Michael Dee and Burning Power pull clear at The Valley
By Ben Caluzzi
Emerging filly Burning Power last week landed her second straight victory at The Valley, unearthing herself as a potential Group 1 talent for the future and adding to trainer Patrick Payne’s recent run of success.
Known as ‘Electric’ back home due to her dam’s name ‘Electric Power,’ Burning Power has posted victories at the mile and at 2040 metres in her past two starts, both in similar last-to-first fashion and both with relative ease under jockey Michael Dee – with his latest steer on her earning him the Drummond Golf Ride of the Night.
Burning Power bumped into star-to-be Espiona first-up at Flemington and was unlucky not to run second, but that fourth in a high-rating race planted the seed for a successful campaign which has culminated in two very important wins.
While only a benchmark 64 and a three-year-old handicap, the crucial part of those two victories is that they have lifted her rating up 10 points from 62 to 72, a mark that will allow Payne to plan for her Oaks campaign in the Autumn. For now though, the three-start preparation will be all she does for the remainder of 2021, earning her a well-deserved spell in the paddock before going back into work early next year.
“She’s having a little freshen up now,” Payne said during the week.
“We really like her. She’s always shown us a lot of ability and a lot of natural stamina, so we thought she’d love a mile and 2000 metres, especially around The Valley.
“It’s a tough test from the 600 metres there, with a bit of an incline and the strong horses can normally come away. She fits that category.”
Payne went agonizingly close to winning the VRC Oaks with his other tough staying filly Douceur and now has plans for both of his horses to be fighting out the feature fillies’ races in April. The two-time Group 1 winning trainer says deciphering who has the more upside is difficult, but he will likely split them in other ways by sending them on different paths come the Autumn.
“It’s hard to say (who is better.) We haven’t really lined them up too much, but I don’t think Burning Power would be too far behind her if anything.
“I probably will (split them.) I would think Douceur will go to the South Australian Oaks and Burning Power will go to the ATC Oaks.
“Burning Power loves wet ground, and the Autumn in Sydney can come up very wet so that would be the reason why we do that.”
Striking at an incredible 30% win rate for their last 50 runners, Patrick Payne’s Ballarat stable is currently one of the hottest stables around the country, and that near 1 in 3 percentile is close to double what his career average winning strike-rate has been to date.
“I think we’re getting sent better horses which obviously makes your job a lot easier.
“We’ve got a really good ground crew, and I think what works very well at our place is that we don’t start riding them until a bit later.
“We can get good riders who ride at Flemington and Caulfield. They can work there first thing in the morning and then come to us. They get a double income, and we get very good riders.”
One of those very good riders is New Zealand born Mick Dee who has built a fantastic association with Burning Power, riding her in four of her five career starts and already managing to win three times on her. Dee’s glowing review on the filly in his post-race interview was reflective of his trainer’s thoughts, and the duo have plenty to be excited about with another preparation under her belt.
“I thought she was impressive last start winning here and she gave me a much better feel tonight,” Dee said to Racing.Com.
“Although we were going up in trip, she just felt very well within herself. Every time I asked her, she was there for me, and she was really running strong through the line.
“I feel she could certainly get further come the Autumn. You might see her up over some nice fillies’ staying trips.”
An “absolute sweetheart” as trainer Patrick Payne describes her, Burning Power is a professional filly with tremendous scope for improvement, and given she is likely to be aimed at the Sydney Autumn Carnival – she is certainly one to add to your blackbook.