Invincible Al chasing back-to-back wins
Mathew Toogood 10 days ago
After a winning return at Moonee Valley, Invincible Al will now aim for successive Pakenham Cup day victories.
The Patrick Payne-trained sprinter is the early $5 favourite for Saturday's John Duff & Co Handicap (1000m) at Pakenham, having won over the same distance at the corresponding meeting a year ago.
"He won in three-year-old grade last year," Payne said.
"He's come back this year as a four-year-old against older horses which makes it harder but he has to be able to deal with it.
"He seems to have come back really well."
Invincible Al made his season return in a 955m benchmark-75 at Moonee Valley last month and took his record to four wins from 16 starts, getting home by a neck.
Payne was happy with the performance and the way he made the step up to racing outside his own age group but said Invincible Al might have also got lucky on the night as a few rivals struck interference wider out at the start of the race.
"But he still was able to maintain a gallop and went to the line quite strongly," he said.
"He seems as good as what he was going into the first-up run."
Payne believes Tahlia Hope's 3kg claim, taking Invincible Al's weight to 57.5kg, will be a big help on Saturday.
Invincible Al beat short-priced favourite Wise Hero at Pakenham last year and he is among the rivals again and is just being shaded for favouritism.
"I think Wise Hero pulled up lame that day (last year), so there might have been an excuse," Payne said.
"I have a lot of respect for Wise Hero as well."
Payne has Chamois Road in Saturday's Stabil-Lime Group Handicap (1200m) and will monitor the weather and track condition.
Noted wet-tracker Jungle Edge is the $2.50 favourite.
"If everything swung in Jungle Edge's favour, we might not run," Payne said.
"But if the track firms up and we look like we might be a chance to beat Jungle Edge, we'll run. At this stage we're a bit open minded."