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  • John Curtis


MONDAY: October 25, 2021: PUBLICANS never want a “dry” establishment for obvious reasons!

But the boot is on the other foot as far as Coffs Harbour hobby trainer and Stuarts Point hotelier Graham Payne is concerned in regards to tomorrow’s Hawkesbury meeting.

Payne, mine host of the Stuarts Point Tavern in the Macleay Valley seaside village just north of Kempsey, will have his first runners (Luz Long and Baileys) in 11 years at the nearest provincial track to Sydney.

And the reason for his return after such a lengthy absence? “I’m looking for dry tracks for them,” he said last night.

Payne has booked Alysha Collett to ride both Luz Long (HRC Motel Class 1 Handicap, 1500m) and Baileys (Irresistible Pools & Spas Benchmark 64 Handicap, 1300m) – and they figure prominently in TAB fixed odds markets.

Luz Long this morning was a $4.60 third favorite behind Maurice’s Choice ($2.60) and recent Hawkesbury winner Oh Golly Gosh ($2.90), and Baileys was a clear $4.40 second favorite behind Godolphin hotpot Depiction ($1.35).

Payne also accepted with the pair for today’s resumption of racing on the inner Beaumont track at Newcastle, but decided to head further south when Baileys drew the outside barrier in Cessnock’s famed Jungle Juice Cup (1350m) – a race he won three years ago with Kentucky Flyer.

Being a proud Cessnock native, he had long coveted the Cup and won it with a former Victorian, at his fifth attempt.

Luz Long and Baileys also are ex-Victorians, and have interesting names.

“Luz Long was named after the former German long jump champion (Carl Ludwig ‘Luz’ Long) who won the silver medal behind Jesse Owens at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Germany,” Payne explained.

Legend has it that the German, at what turned out to be his own expense, volunteered some technical advice to Owens (who won four track and field gold medals at those Games) after he had been fouled at his first two attempts in the preliminary round and had one jump left to remain in the competition.

Whilst Luz Long’s name relates to sport, it is fitting that such an aptly-named horse as Baileys should be in publican Payne’s eight-horse team stabled at Coffs Harbour.

A son of Fastnet Rock, he is the fourth foal of the Savabeel mare Mother’s Milk.

Payne’s last Hawkesbury representative was Kinetics (then trained by Dale Wagstaff for him), who ran last there on July 8, 2010 after winning at Port Macquarie at his previous start.

“We had to trial him after that to get him cleared, and he won the trial at Dubbo and then won a 3YO Country Plate there a week later,” Payne said.

“He hadn’t won in eight starts in Victoria, and we won 11 races with him.”

Provided he gets his wish for dry ground – and so far it’s looking good - Payne is confident Luz Long and Baileys will run well tomorrow.

“My trackwork rider galloped both horses last Thursday at Coffs and gave a glowing report afterwards,” he said.

“Luz Long was previously with Danny O’Brien, and I bought him earlier this year.

“He has had six starts for us for a win (at Taree in June) and four placings, and has come on nicely since his first-up second at Lismore last month.”

Baileys joined Payne’s stable 16 months ago and has won twice and been placed five times.

His barnstorming victory at Coffs Harbour in February in the Northern Rivers heat (1400m) of the Country Championships earned him a start in the $500,000 Final at Royal Randwick in April, and Payne secured James McDonald to ride him.

However, it didn’t end well.

“Baileys nearly fell when he suffered interference (another jockey was suspended) and injured a fetlock,” Payne said.

“He didn’t eat for two days when I got him home, and had to have a good break.

“He ran really well first-up at Lismore, then perhaps it was a case of “second up syndrome” next time there at the Cup meeting on September 23, though he twisted a plate in the run.

“I have freshened him, and he is in great order.”

Another of Alysha Collett’s mounts Cryptogram has been given a 2kg penalty, lifting her weight to 58kg for the Royal Richmond Hotel Benchmark 64 Handicap (1800m).

The Anthony Cummings mare is chasing a hat-trick, having scored at Goulburn against her own sex over 1400m on October 9 and then at Hawkesbury last Thursday, also against her own sex, in a 1500m Benchmark 64 Handicap.

. The rail is out 3m from the 1100m to 450m, and in the TRUE position for the remainder of the circuit. A “Good 4” rating was posted this morning by course manager Rick Johnston. A total of 15mm of irrigation has been put on the track in the past seven days, but nil in the last 24 hours.

. Paul Joice’s selections are:

RACE 1: MAURICE’S CHOICE, Belle Espoir, Oh Golly Gosh.

RACE 2: FIELD WIRI, Blazing Line, Little River.

RACE 3: GUNNAMATTA, Crimson Rock, Chalkley.

RACE 4: ICING ON THE CAKE, Ultra, Critical Time.

RACE 5: YUMI, Spats Pav Bowie, Midori Beauty.

RACE 6: PORTNOY, Uncaged, Yagoona.

RACE 7: DEPICTION, Baileys, Lucky To Win.

RACE 8: KERMATIN, Narrated, Yulong Status.


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