Jockey Tim Clark has laid down the challenge to Dawn Passage to convert his abundant promise into racetrack results, starting with the first three-year-old stakes race of the Sydney season.
The Tulloch Lodge-trained colt resumes in the Listed Rosebud (1100m) at Rosehill on Saturday and it will be no walk in the park against a sharp field that boasts dual Group Two winner Anaheed, Godolphin’s Athiri, promising filly Let It Pour, and the in-form Lucicello.
Waterhouse and Bott will also have Kembla Grange winner Escaped in the race.
It will be the first time Dawn Passage has raced since he followed an emphatic debut victory at Randwick with a placing behind subsequent Group One winner Castelvecchio in the Inglis Millennium in February.
Trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott took a patient approach with the colt, bypassing the major autumn carnival races to give him time to mature, and Clark is hoping Dawn Passage can repay their faith.
“This is the time of year you hope those two-year-olds who showed a bit of promise can return and take that next step as three-year-olds,” Clark said.
“I think you’ll find Gai and Adrian have got a lot of horses who have just turned three in the same situation, they were lightly raced as two-year-olds and they’re putting their hands up at the trials and trackwork now to say they’ve appreciated the time they’ve been given.
“We’ll see how that transfers to the races, starting this weekend.”
Clark did not have much contact with Dawn Passage during his juvenile season but he has been closely involved with him this preparation, partnering him to his most recent barrier trial win at Randwick.
He has been satisfied with the horse’s lead-up and says the addition of blinkers could be a significant move for Dawn Passage, who is currently on the third line of Golden Rose betting at $15.
“I didn’t ride him but apparently he worked quite sharp with the blinkers on Tuesday morning,” Clark said.
The jockey will also ride Wimlah and Ulusaba for Waterhouse and Bott and says both are chances in their respective races.
Ulusaba backs up after finishing a close fourth to Matowi last Saturday while Wimlah finds herself in another 1400m race after a closing fifth behind Ligulate over the same distance two weeks ago.
“She hit the line well last start and had it been 1500 or 1600 (metres) I would have been extremely confident,” Clark said.
“But she’s still racing really well and even over the 1400 metres and she’ll be a great chance.
Clark has also picked up three rides for Bjorn Baker, including Prime Candidate who the jockey regards as a leading chance in the Cabra Bowls Handicap (1200m).