Quelle Liaison returned to the winners circle in style with a gutsy all the way win at the Sunshine Coast yesterday. The win was also a first for the Payne/Herne combination and hopefully the first of many.

“Rhiannon signed over as my stable apprentice this week so I’m thrilled for her to notch up her first win for us,” Herne said.

“She’s a hard worker and really listens to advice. I have already noticed a difference in her riding from last week and each time you point something out she’ll give it a go.”

Payne produced a clever ride, letting the mare find her feet initially before taking up the lead with a strong hold. Turning for home she was left in front a bit too early but she didn’t panic and together they really dug deep in the final 100m to hold off the fast finishing Proud Val.

The win also capped off a stellar weekend for Blair Drinkwater and his First Up Racing group. Several of Quelle Liaison’s owners are part owners in Queensland bulldog Buffering.

“I really enjoy training for Blair and his group of owners,” Herne said.

“They are just as thrilled to win a class one race as they are winning a Group One and they just love their horses no matter what their ability.”

Ability has never been an issue for the four year old daughter of Sequalo an Herne has always had a big opinion of her.

“As a three year old I thought she was a Winter Carnival prospect but she just never came up last prep which is why she only had a couple of starts. Blair let me spell her and start again and she seems to be back to her old self having produced two great runs now this prep. She’s a free running horse that seems more comfortable up the front with plenty of room.”

Quelle Liaison has now won just over $43,000 from nine starts, including two wins, two seconds and two thirds.

Photo courtesy Trackside Photography