Talented jumper Fieldmaster stamped himself as a leading contender for the 2014 Australian Hurdle with a dominant 20 lengths victory at Sandown on May 11 and trainer Patrick Payne believes that the gelding has taken a huge confidence boost from the emphatic win.
Fieldmaster was having just the third start of his career over the jumps, after winning at Warrnambool and finishing third at Sandown in his maiden jumps campaign in 2013, but destroyed a quality field including the lines of Platinum Snip and Tenby Lady in the Melbourne Racing Club Hurdle (3300m) in what was one of the most impressive jumping performances of the season to date.
Payne told Racing Ahead that he was surprised by the emphatic nature of Fieldmaster’s win in the Melbourne Racing Club Hurdle and said that he has been thrilled with the way the son of Black Minnaloushe has come out of the race.
“I am really pleased with him,” Payne said.
“I think that win did him the world of good confidence-wise and went to the trials on Monday, a 1500 metre flat trial, and he trialled extremely well.
“You don’t normally see jumpers trial that well.
“We were really happy with the way that he was going and he gets to the other side of his jumps really quick.
“He just caught every jump right and it was just the right circumstances for him.”
Fieldmaster will face a much stronger field in the 2014 Australian Hurdle at Sandown this Saturday; with the Darren Weir-trained duo of Gotta Take Care and Maythehorsebemagic as well as Stand To Gain and Valediction set to contest the race.
Payne admits that Fieldmaster will need to be at his best to beat evergreen gelding Gotta Take Care, who finished third in the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (3200m) last Saturday after winning the Galleywood Hurdle at Warrnambool on April 30, but hopes that the top weight of 69 kilograms may slow down the Group 2 placegetter.
“He will probably follow the speed and it is a much tougher race,” Payne said.
“Gotta Take Care is a great horse and I thought that we would have some sort of advantage if the rain came through, but it looks like the rain won’t come through here until Saturday night.
“Fieldmaster is going so well at the moment and he has five kilos less so that is where we have the advantage.”
Fieldmaster is a clear favourite in 2014 Australian Hurdle betting markets, at odds of $1.85, from Gotta Take Card ($3.50), Thubiaan ($7.50) and Valediction ($11).