Victorian trainer Patrick Payne admits his stayer Defibrillate was “thrashed” by Pondus last start, but he still has a few reasons to be optimistic before the $300,000 Mornington Cup (2400m) on Saturday.
Payne’s seven-year-old ($8 to win with online bookmakers) will once again do battle with Robert HIckmott’s six-year-old, after Pondus won the $200,000 Regal Power (2000m) by a convincing 3.75 lengths at Flemington on March 19.
Defibrillate was 5.25 lengths behind in fourth, but there are a couple of things in his favour heading into Saturday’s feature.
“He’s in great health. He’s backed up pretty well and he’s in fantastic order,” Payne told horsebetting.com.au.
“You’d think it would be hard to be able to turn the tables on Pondus. Pondus thrashed him.
“We think the 2400m will suit him better than what he raced the other day. But it might be the same for Pondus.
“Realistically if he ran third that would be fair.”
Another thing in Defibrillate’s favour is the fact Billy Egan will be riding him.
Egan piloted him to three consecutive wins early last year, the last being a victory in the $150,000 Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m) on February 20.
“He (Egan) has got a good understanding of the horse, and he knows the horse likes to get comfortable and he rides him really well,” Payne said.
“He’s an honest horse and he’ll do what he can. He’s got 59.5kg and he’ll need everything to be in his favour.”
Payne said he was happy to see Defibrillate lining up in the Mornington Cup after an injury setback.
“He was actually headed towards the Hobart, Launceston and Adelaide Cups. But he had a little issue in his preparation which put us back a bit,” he said.
“This is the most logical race for him. Timing-wise it’s perfect.
“We’ll just pick the right races for him. He’s not in the Mornington Cup to try and qualify for a Caulfield Cup – he’s not good enough.”