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Sassoon impresses trainer Andrew Payne

When trainer Andrew Payne saw a yearling by Snippetson walking around at last year’s Melbourne Premier Sale he immediately liked him – but did not think he would be able to get him.

Payne watched him go through the ring and was surprised when the colt, out of the mare Dewamar whose progeny included Group One winners St. Basil and Pantani, was passed in for less than he thought.

Payne immediately made inquiries and secured the yearling for $35,000 after he passed all the vet checks.

The now three-year-old gelding, named Sassoon, has shown Payne ability all through his education and the trainer is hoping he can measure up to city class at his first attempt when he heads to Flemington on Saturday for the Planet Ruler Handicap (1400m).

He came from last to win a 1500m Bendigo maiden at his first start last month.

“You work hard with everything you’ve got, and he’s one of the horses that has come in and this possibly could be a horse that could take me somewhere,” Payne, who generally keeps between 15 and 20 horses in work, said.

“But I’m not going to get too far ahead of myself as well.”

Payne broke Sassoon in himself and said he immediately showed natural talent and had a good action, something he relayed to a couple of the people who had already taken a share in him.

“I pretty much said ‘if this horse can’t run, I don’t know what will’,” he said.

Sassoon began awkwardly at Bendigo and Payne decided not to trial him again because he said the gelding still wanted to overdo things in training.

“But he’s a lovely horse. He’s probably up there with the nicest horses I’ve had over the last couple of years anyway.”

A hoof abscess ruled Sassoon out of a Moonee Valley race three weeks ago and he lost a week’s work but Payne doesn’t believe the extra time between runs has done the gelding any harm.

He said he deliberately wanted to take him to a big track like Flemington where he had time to size everything up and balance up in the straight.

“He gets a beautiful long straight and if he’s good enough he’s got time to pick them up,” he said.

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