Racing: Pay Homage earns respect as he reaches notable milestone

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PAY HOMAGE joins the "100 club" when he turns out in the Royal Crescent Handicap which closes the card at Bath today. The Ian Balding- trained 10-year-old will contest his 100th Flat race when he tackles the extended one mile three furlongs event. The Primo Dominie gelding was purchased by Balding as a yearling for Miss Audrey Hill although ownership is now shared with the trainer who uses the horse to give his apprentices experience.

Pay Homage has won 12 races in his career with his last success coming at Warwick in May and Balding reports his charge in good heart.

However, the trainer knows more than anyone the horse can be a little difficult to predict. "He has his own mind although we are hopeful he will run well," he said yesterday.

"Martyn (Dwyer) who won on him at Bath a year ago takes the ride although Leanne [7lb claimer Leanne Masterton] rode him last time he won."

As well as his 99 appearances on the Flat, Pay Homage has had two official runs over hurdles. "He didn't really enjoy it," the trainer said. "My daughter Clare also won on him at Wincanton, although it was a charity race which was not officially recognised." he added.

Rodger Farrant, clerk of the course at Bath is delighted Pay Homage will reach his century at the course. "He's been a grand old servant who has always been welcome here," Farrant said.