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Payne Takes Flight For Kermadec

Former South African champion trainer David Payne made headlines at Randwick on Saturday when he saddled Montefilia to land the storied G1 Darley Flight Stakes (1600m).

In the process, Montefilia became the first G1 winner for her sire Kermadec, with that Teofilo son having himself won four times including the G1 AJC Doncaster Mile and G1 George Main Stakes.

Montefilia also helped deliver her jockey Hugh Bowman his 97th Group 1 winner after wearing down odds-on favourite Hungry Heart in a thrilling finish to Saturday’s G1 feaure for three-year-old fillies.

Frankel filly Hungry Heart looked like she would give James McDonald a dream start to the day after he had ridden the first four winners when she loomed topping the famous Randwick rise.

But she was pegged back in the final stride by Hugh Bowman and Montefilia, who edged her out by a half-neck.

Following her win, Montefilia firmed in from $6 to $4.50 for next weekend’s Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick with Flight Stakes runner up Hungry Heart moved from $8 to $6 for the same race.

“Depending on how she pulls up we will back her up next week,” Payne said.Then she will go to the paddock. She’s a laid back filly, she eats well, so she won’t have to do too much this week. We’ll just see how she is in the next few days. ”

The filly, fourth in the G2 Darley Tea Rose Stake previously, is the best of three winners from four to race out of the imported, stakes-placed, Shirocco mare Bana Wu, whose dam My Way (Marju) is a half-sister to multiple Group II winner Strategic Prince.

Montefilia’s dual G1 winning sire Kermadec, who earned nearly $3 000 000 on the track, is one of 94 stakes winners for Galileo’s unbeaten son Teofilo. The latter has enjoyed another fine season in 2020, with Teofilo’s flagbearers headed by Hong Kong champion Exultant and fellow G1 winners Donjah and Tawkeel.