Horsing around for hooker
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).
STABLE INVESTMENT . . . Aaron Payne and his horse Bold Sweeper