Kiwi mare Passione recorded an impressive victory over 1400m at Caulfield on Saturday for new trainer Nigel Blackiston.
Sporting the colours of Brendan and Jo Lindsay of Cambridge Stud, the four-year-old mare was transferred across the Tasman, having won one of her 16 starts in the care of Lisa Latta, while also boasting an important Group Three placing in the Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) as a three-year-old.
In her second start for Ballarat-based Blackiston, Passione came with a well-timed run under Craig Williams to score by a half-length in BenchMark 70 grade on a Soft 5 surface.
The well-related daughter of Proisir looks set to continue her rise through the grades before attempting to add further black-type to her record.
Blackiston was delighted to get a Saturday metro victory for connections and said she had derived good benefit from her first-up run at Sandown when seventh, beaten three lengths.
“I was confident she would run well at Sandown Lakeside, but unfortunately she drew a wide barrier and she was trapped wide the whole way and today she has taken good benefit from that run,” Blackiston said.
“A special thanks to Cambridge Stud for their big support with Brendan and Jo Lindsay and a team headed by Henry Plumptre. They have been very supportive over the last couple of years and it is nice to get a Saturday win for them.
“If she keeps on progressing and improving, then I hope we can get some black-type down the track. We will obviously keep going through the grades and in similar sort of races she will be very competitive.
“I think seven furlongs to a mile will be her best trip and she may stretch out a bit further later on, but I will just keep her nice and fresh and keep her happy.”
Passione settled midfield and one off the fence before Craig Williams worked her into the clear 250m from home and she drove determinedly to the line to score.
“She’s a lovely mare and the way she felt I would say there are a lot of options for her. She’s definitely on the way up,” Williams said.
Cambridge Stud purchased Passione, a half-sister to multiple Group winner and NZB Filly of the Year Dijon Bleu, out of Lansdowne Park’s New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale draft for $100,000.
Bred by Craig Grammer and the Robinson Family Trust, Passione is a daughter of the unraced More Than Ready mare Pristino, a half-sister to the Gr.2 Queen of the South Stakes (1600m) winner So Pristine.
Cambridge Stud chief executive Henry Plumptre was keen to give the mare her opportunity across the Tasman and confirmed she will race on as a five-year-old.
“She has got a lovely pedigree that filly. She is a half-sister to Dijon Bleu, who was a very good horse here in New Zealand a couple of years ago and her brother by The Autumn Sun made $900,000 at Karaka this year and will be trained by Roger James and Robert Wellwood,” Plumptre said.
“She is a stakes-placed filly and by Proisir who has really made an amazing start to his stud career at Rich Hill Stud and we thought she deserved a chance over there.
“Lisa Latta gave her a really good go. She was a winner and stakes placed in a competitive three-year-old fillies race but the problem with the Central Districts is you can be racing on a heavy track for eight months of the year. While this filly has shown a liking for soft ground, she doesn’t like it heavy.
“Nigel Blackiston has done an amazing job for Cambridge Stud with fillies or mares that have had a couple of problems or haven’t quite found their mark in another stable. Everything we have sent him he has turned into a city winner and two or three of them have been stakes-performed.”