Group Three winner Bellatrix Black is set to follow in the footsteps of her former stablemate Cheval Prometteur this spring.
The now retired gelding was victorious in the Group 3 Balmerino Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa last November after finishing fourth in the Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m).
While Bellatrix Black won’t be heading to the Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival, trainer Catherine Cameron has put a circle around the Group Three feature at Pukekohe on Melbourne Cup Day.
“We are going to kick her off at Ruakaka on the 10th (of September). There is a fillies and mares mile there,” Cameron said.
“From there I haven’t picked out her next race but the next big target I am going to aim for is the Balmerino Stakes, a race we won with Cheval Prometteur last year.
“We will let the older horses have a crack at Hawke’s Bay and we will chip away with her and hopefully get a bit more black-type.”
The daughter of Redwood had a pleasing three-year-old season, winning two and placing in two of her six starts, including victory in the Group 3 Sunline Vase (2100m).
“It was a big thrill to win the Sunline Vase with her,” Cameron said.
“Then we had a go at the Oaks (Group 1, 2400m) and things didn’t pan out for us that day. She is very lightly raced so we are hoping this season she should crack on and be competitive in some of those bigger staying races.”
Cameron said Bellatrix Black had thrived with her winter spell and pleased with her 1300m trial win on the Cambridge synthetic last Tuesday.
“She is not a really big mare, but she grew a little bit and has strengthened up a bit more. We are really happy with her,” Cameron said.
“I thought it was a really nice trial and she seems to have come through it really well.”
Cameron said she could have taken Bellatrix Black south to trial at Taupo on Wednesday, but she thought staying closer to home in weaker company would benefit her mare.
“I wasn’t expecting a strong bunch there, and we didn’t, but that was the plan,” she said.
“She could have gone down to Taupo, but then she would have had to go up against the big guns.
“She thrives on being confident and thinking she is good all the way through, and that has worked previously, so that is the plan again.”
Cameron was also pleased with the 4.5 length trial victory of her unnamed El Hermano mare over 950m. It was her second trial victory in a row and she is set to make her raceday debut next month.
“She is a funny little thing,” said Cameron, who co-bred and co-owns the four-year-old.
“She disgraced herself in her first trial but has behaved herself in her next two.
“She is certainly very quick but she has got to learn that sometimes she is not going to get everything her own way and she might have to have some manners.
“She is small but strong. Being by El Hermano, if we can get one or two runs into her while the tracks are still wet then I will probably put her aside.
“We will possibly kick her off in a couple of weeks at Avondale in a 1200m race.”