Group One spring goals loom for Montefilia

By: Mandy Cottell Saturday 8 August 2020

David Payne is rarely short of a decent horse and the trainer is convinced he has found his next star in Montefilia.

The filly was a race day scratching at Randwick a week ago when Payne felt the track conditions became too testing.

He was happier to run her on a heavy nine at Rosehill on Saturday in the belief the western Sydney circuit coped better with rain.

Despite having to start her run before the corner, Montefilia ($5) showed stamina to kick clear and stick on for a 1-1/4 length victory over Papal Warrior ($5.50) in the Sky Racing Active Handicap (1500m).

Rothenburg ($9.50) was another 2-1/2 lengths away.

"I think she could be something special," Payne said.

"I always find one somewhere. We need it, we've only got a small string."

A champion trainer in South Africa, Payne moved to Australia in 2002 and has enjoyed Group One success with horses like Unearthly, Master Of Design, Criterion and Ace High.

Unearthly came off a winter preparation to win the 2003 Flight Stakes, a race Payne will also entertain for Montefilia after he gives her a short freshen-up.

"She will go to the paddock Monday then we'll go on an Oaks path hopefully, or the Flight Stakes, we will look at that as well," Payne said.

Montefilia was having just her fourth start and recorded her first metropolitan win, backing up an eye-catching first-up third last month when she made ground against the pattern of the day.