Ross Paynter has experienced another strong season as a trainer, with 23 wins, equaling his previous best tally, and banking nearly $50,000 more in prizemoney than his previous best term.
“It’s really good to back up with another reasonable season, because I thought this season might be a bit quieter,” he said.
“We don’t tend to travel. I don’t think I have taken a horse to Manawatu at all this year, so we have stayed pretty close to home and got most of our winners here, I am pretty happy about that.”
While he has been pleased with his stable’s efforts this season, the Cambridge conditioner’s attention has shifted to next term where he is set to realise a lifelong ambition of competing in the Inter Dominion Trotting Championship.
The time honoured series will be held at Alexandra Park in December and Paynter believes the race conditions will be ideal for his Group One-winning trotter Lemond.
“It’s nice to have the Inter Dominions (trotters series) back with the pacers,” Paynter said.
“We always used to go up there (Auckland) and watch the Inter Dominions with Vinnie Knight and co coming over.
“It was disappointing when they got rid of it, so it’s nice to have it back. I have always dreamed about having a horse in the Inter Dominions.
“Lemond has had a couple of months off. He has just come back into work in the last two or three weeks.
“Mobile starts over sprint trips in the Inter Dominion will suit him.”
The talented square-gaiter had a solid season this term, winning four of his 15 starts and placing in the Gr.1 Dominion Trot (3200m), Gr.2 Lyell Creek Stakes Mobile Trot (2200m), and Gr.1 ANZAC Cup (2200m).
“He ran second in the ANZAC Cup this year and won a race leading up to that,” Paynter said. “He went a good race, he was just beaten by a better horse on the day. That Sundees Son had a freakish season.
“In the Rowe Cup I was happy with his run, he sat parked the whole way and ran fourth. In the Dominion he sat parked for a good majority of it.
“He just hasn’t had a lot of luck in those big staying races.
“I am really looking forward to the Inter Dominions because of the mobile starts. Hopefully he draws reasonably well, he has got good gate speed.”
Lemond has also battled soreness issues this season, however, Paynter believes he has got on top of those issues.
“He is pretty good now,” Paynter said. “He just gets a little bit sore in his legs sometimes on the harder tracks.
“We do a lot of work with him on the grass nowadays. He’s a lot better doing it that way and we won’t change much this year. We will do most of his main work on the grass track.”
While Lemond is keeping Paynter excited heading into the new season, he is also looking forward to the prospects of promising trotters Canskyfly and Anditover.
“Canskyfly has been racing really well,” he said. “She had a little bit of a leg injury early on after she qualified.
“She has come back and won four from seven, so I am pretty happy for her.
“It’s really good for Ken McGrath, he is one of my main owners, so it’s nice to see him have a couple of really nice horses, with Molly Bones as well.
“Anditover has had limited starts this year. He won a couple of them. He is a rising four-year-old and is a really nice horse going forward.
“He raced in the (Northern Trotting) Derby (2700m), he just lacked a bit of real speed. His last run in the (Northern Trotting) Guineas (2200m), when they went a bit harder, he really found the line well against the top three-year-olds.
“He is a real progressive type going forward. We will just take our time with him.” – Cambridge Raceway