Widgee Turf (Image: Racing Photos)
Patrick Payne doesn't believe a failed Stradbroke Handicap bid will hinder Widgee Turf's prospects of a fruitful Melbourne winter campaign, starting with Saturday's $100,000 heat of the All Victorian Sprint Series (1200m) at The Valley.
The son of Turffontein had the better of stablemate Encavage in a piece of work at The Valley on Tuesday morning, prompting his trainer to declare his optimism ahead of a return to the scene of his VOBIS Gold Star (1500m) win in January.
Widgee Turf ran unplaced behind Dreamforce at Randwick last month en route to Queensland but was ultimately balloted out of the $1.5 million Doomben showpiece, won on Saturday by Santa Ana Lane.
"It was good work for him this morning because he's not really a sharp worker at home," Payne said.
"His run in Sydney was satisfactory given he carried 60kg over 1100m on fairly good ground.
"We were putting him in place to run in the Stradbroke Handicap, I would've been spewing if it was a Heavy track and he got a run with 51kg and we weren't up there.
"There's a bit of rain around in Melbourne this week which will hold him in good stead and he's normally pretty good with time in between his runs."
Stablemate Husson Eagle also stepped out at The Valley on Tuesday morning and, while Payne was pleased with his gallop, the six-year-old will likely be saved for a race at Flemington on June 23.