FORMER top-line jockey Patrick Payne confirmed his reputation as an outstanding horseman after No Song No Song produced a stunning effort to win the Grand Annual Steeplechase (5500m).
Payne detected the symptoms of extreme heat stress as soon as his eight-year-old gelding returned to the mounting yard and immediately raced No Song No Supper to a wash down bay where he spent 25 minutes cooling down his new stable star.
"As soon as I saw him wobble I knew what was going on and what I had to do," Payne said.
"Awakening Dream (2012 Grand Annual winner) did it a couple of years ago. You just have to act immediately. I'm the trainer, I'm responsible and you want to do everything you can for the horse."
Payne said it was a hot day for jumps racing.
"It's just heat stress. It's like a marathon, the annual," he said.
"It was a massive effort. Richard (Cully) produced a pretty patient ride but I thought he might have gone a bit early. No Song No Supper really had to dig deep to win in the run to the line."
No Song No Supper ($5) was allowed to travel midfield before making a move after clearing the Tozer Road Double the second time.
Gai Waterhouse's Valediction ($4.20) had shot to the front but was the first horse beat heading to the home turn.
Cully set No Song No Supper alight , he swept to the front, cleared out after jumping the last and looked home.
But South Australian roughie Bold Zamour ($14) kept coming and looked likely to run down the leader with 150 metres to travel in the 5500m trip.
In a stirring finish, No Song No Supper dug deep and held off Bold Zamour to win by 1.25 lengths with $2.80 favourite Thubiaan another 6.25 lengths away third. Valediction finished fourth.
For Payne it was his third Grand Annual success and Cully's second after they combined with Chapparo in 2014.
Payne said that due to firm tracks No Song No Supper had only had two runs this campaign although he had 11 trials.
"The tracks were just too hard," he said. "I didn't want to run him on hard ground.
“I'd keep entering him and then have to swap him to a jumps or flat trial," he said.
Payne said it was essential to cool down No Song No Supper's head when he was heat stressed.
"The blood's too hot going to their head," he said.
"I've had other horses like it on the flat. If you put a bucket of water on their heads they come good pretty much right away.
"He was always my Annual horse, 100 per cent. He can stay, he's agile and he tries."
Payne said No Song No Supper was a better stayer than his full brother Lord Of The Song, which was scratched from Thursday's annual after an ordinary run in Tuesday Brierly Steeplechase.
Payne said he was preparing for a showdown with stewards but when he got on Lord Of The Song on Wednesday at his stable he felt flat.
He said his association with former Australian Cup-Cox Plate winner Northerly was still paying dividends with West Australian trainer Fred Kersley identifying stayers and sending them to Payne.
"Fred's knowledge is just remarkable," he said.
"It's been a good six months for the Paynes, with Michelle's win in the Melbourne Cup. I thought Richard might have gone a bit early today but I knew No Song No Supper would stay. I thought the second horse had him but he just produced.
"When I saw how he pulled up I was very concerned. I just knew what had to be done. You have to do what you can.
"You get very close to these horses. I'm responsible and the horse is always the priority," he said.