Montefilia

Montefilia winning the Flight Stakes (Image: Bradley Photos)

Payne set for tough Montefilia watch

Trainer David Payne admits he's finding it hard with his stable star so far away.

The hands-on horseman can't be in Melbourne to prepare VRC Kennedy Oaks favourite Montefilia for Thursday's 2500-metre Group 1, and while he knows she's in good hands with Troy Corstens, it doesn't make it any easier.

"I'm not nervous. But it's (hard) that you can't be there, because it's your best horse and you'd like to be there with her and to see everything is fine," Payne said.

"I know she is in good hands, but it's not the same.

"I'll just have to sit on the couch and watch it. It's just one of those things, what can you do?"

Montefilia arrived in Melbourne at 5:30am on Lexus Melbourne Cup Day and spent the rest of Tuesday getting used to her new surroundings.

Champion jockey Hugh Bowman took her for a light canter Wednesday morning in preparation for Thursday's grueling test. 

"I'll leave it to Hugh. We've got a lovely straight to get her out, we just have to hope it goes to plan," Payne said.

Payne purchased Montefilia with the Kennedy Oaks in mind and her runs since have proven him right.

Her past two wins - over 1600m and 2000m at G1 level - weren't even in Payne's original plan when aiming to get her to the Kennedy Oaks.

"To be honest, we didn't have the Flight Stakes and Spring Champion in mind. We were just going to prepare her for the Kennedy Oaks," he said.

"When she ran fourth over 1400m and I knew how fit she was, I thought, 'We've got to have a go at the Flight Stakes'. It progressed to the Spring Champion and on to the Kennedy Oaks.

"If you looked at her last run over 2000m, she was doing her best work at the finish. I don't think it (the 2500m) will be an issue for her."

Payne is hopeful to be back in Victoria for the 2021 spring when he dreams she will be in contention for the Caulfield Cup.

"She could be a Caulfield and Lexus Melbourne Cup filly once she strengthens up. That's my dream, maybe next year," he said.

"We've got to get through the Kennedy Oaks first."