Experienced trainer David Payne is adamant the best remains ahead of his multiple Group 1 winner Montefilia.
The rising four-year-old has been back in work at Payne’s Rosehill base for a couple of weeks, building up for what her trainer believes could be her best campaign yet.
“She looks good, put on some weight and is a stronger filly,” Payne said.
“I’ve always believed she’s the type of filly that would improve again at four so I think there’s still good things ahead.”
Montefilia is a Group 1 winner at a mile and 2000m, claiming victories in the Flight Stakes and Spring Champion Stakes during the spring of her three-year-old season but it’s her performances over 2400m and beyond that divides punters.
The daughter of Kermadec was a beaten favourite in the VRC Oaks (2500m) last spring and the Australian Derby (2400m) before she finished out of the placings in the Australian Oaks (2400m) but Payne hasn’t conceded.
“I haven’t given up on her staying. I’m going to put her in the Cups,” he said.
“I don’t think she was suited in the Derby or the Oaks the way the races were run.
David Payne. Photo: Mark Evans/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
“They we’re slowly run and she’s not a filly that can sprint.
“She needs a true gallop to wind up and show what she’s capable of.”
Payne said he plans to trial Montefilia in late July and most likely again during August before the four-year-old resumes on September 4 at Randwick.
“I plan to kick her off in the Chelmsford and then we’ll run in the Kingston Town and maybe the Metrop before we decide on the Cups once and for all,” he said.
“She’ll have to shape up in Sydney first but I think she will. I think the spring will show us what she’s capable of.
“I honestly think she’s going to improve again. Deep down I’ve always thought she will stay.
“If she doesn’t stay I have the option to freshen her up and run her in a race like the Golden Eagle so there are plenty of opportunities for a horse like her in the spring.”
TAB Fixed Odds has Montefilia priced at $51 for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, $26 in the Golden Eagle and $34 for the Cox Plate.
NOTE: TAB will refund any bets if the horse isn’t entered for a race in the official nominations.
Originally published asTrainer stands by the staying ability of his Cups contender
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