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Former smart Melbourne racemare set for New Zealand debut

Racing right-handed will be a new experience for the classy mare Platinum Passion when she makes her New Zealand debut at Ellerslie tomorrow.

The well-bred five-year-old has been a multiple stakes placegetter in Australia and is close to her best to resume in the Listed Westbury Classic, according to Matamata co-trainer Andrew Clarken.

“She came here just before Christmas and I couldn’t be happier with her,” he said. “Fitness-wise she’s pretty close, but there is a slight concern that she hasn’t had a lot of right-handed practice.

“She’s had a bit of galloping and a trial at Auckland with this race in mind and she’s going well. We rode her back in the trial and she went to the line okay.”

Platinum Passion has four wins and six placings in 17 appearances from Michael Moroney’s Flemington stable, proving competitive in Australia against quality opposition.

One of her best performances was a second placing to subsequent Gr.1 Cox Plate winner Pinker Pinker in the Gr.3 Matron Stakes at Flemington. She also earned black-type credits when third in the Gr.2 Sunline Vase at Moonee Valley, fourth in the Gr.3 Coongy Handicap at Caulfield and second in the Listed Centaurea Stakes at Morphetville.

“If she runs up to anything like that form tomorrow then she’s going to be right in it,” Clarken said.

A half-sister by Redoute’s Choice to the multiple Group Two winner Tusker, Platinum Passion shares the same grey colouring as her illustrious granddam, Japan Cup heroine Horlicks.

“She’s a valuable mare and her main aim is the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes at Te Aroha in April,” Clarken said. “If she can win that then I’d say she would probably be retired.”

Meanwhile, stablemate Chicharita’s progress is being monitored after her game run for fourth in the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby before her immediate future is confirmed.

“Mike has left it up to me and if she’s fine she’ll go to the Oaks at Trentham,” Clarken said. “He’s keen to bypass Sydney and then go on to Brisbane with her.”

Paul Vettise, Tue, 06 Mar 2012
[06 Mar 12]

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