Passion still burns for Group 1 shot

3 min read

By Bren O'Brien

Tony McEvoy is hoping a change of approach could power 7-year-old mare Cool Passion (Not A Single Doubt) all the way to Group 1 level next preparation after she returned to form with a win in the G3 The Hong Kong Jockey Club S. at Flemington.

Cool Passion had not won beyond 1200m before Tuesday, but sensing the mare lacked the turn of foot to compete over that distance, McEvoy stepped her up and was rewarded with a second stakes-win for the former Perth mare.

The other significant change was the addition of Tommy Berry, who sat her outside the leader, something she hasn’t done in her nine previous starts for McEvoy.

She kicked strongly down the straight and then held off a late charge from Princess Posh (Canford Cliffs {Ire}) to strengthen her resume.

"It was the first time up to the 1400m for a while," Berry said. "She's been looking for that extra couple hundred metres."

"She's been looking for that extra couple hundred metres." - Tommy Berry

"She just wanted to tow me a little early. I didn’t want to drag her round too much. I just let her be comfortable and she just took me as far as I wanted to in the straight and when I asked her to kick, she was too strong for them."

Cool Passion's most recent victory before Tuesday came in a G3 event at Caulfield in October 2017, while she was runner-up in this race last year.

The addition of jockey Tommy Berry proved to be a winning formula for Cool Passion

McEvoy said the initial thoughts were to send her to the breeding barn this spring, but he convinced the owners to give her one more campaign.

"She's a high quality mare. She was bought by Jane Henning for John and Anne McDonnell in Perth, I wanted to give them a big thank you for their patience." he said.

"I wanted to give them a big thank you for their patience." - Tony McEvoy

"We decided to go again and give her another year before they send her to stud and her form this time has been OK, but not up to standard and they trusted me and gave the mare another chance."

McEvoy said there were plenty of queries on the soft ground over 1400m, but she had answered those on Tuesday.

"She's had very little experience on the soft, being from Perth that's understandable, but she's handled it," he said. "I think the 1400m is the key. I've been running here in 1200s and she's been finding them a bit sharp. At the 1400, she controlled the race and had a great kick."

Tony McEvoy thanked the connections of Cool Passion for their patience

McEvoy said a race like the Group 1 Robert Sangster S. could be a target in the autumn for Cool Passion.

Meanwhile Kris Lees may yet press on this campaign with his tough mare Princess Posh, who has been up since March and has a win and three placings from her last five starts, all of which have been in stakes company.

"She's very brave, she's had a really long preparation. I keep threatening to spell her and she keeps producing runs like that. I'm very proud of her," he said.

"It all depends how she pulls up. If she bounced out of it and we think the conditions will suit, then may be (we will press on)."