Bellacontte out to defy recent history

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Trainer Chrissy Bambry will attempt a rare feat on Saturday when high-class three-year-old Bellacontte takes on the older mares in the Group 3 Wyndspelle @ Grangewilliam Stud Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) at Hawera.

No three-year-old filly has won the race since the Murray Baker-trained Verlei surprised at big odds in the year 2000.

A last start winner of the Group 3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m), following a Listed win in the O’learys Fillies Stakes 3YO (1200m), Bellacontte will carry just 50kgs with Sarah Macnab to ride, and is building towards the Group 1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on November 13.

“She has trained on well since her last win,” Bambry said.

“It is probably not the race everyone uses to go there (1000 Guineas), but I wanted a 1400m race and a bit of time before the Guineas. Only having to carry 50 kilos should be a bonus for her because she is only 410kgs so the less weight the better.

“I didn’t really want to travel her too far because she is going to have a big trip to Christchurch in November. This is only a couple of hours away and it worked in time-wise.”

Bambry said the fact regular rider Sarah Macnab was a natural lightweight made the decision to take on the older mares an easier one, with Bellacontte to become the first three-year-old to line up in the race since 2016.

“Sarah probably won’t be able to have a big roast dinner the night before, but her saddles are pretty heavy when you have 58 or 59 kilos,” Bambry said.

“She shouldn’t have too much problem getting down to 50 kilos, she only has to do it for one day and I’ll shout her dinner on the way home.”

The Foxton horsewoman said there was still improvement to come in the daughter of Burgundy despite winning successive stakes races.

“Her coat is still coming out and she has a lot of improvement in her. I’m trying not to peak her too early. Her big target is the Group One so it will be interesting to see her with the older horses and hopefully it is good experience for her and another notch on her belt. If she is running on and could sneak a place, that would be great,” Bambry said.

The slight filly will likely have a trial close to home before heading to Christchurch in the week of the Guineas.

Bambry will also have veteran Deerfield stepping up over ground in the South Taranaki Club Egmont Cup (2100m) plus Savabeel four-year-old Lord Esperanza contesting the NZB Ready To Run Trainers Series (1400m).

Meanwhile, Bambry reports her Group One performed galloper Spring Tide will contest the Group 3 Sweynesse Stakes (1215m) at Rotorua on October 17 after finishing eighth in last week’s Group 1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m).

“He just got hammered down the back straight by Prise de Fer which made him over race a bit. The track was a little bit too firm for him so he is having a couple of easy weeks and the forecast looks like there might be a wet track at Rotorua,” Bambry said.

“If it is a wet track at Rotorua we might go there, otherwise he will have a well-deserved break.”

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