Dawn Passage has long been held in high regard at Tulloch Lodge and his Hawkesbury Guineas victory could be just the start of a rise through the ranks.
The colt has shown glimpses of brilliance, beating subsequent Group One winner Bivouac on debut and taking out the Listed Rosebud in the spring.
He was less than four lengths off the country’s best sprinting three-year-olds in the Golden Rose and co-trainer Adrian Bott says he is a more mature and complete racehorse this preparation.
His class was evident last start to win the Hawkesbury Guineas and markets rate Dawn Passage as the biggest danger to odds-on favourite Masked Crusader in Saturday’s $200,00 Inglis 3YO Guineas (1400m) at Rosehill.
Bott is confident the colt can go on with the job.
“You only have to look at the races he has contested throughout his career to get a gauge on the calibre of horse we thought he was,” Bott said.
“He’s just now starting to fulfil what he’s always shown us.”
A backmarker, Dawn Passage showed another string to his bow last start when he stalked the speed and pounced in the straight.
With just six Guineas runners, tempo could be an issue but Bott said that would not necessarily be a concern for Dawn Passage.
“Now that he has matured and is racing with a bit more confidence, I don’t think he is one-dimensional,” Bott said.
“He showed last start he was able to sit a bit closer with the natural step up to 1400-metres.
“His chances aren’t as dependent on tempo as what people might think.
“He’s got a bit more tactical speed and he’s travelling better in his races now.”
Despite the small numbers, the Guineas has attracted a quality field headed by favourite Masked Crusader, who backs up from an arrogant win over older horses last week.
Dawn Passage has been nominated for the Group One Stradbroke Handicap in Queensland and Bott wants to see a competitive showing to confirm the trip.
“Saturday will tell us a bit more and make sure we’re on the right path,” he said.
“If he is able to be impressive on the weekend we’ll certainly look toward going up north.”
The stable is also keen to see how speedy filly Bellevue Star handles a rise to Listed grade in the Woodlands Stakes (1100m).
She led throughout to score first-up at Canterbury and blinkers go on to sharpen her up for a slight distance reduction.
“The form has been good out of it and they ran good times on the day so I feel there was depth to that race,” Bott said.