Payne ready to Rock 5 in a row
Trainer David Payne boldly predicted that Rock Me Baby could beat super filly Samantha Miss last start and he was right – and he can’t see any reason why she will not win the Surround Stakes at Randwick on Saturday either.
The absence of Samantha Miss through injury has resulted in a bumper 20 acceptors for the Group Two race including the Lee Freedman-trained Romneya who has won her last two Melbourne starts at Group level.
And while he acknowledges the 1400-metre race will be a tough assignment, Payne is confident Rock Me Baby can make it five wins in a row.
Rock Me Baby was sent out a $7.50 chance in the Group Two Light Fingers Stakes on February 14 when she scored a dramatic half-head win over the favourite Samantha Miss in the 1200-metre feature.
"This is another tough race for her but she’s very fit and racing very well and I can’t fault her, so there’s no reason she can’t win," Payne said.
"It’s a big challenge for her but she is a very nice filly."
Rock Me Baby, who will be ridden by her Queensland-based, Surround Stakes-winning jockey Brad Pengelly, has won five of her eight starts and has drawn barrier 12.
Pengelly answered the call from Payne after stable jockey Jeff Lloyd was hit with a spate of recent injuries.
Lloyd begins a three-month riding contract in Hong Kong in a couple of weeks and Pengelly is now a crucial part of Payne’s autumn team.
"Brad is doing a great job for us and gets on very well with this filly, he’s a very underrated rider who I know will get the job done," Payne said.
By Russell Jackson