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Payne almost bags Sandown double

Andrew Payne has gone within a long neck of training a rare city double at Sandown.

Lightly raced Thunder Connection finished second to favourite Sweet Melody in the Crown Lager Handicap (2400m) on Wednesday before Private Lounge took out the Le Pine Funerals Handicap.

Payne, the elder brother of Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle, headed to Sandown confident the pair would run well saying Thunder Connection would get a good run in his race while Private Lounge had worked well to suggest she would be hard to beat.

Private Lounge was having only her third race start having been successful at Echuca on debut before running third at Sandown on January 18.

“We came here confident with her but we were mindful there was some other nice horses in the race,” Payne said.

“We’ll see how she pulls up. We were hoping to bag one in the city before we turn her out.”

A $12,000 yearling, Private Lounge has already repaid her connections with more than $36,000 prize money.

Payne said the step up from 1800m to 2400m took it’s toll on Thunder Connection.

“It will season him for his next run over the trip,” Payne said.

The trainer is eyeing off Cup options for his next start.

The Torney Night Cup (2500m) at Moonee Valley on February 17 or the Marong Cup (2200m) at Bendigo the following day are likely targets.

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