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15/07/02 Payne Musters Home a Winner at Caulfield
r4ppayne.jpg (9369 bytes)A week ago leading heavyweight jockey Patrick Payne was cattle mustering for a friend in the Northern Territory, yesterday at his first meeting back in the saddle the talented hoop was immediately back in the winner's stall.

Payne had an armchair ride aboard the Ron Stageman trained mare Crimson Gem in the John Ritchie Handicap (1200m), the pair proving much too good.

"That's certainly a nice way to get back into it," Payne said moments after the win.

Yesterday was the first day Payne had ridden for some eight weeks after some time off in the Northern Territory.

"I really enjoyed my time up there," Payne said of his week long stint on a cattle station near the Lichfield National Park, a couple of hours south of Darwin. "I'd certainly like to do it again sometime."

Crimson Gem, a four-year-old mare by Monde Bleu, scored her second win in three starts when she cruised home to beat Granniah and Darvolant.

In a strange twist the Bendigo trained mare has continued identical form she showed twelve months ago.

"In her last win here (at Caulfield) she had won on the same day last year, and again today, it was the same race she'd won then as well," winning trainer Ron Stageman recalled.

Incredibly in between both wins in the past two years the mare finished fourth.

"This time she was fourth at Sandown, whereas last year it was at Flemington," he added.

Crimson Gem will have another start in two weeks time at Sandown before being set for the listed Cockram Stakes, which is her ultimate aim this preparation.

PIC - Quentin Lang.

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