Dijon Bleu (Jonathan Riddell) delivers another big-race win at Te Rapa.
With another exceptional performance in the Gr. 2 Cambridge Stud Sir Tristram Fillies’ Classic at Te Rapa, Dijon Bleu completed a dream day for her connections and cemented her place as the superstar of New Zealand’s three-year-old filly crop.
Just over half an hour after trainer Lisa Latta and the same syndicate of owners won the two-year-old event with Secret Allure, Dijon Bleu delivered her fifth black-type win of the season in the $100,000 feature.
“We’re living the dream,” said Andrew Rennie, who is Latta’s logistics manager and also shares in the ownership of both of today’s winners.
“Two runners on a premier day for two winners, you can’t get any better than that. It’s a shame I have to drive the float home tonight – this is a great group of owners who are going to have a big celebration.”
Dijon Bleu had already confirmed her class with wins in the Wanganui Fillies’ Stakes, Gold Trail Stakes, Soliloquy Stakes and Desert Gold Stakes, along with placings in the New Zealand 1000 Guineas and Eulogy Stakes.
But today’s 2000-metre race was a step into the unknown – stretching beyond 1600 metres for the first time in her career, and doing so on a rain-soaked track.
Dijon Bleu was awkwardly placed towards the rear of the 11-horse field, but jockey Jonathan Riddell was well aware of the powerful engine underneath him. He turned her loose in the straight and the response was explosive, roaring to the lead and opening a big break on the field.
Dijon Bleu began to hang out in the last 100 metres, allowing the fast-finishing Mark Two and Milseain to get within three-quarters of a length, but the $2.40 favourite was never in any serious danger of defeat.
“She didn’t have it all her own way, but good fillies can overcome a lot,” Latta said. “I told Jonathan to just put her to sleep and get her to relax – that was the best chance of getting the 2000 metres.
“She was up against a lot of good fillies today, but she’s got a really electric turn of foot and she showed that. It’s very satisfying.”
Dijon Bleu has been the clear New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series leader since she won the very first leg, the Gold Trail Stakes, in mid-September. Her tally now stands at a near-unassailable 30 points, with second-placed Contessa Vanessa on 13.5.
Three legs remain in the series – the Lowland Stakes, the Sunline Vase and the New Zealand Oaks. Latta has confirmed that Dijon Bleu will line up in the first of those, while the TAB has tightened her New Zealand Oaks odds from $12 to be the hot favourite at $3.50.
“We’ll just take it one race at a time,” Latta said. “We’ll go to the Lowland next.”
Dijon Bleu, who cost just $26,000 as a yearling at Karaka, has now won six of her 11 starts for prize-money in excess of $300,000.
Today’s result carried special significance for sponsors Cambridge Stud, with Burgundy a member of the iconic farm’s stallion roster.
“Having stood Burgundy, this gives me great pleasure,” said Sir Patrick Hogan, who will hand Cambridge Stud over to Brendan and Jo Lindsay in April.