Nigel Blackiston has Provincial Plate hope again

Nigel Blackiston is keen to boost Ferro Nero’s rating and is hoping the gelding can do that in a race the trainer is no stranger to winning.

Ferro Nero runs in Saturday’s $100,000 David Bourke Provincial Plate (1600m) at Flemington which is restricted to horses who have raced at least three times in non-metropolitan races in the past year.

Blackiston has won the Provincial Plate with Another Trick (2002), Woodwin (2009) and Menados (2012).

Ferro Nero took a while to break his maiden but managed to win twice last preparation at Kilmore and Sandown.

Blackiston believes Ferro Nero can make a nice middle-distance horse and says the immediate goal is to win races to get his rating up.

Ferro Nero steps to 1600m second-up on Saturday after a midfield finish over 1206m at Sale.

“I think he’s a very nice horse,” Blackiston said.

“Mentally and physically he’s finally grown up a lot but I still think there’s more room for improvement.

“It’s just a nice race for him second-up, going forward to possibly more ground later on.”

Blackiston said Ferro Nero took benefit from his first-up run and believes he’s at his best when he can get to the outside.

Ferro Nero, to be ridden by Darren Gauci, is at $31 but Blackiston isn’t discounting the four-year-old’s chances of figuring.

“I don’t believe in wasting runs,” Blackiston said.

“I think it’s a nice race for him. He’s down in the ratings and it would be nice to run a place or win so we can get his rating up.

“There’s some nice horses above him but I think he’s a nice, progressive horse that’s going to improve and get better.”

Ferro Nero is one of two runners at Flemington for Blackiston, with two-year-old Shadow Prince contesting Saturday’s Bay and Ranges Handicap (1400m) at his fifth start.

“He’s a nice style of a horse,” Blackiston said.

“He’s still got a lot to learn and with time and more experience he could make a nice middle-distance horse.”

The trainer said Shadow Prince, a last-start runner-up in a metropolitan class race at Sale, would need to run well to progress to the Listed Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m) two weeks later.


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