An impressive debut-winning filly with family links to the Golden Slipper favourite will be given the chance to stamp her Blue Diamond credentials at Flemington.
The Murray Johnson-trained Take Pride was too good for her rivals in a 2-3/4 length victory on her home track at Seymour on debut.
All going well, Johnson hopes she can progress to the Group One $1 million Blue Diamond in February.
“We’ve been paying the money to stay eligible, so you’ve got to be pointing towards it,” Johnson said.
“That’s the dream really. As long as she keeps stepping up that’s the direction we’ll go.”
Take Pride’s link to the Golden Slipper favourite Ottoman comes via their dams, Shabtis and Byzantine respectively, who are sisters.
Take Pride is by 2009 Blue Diamond winner Reward For Effort while Ottoman is by Exceed And Excel who is the sire of Reward For Effort.
Johnson, who trained in the United States for 20 years, is excited about the potential of Take Pride who he believes will have learned from the experience on debut.
He said she had only had one jump-out before her debut.
“She has made steady progress for quite a while now, she just keeps improving and handling things very well mentally,” the trainer said.
“I’ve always known she has had a lot of ability, it’s just been keeping her mentally happy and right.”
If Take Pride can win again on Thursday the Blue Diamond Preview for fillies on January 26 is likely to be the filly’s next mission.
Johnson also starts Sandown Guineas placegetter Berisha in the Williamstown Handicap (1400m) and is optimistic about his chances.
The gelding has a visor back on which Johnson expects will help the three-year-old settle closer in the run than his most recent start when fourth at Flemington over 1400m.