Jockey Michelle Payne is excited by the prospect of partnering Kaspersky in the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes (1400m) at Newbury on August 19th, ahead of his trip to Australia for the 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m).

Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne will partner Kaspersky ahead of his 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate campaign. Photo: Sarah Ebbett

Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne will partner Kaspersky ahead of his 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate campaign. Photo: Sarah Ebbett

Kaspersky has been a strong and consistent performer throughout his entire racing career so far and will take his position in the Hungerford Stakes with an impressive record of five wins and three minors from only fifteen competitive appearances.

Having transferred to the care of British trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam at the beginning of 2017, Kaspersky was ridden by Payne third-up in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes (1609m) during the Royal Ascot Carnival in June and exceeded expectations; running well to finish fifth behind outstanding galloper Ribchester.

Payne will be in England for the famed Shergar Cup this weekend and will stay on to ride Kaspersky in work and in the Hungerford Stakes, before linking up with the horse once more when he arrives in Melbourne for the Ladbrokes Cox Plate.

“The plan is that I’ll go over and ride him in trackwork on the Tuesday after the Shergar Cup and then he’s going to race at Newbury the following Saturday,” Payne told Racing Victoria.

“He was going to go to a race at Deauville over 2000m (G1 Prix Jean Romanet) but he was going to be taking on one of the best horses in France so we decided that the Group 2 at Newbury would be a good option for him and then hopefully he’ll be heading out here.

“Obviously everybody wants to win the Melbourne Cup as a jockey but the Cox Plate is so unique and it’s been one of my favourite races since I was about eight years old so to have an opportunity to ride in it will be amazing.

“If he could get out here and race in the Toorak Handicap it would be lovely for him to have that run before the Cox Plate but obviously they have to travel out here well so we’ll just see how he goes.”

One of fifteen internationals included in 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate nominations on Tuesday, Kaspersky is yet to contest a race at a distance of 2000m, however Payne believes that he will relish the trip.

“He’s only ever run over a mile but they are different tracks over there, very undulating and a lot harder than our tracks so I think if you rode him to run out the 2000m he would run it out strongly,” she said.

“He’s a class horse as you saw when he ran at Royal Ascot so all being well he’ll be out here and competing in the Cox Plate.”

Kaspersky began his racing career in Italy and posted all of his five wins to date in the European nation, impressively all under black type conditions.

Kaspersky is currently available at 2017 Cox Plate odds of $41 with online bookie

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Jared Timms

Jared graduated with a journalism degree in 2011. He is a keen sports fan and has enjoyed many accolades for his lively writing style and comprehensive coverage of major sporting events and horse racing. Today, you can find Jared cheering on his beloved Manchester City with a beer in hand.