Babylon Berlin too quick in Riccarton dash

Babylon Berlin
Babylon Berlin streaks to victory in the Listed Donaldson Brown Pegasus Stakes (1000m) at Riccarton. Photo Credit: Race Images South

Speedy mare Babylon Berlin got her spring campaign off to the best possible start when she proved too slick for her rivals in the Listed Donaldson Brown Pegasus Stakes (1000m) at Riccarton.

The Ben Foote-trained daughter of All Too Hard had shown she has a touch a class about her during a three-year-old campaign where she finished in the top three in nine of her ten starts, winning four times including the Group 3 Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) in her last start before being put aside for a winter break.

Foote has played a patient game as he prepared her for her four-year-old season, giving her just the one trial back in September, where she won untouched by nine lengths over 800m at Cambridge.

Sent out a raging -333.33 favourite for Saturday’s contest down the Riccarton 1000m dogleg, Babylon Berlin and rider Lisa Allpress speared to the lead after a slightly tardy start and gave nothing else a chance as they streaked clear in the run home to win by two lengths in a slick 56.53 seconds for the journey.

Allpress, who was having her first ride on the mare, was suitably impressed by the performance after receiving some advice from former rider Sam Collett, who is now plying her trade in Queensland.

“I had a nice message from Sam Collett this morning saying she (Babylon Berlin) was super fast,” Allpress said.

“When we stood in the gates a little, I was like “ooh”, but she bounced away and got to her favourite spot in front and stacked them up a little.

“When I asked her, she kicked away really nicely, she is a willing wee girl.”

Foote, who couldn’t travel to Riccarton due to COVID restrictions, was happy to watch the race unfold how he had imagined.

“She has really come up well and strengthened up considerably this time in,” he said.

“While I couldn’t get down there, it was a pretty good deal as all I had to do was send her down to Terri Rae, who has looked after her and I could just sit on the couch and watch her win.

“She did miss the kick a little, but she has done that before, so I wasn’t too worried.

“When she was in front, I thought she would be too good for them and that’s how it worked out.”

Foote will now forego a start in the Group 3 Lindauer Stewards Stakes (1200m) on Wednesday in favour of getting Babylon Berlin back home in time to contest the Listed Haunui Farm Counties Bowl (1100m) at Te Rapa on November 20.

“When we planned to go to Riccarton it was only if we could fly down there and fly home again,” Foote said.

“We put a nom in for the Stewards, but I don’t think we will start in that as I want her back home for the Counties Bowl later in the month.

“The main aim all along has been the Sistema Railway (Group 1, 1200m) on New Year’s Day, so that’s what I will be setting her for.

“Terri told me she hasn’t missed a beat and is pretty full of herself, so I’m hoping the race and trip home won’t take too much out of her.

“She can be a pretty bad-tempered piece of work and Lisa said after the race she was playing up on the way to the barrier, while she was also gawking around over the final 50m.

“She has so much ability it’s something you just have to put up with and once she is the finished product, she could be something special.”

Raced by her breeder Scott Williams along with Foote, Kim Rogers, Sam Beatson, Cedric Foote and Andrew Stuart, Babylon Berlin is out of Fusaichi Pegasus mare You Can’t Say That, a daughter of What Can I Say who won eight races including six at stakes level.

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