000 buy from the Swettenham Stud draft at the 2017 Premier Yearling Sale and comes from a family Payne has had success with in the past.

Out of La Famelia (Strategic), Costello is a half-sister to Payne's handy former race filly French Fern (Lope De Vega {Ire}), who won the 2016 G2 Riesling Stakes.

Payne won four races with French Fern's full-brother Be Like Dad (Lope De Vega {Ire}) and also has a 2-year-old filly out of La Famelia named Ivy Eff (Master Of Design) in training.

Copy: Michael Cox, TDN Aus/NZ

More News