Passenger plans awaited after return to winning ways

Connections are willing to bide their time after Passenger served a reminder of his quality to give Sir Michael Stoute his 10th win in the Winter Hill Stakes at Windsor.

Owned by the Niarchos family, the son of Ulysses was considered a Derby contender earlier this season and was supplemented for the premier Classic after backing up an impressive debut in the Wood Ditton by finishing third in the Dante at York – a race where many saw the colt as the moral winner following a luckless run on the Knavesmire.

Off the track since disappointing at Epsom, Passenger was dropped back to 10 furlongs for the Windsor Group Three on Saturday evening and showed his class when hitting the front approaching a furlong out in the hands of Richard Kingscote and knuckled down to hold off the challenge of Simon and Ed Crisford’s West Wind Blows.

“We were happy with his performance after a nice break,” said Alan Cooper, racing manager for the owners.

“He’s a Group winner now and hopefully will have learnt a lot from the race.

“It’s too soon to speak about plans and we’ll take our time and go from there.”

In winning the Winter Hill Stakes, Passenger went one better than his illustrious sire who was beaten a short head in the race in 2016.

Like Passenger, Ulysses was both trained by Stoute and contested the Derby during his three-year-old season and having gone on to strike twice at the highest level the following year, it provides plenty of optimism his talented son could follow in his footsteps and still have his best days ahead of him.

“I think it’s a good point and there are definitely similarities in their race programme, the sire and him,” continued Cooper.

“It’s a case of seeing what Sir Michael would like to do. He’ll take his time and nothing is set in stone.

“He’s a horse that has done very well this year and hopefully he will also have a very good year next year.

“He’s a 10-furlong horse that’s for sure. The Dante form is working out well and it is always good to have form working out.”

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