Lisa Latta and Leith Innes’ confidence in Dijon Bleu’s ability to succeed beyond a mile was given a major boost on Saturday.
The trainer-jockey combination paired up with the high-class filly for a hollow victory in the Gr.3 Metroclad-Terracade Desert Gold Stakes (1600m).
“She gets her head up high and she’s not very big, but she’s a star,” Innes said. “It will be interesting to see if she gets 2000m, but I don’t see why not.”
Dijon Bleu was tucked in on the rail behind the leaders and once a gap opened up along the fence 250m from home the daughter of Burgundy was through in a flash.
“I had a good chat to Lisa before the race and she said to hold her up,” Innes said. “I could have got out and rolling 600m from home, but I had no choice and then she exploded when she was clear.”
Dijon Bleu accelerated sharply to record a commanding winning performance with Blanco Belle a game runner-up and Werther’s sister Milseain, in just her second start, an encouraging third.
“She was a bit above herself today and maybe in the 1000 Guineas and the Eulogy Stakes she got there a bit too soon,” said Latta, referring to the filly’s previous two runner-up finishes. “She’s been thriving on short breaks.”
Dijon Bleu is eligible to run in next Saturday’s Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m), but is unlikely to do so.
“Looking at the weather forecast I don’t want to run her on a hard track,” Latta said. “We’ll more than likely look at the Sir Tristram Classic next.”
Dijon Bleu will likely run in to the Desert Gold placegetters again in the Group 2 Sir Tristram Classic (2000m) with both on a New Zealand Oaks preparation.
There was an air of deja vu about the effort of Milseain to finish third for trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman. The pair trained 2017 NZ Filly Of The Year Bonneval to run third in the 2017 Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes before winning the Group 2 Sir Tristram Classic and Group 3 Lowland Stakes (2100m) en route to her Group 1 New Zealand and Group 1 ATC Oaks wins.
Landsdowne Park will offer a half-brother (Lot 497) by Proisir to Dijon Bleu at the Book 1 Sale at Karaka on January 30.