Payne on weather watch

Trainer Patrick Payne. Photo: Daryl Sherer

The Patrick Payne-trained Duke of Plumpton could bypass the Kennedy Mile (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday in favour of some country cups assignments.

The son of Bachelor Duke has been in good form this campaign, winning fresh-up over 1400m at Echuca last month before finishing runner-up over 1600m at Sandown.

Payne has been keeping a close watch on the weather and said the four-year-old gelding will likely head towards other assignments if conditions continue to improve.

“He is a really nice horse,” Payne said. “There is plenty of fine weather here at the moment, so if the track does dry out too much I might just wait for another day with him.

“He’s in excellent order, but he does like a bit of give in the ground. It looks a pretty strong field with some nice, young horses in it.

“He might be better off going for the Edenhope Cup instead.”

Meanwhile, fellow New Zealand-bred galloper Killarney Kid is getting prepared for a jumping preparation when he resumes in the Lexus Trophy (2000m) later on the card.

“He’s been a pretty good horse over time, but he is getting pretty slow now,” Payne said.

“He is going to be a hurdles/steeplechaser. I think he has got a nice jumping preparation ahead of him, but he will be a million to one on Saturday.”

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