|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
PIC - Quentin