Payton relishing move to Esperance after gelding wins at long odds

Neale HarveyKalgoorlie Miner
Victoria Corver on Kick A Goal Son after the Joan Percy Memorial Cup at Kalgoorlie-Boulder Racing Club in July.
Camera IconVictoria Corver on Kick A Goal Son after the Joan Percy Memorial Cup at Kalgoorlie-Boulder Racing Club in July. Credit: Amber Lilley/Kalgoorlie Miner

Esperance trainer Robbie Payton is relishing a move to the south coast after his gelding Talk Softly scored at $26 on Saturday at the Esperance Bay Turf Club’s season-opener.

The five-year-old was well ridden in the $22,000 Swans Veterinary Services Handicap (1100m) by Victoria Corver to win by three quarters of a length over the Gary Burger-trained Charcoal Chaos ($6).

It was a welcome change of luck for Payton, who is well-known in Kalgoorlie-Boulder after carving out a stellar career for Railways in the Goldfields Football League.

After his football career ended, Payton turned his hand to training.

He spent about 15 years at Bakers Hill, 73km east of Perth, before relocating to Esperance a year ago.

Payton, 55, has five horses in work on his two-acre property.

“I had horses in each of the first two maiden races on Saturday and they didn’t really perform,” he said.

Butcher Robbie Payton prepares to chop up a lamb carcass
Camera IconButcher Robbie Payton pictured at work in 2001. Credit: Tony Holmes/Kalgoorlie Miner

“I wondered, ‘what am I doing to myself’, and while I expected him (Talk Softly) to be thereabouts, I didn’t expect him to win.

“So I was over-the-moon when he got the money.”

A butcher by trade, Payton is training full-time. He said the move to his Esperance property was better for his horses and had also brought him closer to his parents, Fred and Pat, who left Kalgoorlie-Boulder for the coast more than 25 years ago.

“The heat (at Bakers Hill) just didn’t ease up — 44C on some days,” Payton said.

“That’s why we (Payton and his partner, Kim) were doing the commute from Bakers Hill to Esperance every year for those two or three meetings that we could.

“Eventually we made the move (full-time) and I’m absolutely loving it.

“The last couple of years have been a bit lean for us, so it’s good to finally get one on the board.

“We just hope he can go on with it now.”

In 2014, Payton was among three former Goldfields football stars — alongside ex-Railways teammate Brett Armstrong and Boulder’s Paul Jackson — who shared in $145,000 first place prize money with Cadenza’s victory in the $250,000 Magic Millions Perth Two-Year-Old Classic (1100m) at Ascot.

Also on Saturday, Paul Tapper-trained Northern Ivy (Kristy Bennett) won race three at $20.

Corver emerged with a riding double after she earlier scored with Lost Smile ($8.50) in race one.

Celebrating a Win: Local trainers and owners Brett Armstrong (Striped Shirt Blue and White) and Paul Jackson (Photo: Paul Braven/Kalgoorlie Miner) 16th of February 2014
Camera IconLocal trainers and owners Brett Armstrong and Paul Jackson pictured in 2014. Credit: Paul Braven/Kalgoorlie Miner

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