Montefilia hungry for more spring success

David Payne has given Montefilia the green light to chase her second Group One win in the space of a week, confirming she will back up in the Spring Champion Stakes.

The filly has pleased him since upstaging favourite Hungry Heart to win the Flight Stakes last Saturday, her empty feed bin convincing her trainer she had bounced through the run.

“You don’t want them to lose too much weight and you want them to eat,” Payne said.

“Sometimes, if it knocks them around too much, they go off their feed for a few days.

“But she came home and on the Sunday morning her feed was gone. She hasn’t left an oat. She’s happy.”

The Spring Champion was historically held on the same day as the Flight Stakes and it was rare for a filly to take on the males.

But since the 2000m feature was moved back a week in 2013, it has become a more popular target for the girls with Yankee Rose in 2016 and Maid Of Heaven two years ago both successful.

Payne has no doubt Montefilia can hold her own against the colts and geldings, referencing her Rosehill victory against older horses in August as a pointer.

The three-year-old has been given an easy start to the week and will have her final serious piece of work on Thursday when new jockey Jason Collett jumps aboard for the first time.

He replaces Hugh Bowman, who is riding in Melbourne.

“Jason is going to come in and work her so she will do evens tomorrow (Thursday),” Payne said.

“She’s a fit filly so we don’t want to overdo it. She can just open her pipes tomorrow and she’ll be ready for Saturday.”

A full field of 14 and one emergency has accepted for the Spring Champion, including Victorian Cherry Tortoni, who is looking to dodge the wet weather in Melbourne.

Montefilia has assumed favouritism with TAB fixed odds at $3.50 after drawing the rails, usurping Love Tap who has eased to $3.70 after coming up with gate 14.

The Silver Eagle (1300m) has attracted a final field of nine, headed by Queensland star Alligator Blood who is a $2.25 early favourite.

His rivals include the Godolphin pair of Group One winner Flit and the up-and-coming Criaderas, along with Dawn Passage who resumes for Tulloch Lodge.