Bellacontte proves too strong in Wanganui feature

Trainer Chrissy Bambry (right) and jockey Sarah McNab celebrate their success with Bellacontte in the Listed O’Learys Filles Stakes (1200m) at Wanganui. Photo Credit: Race Images – Grant Matthew

Foxton filly Bellacontte picked up a deserved success at stakes level when she produced an irresistible late run to take out the Listed O’Learys Fillies Stakes (1200m) at Wanganui on Saturday.

The Chrissy Bambry-trained three-year-old daughter of Burgundy had been a model of consistency in four starts as a two-year-old, picking up a win and finishing her season with a strong showing for fourth in the Listed Castletown Stakes (1200m) at Otaki.

Settled in midfield by rider Sarah McNab, Bellacontte travelled nicely throughout and pounced when a gap opened to down pacemaker Unusual Countess, who fought on bravely to take second, with Matamata visitor Ima Roca Bee closing off well for third.

Bambry was in two minds on whether to run the filly in the race after she had been battling a hoof issue but made the decision to start after a stirring track gallop during the week.

“She has had a bit of a sore foot and so I wasn’t going to come here today, but after she galloped so well on Tuesday it changed my mind,” Bambry said.

“I had to make sure that Sarah could ride her as she just gets on so well with her as she is not an easy filly to ride at times.

“Sarah has worked her out and that showed the way she settled so nicely for her today.

“I had said to Sarah to be positive on her and when she took that gap halfway down the straight it was the winning of the race.”

Bambry will now get Bellacontte ready for a tilt at the Group 3 Hawke’s Bay Breeders’ Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) at Hastings in a fortnight.

“We didn’t really have her screwed down for today, so I was hoping for a top four finish to provide some momentum heading to Hastings for the Gold Trail Stakes,” she said.

“She will only improve out of this and if she goes well at Hastings then I think we need to look at the New Zealand 1000 Guineas (Group 1, 1600m) at Riccarton as well.”

Bambry was also delighted with debutant filly Princess Biddy who went a bold race for third in the Listed HS Dyke Wanganui Guineas (1340m) later on the card.

“Princess Biddy is part-owned by a Boys Get Paid syndicate, so you can imagine there was plenty of chat before and after the race,” Bambry said.

“I even had a couple of Zoom calls after the race so the boys could join in the fun given no one was allowed on course due to the COVID-19 situation.

“She is a filly with plenty of promise, who had looked good at the jumpouts and raced accordingly today.

“She had a decent blow after the race which probably explained why she just wilted a little in the last 100m, so I think she is a filly we are going to have some real fun with.”

Bambry also sent out impressive winner Spring Tide, who had in excess of five lengths to spare when landing an Open Handicap, the Take It Easy Tours 1340m, continuing the good form of the stable which celebrated success at Hawera on Friday when Savabeel four-year-old Lord Esperanza cleared maiden ranks.

Bellacontte is raced by Singapore-based businessman Ben Kwok and is out of the Tavistock mare Devon Doll. She comes from an extended family that includes Group 1 Telegraph Handicap (1200m) runner-up Tootsie and stakes performers La Rose Noir and No Excuse Maggie.

The victory capped off a great day for Kwok who also has shares in the ownership of impressive Te Rapa maiden winner Pure Imagination.

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