Home By Midnight winning at Ellerslie last year. Pic Trish Dunell
Trainer Patrick Payne and jockey Billy Egan are fast becoming one of the most potent pairings in Australian racing, combining to win the Gr.3 Launceston Cup (2400m) on Wednesday with Home By Midnight (NZ) (Domesday).
The son of Domesday, who raced in New Zealand as Five To Midnight, proved too strong in the A$250k Tasmanian feature, turning the tables on the race-favourite and Hobart Cup winner Toorak Affair (Toorak Toff).
Payne’s seven year-old had finished sixth last start in the Hobart Cup, but Egan said a gear change had been the key at Launceston.
“The shades went on today so he just positioned up a lot easier without much work needed,” he said.
The in-form jockey was full of praise for the horse as well as Payne’s team, particularly the stable’s travelling foreman, jockey Tahlia Hope.
“Such a team effort really proud of Tahlia for what she’s done with the horse,” he said.
Representing connections, Prime Thoroughbreds Joe O’Neill said he was thrilled to play even a small part of Payne’s growing stable.
“It was a fantastic win, all credit to Patrick, he had the horse in fantastic order.
“If the horse was going to be good enough he was going to win the race.”
Purchased by Lisa Latta for $165,000 out of The Oaks Stud’s 2014 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Sale draft, Home By Midnight won nine races in New Zealand including the 2017 Gr.3 Waikato Cup (2400m).
He was runner up in the 2019 edition of the Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) before moving to Australia to continue his racing career.
-NZ Racing Desk