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Weather key to Payne's Flemington team
Mathew Toogood
11:04 AEST Wed Dec 12 2012

The weather in Melbourne will determine trainer Patrick Payne's representation at Saturday's Flemington meeting.

Payne says Fieldmaster and Hot Lover will be among the acceptances for the 1720m handicap but track conditions with expected rain on Saturday would decide who runs.

"If it comes up really wet Hot Lover wouldn't run," Payne said.

Fieldmaster, on the other hand, will run if the track is rain-affected but otherwise is likely to be saved for another day.

"It just depends if the wet weather they're predicting arrives," Payne said.

"Fieldmaster is a good wet-tracker so I'm trying to utilise that."

Fieldmaster has had seven starts on heavy going for three wins and three placings.

He said the gelding seemed to be in excellent order in the lead-up to his return from a spell.

Six-year-old Fieldmaster ventured to Tasmania earlier this year and was fifth in the Hobart Cup and third in the Launceston Cup.

Payne said he would be on a similar path this time with the Hobart and Launceston Cups in February among his targets.

The gelding has had three trials in preparation for a return and Payne says he's forward enough, if the track conditions are to his liking, to run a competitive race.

"He's had a pretty good foundation for this and he should be peaking by Hobart Cup day," Payne said.

Hot Lover, who is nominated for three different races on Saturday, was fourth to subsequent stakes winner Mahisara first-up over 1400m on Melbourne Cup day at Flemington before being beaten more than four lengths as favourite second-up over 1600m at Ballarat.

"His run at Ballarat to the eye was fairly plain. It looked a leader-biased track but sometimes that can just be used as an excuse," Payne said.

The 1720m journey would provide a guide to whether the son of Bel Esprit continued to step up in distance.

Payne also has Baron Douro nominated for two races but the trainer said the four-year-old would wait for a 1200m race at the same track the following week to make his return from a spell.