Hors­ing around for hooker

Townsville Bulletin - - Cowboys On Holidays -

AARON PAYNE

COWBOYShooker Aaron Payne is no stranger to the race­track — hav­ing al­ready owned two win­ners from his first three horses to race in Townsville.

But he took his love of the ‘Sport of Kings’ to the next level dur­ing the off­sea­son when he at­tended a Magic Mil­lions horse sale for ready-to-race two-year-olds on the Gold Coast and re­turned home with two well-bred young­sters to add to his grow­ing stable.

The horses — Con­tested Bid and Ski Bis­cuit — are be­ing trained by Matt Con­nors, who al­ready has Payne’s most suc­cess­ful race horse, Bold Sweeper, and in­vited the Cow­boy to join him at the sale.

‘‘Matt trains Bold Sweeper so ob­vi­ously I’ve be­come pretty good mates with him,’’ Payne said.

‘‘Just in con­ver­sa­tion he said he was go­ing down to the sale and look­ing to get a few twoyear-olds.

‘‘I’d said I was in­ter­ested in get­ting a share and syn­di­cat­ing them.

‘‘It was some­thing I’ve al­ways wanted to do, even if I didn’t get a horse, just to go to a sale.

‘‘I didn’t re­ally know what I was look­ing at but I learnt a bit off Matt to see what to look for in a horse.’’

The en­su­ing weeks af­ter the trip were spent syn­di­cat­ing the horses to a large group of own­ers made up of fam­ily, friends and as­so­ciates — in­clud­ing Cow­boys spe­cial­ist Doc­tor John Maguire, phys­io­ther­a­pist An­gus Vin­cent and lo­cal busi­ness­man Max Short.

And al­ready the group has ex­pe­ri­enced the thrill of race­horse own­er­ship with Con­tested Bid win­ning well on de­but at Clu­den on Novem­ber 28.

Payne is hop­ing both horses will be con­tenders for next year’s $100,000 QTIS Parry Nis­san Great North­ern TwoYear-Old (1200m).

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STABLE IN­VEST­MENT . . . Aaron Payne and his horse Bold Sweeper

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