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Image: Steve Hart
Unbeaten filly The Black Cloud will face an important test when she rises to Saturday grade

Winning a provincial maiden on debut then backing it up with a midweek success in town is usually the hallmark of an above-average horse and emerging filly The Black Cloud might just fit that bill.

An autumn carnival appearance is on the cards for the three-year-old if she can continue her quick progression through the grades when she faces her first test in Saturday company at Rosehill.

Regardless of the result, trainer Joe Pride will give the filly a break after this weekend but the length of time she has off will hinge on her performance in the Expect It All This Autumn At ATC Handicap (1200m).

“This will definitely be it for her on Saturday, but how she goes will determine what kind of break she gets,” Pride said.

“If I wanted to give her a crack at something like the P J Bell (Stakes), it could be a shorter let-up, or I could be concentrating on Scone for the 1100-metre three-year-old fillies races, which would be a slightly longer let-up.

“Or I might just say, ‘let’s knock off a couple of races over the winter’ and she could have a month or six weeks off.

“I’m open-minded, I’m going to let Saturday tell us.”

A daughter of versatile stallion Shamus Award, The Black Cloud outclassed her rivals when scoring on debut at Gosford and was again impressive when working at both ends of the race to win on the Kensington circuit last start.

The two efforts are hard to fault and she has been installed an early $3 top pick to extend her winning sequence to three on Saturday.

“You could only be impressed really,” Pride said.

“One sheer speed and the other one a fair bit of tenacity and a really good kick at the end of the race when she got challenged.

“They’re good signs. You figure any horse that can string two together like that, and hopefully three by Saturday, is on their way to being something pretty good.”

Pride will also have Mission Phoenix and Estadio Mestalla in the 1500m benchmark 88 event and while the former will be better over further, he expects Estadio Mestalla to run well on the back-up from his second to Amor Victorious last Saturday.

“The plan was to ride him forward last week, but he wasn’t fast away and ended up sitting out the back,” Pride said.

“It was a slow run race and a dash home so while he had a tough run in transit, I don’t think he had a hard run, and I don’t mind backing him up.

“I quite like this horse. He’s lightly raced enough to have good improvement in him, and the two starts he’s had for me he’s done really well.”

 
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