David Payne sets sights on Australian Derby with Raging Bull

David Payne is realistic in his expectations for Raging Bull in the Hobartville Stakes, but he is a little more ambitious when it comes to the three-year-old’s longer-term goals.

While the gelding will find some of his rivals too sharp over the 1400 metres of Saturday’s race, Payne is hoping it is a different scenario once Raging Bull extends to a genuine staying journey.

Fourth in the Victoria Derby during the spring, Raging Bull will get another classic shot this autumn with the ATC Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick in April his mission.

From that perspective, Payne will be happy to see him warming up late when he takes on the likes of Group 1 winners Anamoe and Converge in Saturday’s Rosehill feature.

“It is miles too short for him,” Payne said.

“He will definitely stay and that is going to be more his game. He won’t be able to beat them over the miles (1600 metres) and 1400s.

“I just want to see him strong through the line. His mission is the Derby so we’re building him up to that and that will be his grand final hopefully.”

Raging Bull will be one of five Rosehill runners for the stable with Payne’s quintet also including fellow Australian Derby hopeful French Emperor in the Midway Handicap (1500m) and Fox Fighter who resumes in the Ned Whiskey Handicap (1100m).

The latter split subsequent stakes winners Jamaea and Festival Dancer on debut at Kembla Grange last year then notched a win and two placings from four starts last preparation.

His latest victory was in a Midway Handicap but Payne believes aiming him towards the revamped Provincial-Midway Championships might be selling him short.

“He might be better than that, I think. We are hoping anyway,” Payne said.

“I will see how he goes on Saturday and then we will map out something for him.

“He’s pretty forward. He is a sprinter so they don’t take much work.”

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