Steven Pateman and Patrick Payne

Steven Pateman and Patrick Payne after Zed Em's Grand Annual win (Image: Racing Photos)

Payne's Annual obsession

Patrick Payne admits he has an obsession with the Grand Annual Steeplechase.

The race makes him edgy in the weeks and months leading into it and when the day finally arrives he is wound up tight as a coil.

When his horses get around safely, he is relieved and when they win, his head starts to swim.

"You are so involved," he said in way of an explanation as to his emotional state each May.

"It's a long process with these horses. It's heart-wrenching sort of stuff watching them go around in these races. You trust them and they trust the riders.

"It's a unique race. Everything's got to go perfectly. Like the Dummy Myers team back in New Zealand had him in fantastic order, but nothing can go wrong.

"Every jump you have your heart in your mouth.

"When you win, it's 60 per cent relief and 40 per cent other emotions," he added. "It's a pretty daunting couple of weeks. You don't want anything to go wrong. Anything goes wrong and you're out.

"We had a new staff member come to our place the other day and she said 'What's wrong with Paddy' and one of the senior people said 'The Annual's coming up'.

"Anxious? I'm shocking."

WATCH: Hear from Payne

But he wouldn't have it any other way. So besotted is he with the unique cross-country race, he has built a replica set-up to Warrnambool's famous paddock course at his training property at Plumpton outside of Melbourne.

Payne won his fourth Grand Annual Steeplechase on Thursday with a horse that could come back in 12 months and win him a fifth.

Zed Em was there to be beaten with last year's winner Gold Medals serving it up to him on the home turn as Payne's other runner Slowpoke Rodrigeuz faded back through the field.

No horse has carried more than the 70 kilograms Zed Em lumped to victory on Thursday for the past 70 years, but now he's proven he can carry the weight and given the race's conditions stipulate the topweight can carry no more than 70kg , it seems certain he will return as a nine-year-old.

"He is a champion jumper who needs a lot of jumps," Payne said. "He gets to a track like Sandown and he can't use his jumping ability like he can here and at Oakbank.

"So I think we'll just look after him. Why risk him? For me, its Oakbank and we'll come back here if we can.

"I think Sea King is the best jumper, but this horse is so sweet at a fence and just so tough in a race."

WATCH: Zed Em's win

Payne have credit to another Grand Annual devotee in jockey Steven Pateman. He said Zed Em is such a good jumper that Pateman uses that advantage when the horses are jumping downhill.

"Pateman's a cunning bugger and he knows he can get away with it while the others can make mistakes trying to catch him," Payne said.

"He just knows the course so well. You leg him on, put your feet up and try to enjoy the ride."

For Pateman, it was his third Grand Annual victory following wins on Al Garhood (2011) and Awakening Dream (2012) but this one meant the most.

"To carry that weight, that was something pretty special," Pateman said. "I was so happy that the horse got it because he so deserved to win one.

"It's our Melbourne Cup. It's even bigger than that for me, It's the mecca.

"To start, I was afraid I would never win a Grand Annual because everything has to go right. And then I started getting afraid I wasn't going to win another one."

Although Zed Em was weighted at 70kg, Pateman has had a number of lighter rides over the four days and so has had to waste hard.

Pateman said a Wednesday night egg meal was all he had eaten since Sunday.

"My wife gave me an omelette last night. Nothing since Sunday, but who cares now. I'll have a steak tonight," he said.

WATCH: Hear from Pateman