Sweet recovery for Sugar Bella at Randwick after recent mishap

Sugar Bella
Sugar Bella winning at Randwick

Sugar Bella has been on her best behaviour at Randwick, two weeks after the mare’s pre-race antics left top jockey Kerrin McEvoy nursing a broken hand.

The four-year-old mare was a reformed character while being escorted to the barriers and she then maintained her composure to claim the ATC Owners Benefit Card Sprint (1200m).

Sugar Bella provided Newcastle trainer Kris Lees with a training double after Sasso Corbaro had claimed the TAB Handicap (1300m) to stay unbeaten this preparation.

Lees said Sugar Bella’s fourth win from five starts was some consolation for a costly scratching on December 16 that undermined hopes of qualifying for the Magic Millions Fillies & Mares race at the Gold Coast on January 13.

Sugar Bella ($4.20) was strong through the line to beat Reward For Fashion ($31) by two lengths while Kawaikini ($13) was 1-1/4 lengths third.

“She’s really let fly. She’s a really smart mare, she’s got many more wins in store,” Lees said.

“Summer isn’t an ideal time of year with firmer grounds and she’s been fortunate she’s had tracks just that little bit forgiving in her two runs for me.

“She can get a little bit hot, as Kerrin McEvoy knows sitting at home.”

Lees took over training Sugar Bella from Goulburn horseman Danny Williams in May last year, and then had to be patient as she managed knee issues before making a winning comeback at Canterbury on December 1.

He conceded the Magic Millions carnival was almost off the table.

“We’ll nominate but she won’t have enough money. We’ll aim to get her there but history says she wouldn’t make it,” Lees said.

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