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Star Belle Classic won by College Union

Owner-trainer Rex Allen faced a long drive back home to Taranaki after today's racing at Ellerslie, but the journey was surely made worthwhile by College Union's brave win in the $40,000 Genesis Star Belle Classic, a 2000-metre event for fillies and mares sponsored by Ancare and the NZTBA Auckland branch. Three-year-old filly Zirna (Deputy Governor) was a very close second, with another three-year-old The Cheek (Kaapstad) third.

The race honours a champion New Zealand mare of the 1960s, Star Belle who was bred and raced by Aucklanders James and Annie Sarten. She won 18 races including the New Zealand Oaks, Great Northern Derby and, in Melbourne, the Liston, Craiglee and Turnbull Stakes.

A five-year-old daughter of College Chapel and the imported Blushing Groom mare Union Springs, College Union was bred by Ra Ora Stud. She is one of six winners left by Union Springs before her death in 1998: the others include stakeswinner Aspects Of Love (by Famous Star, who was, like College Chapel, from the Sharpen Up sire-line). The family has produced several northern hemisphere stakeswinners such as Ace Of Aces (Goodwood Sussex S. G1; sire in New Zealand), US Grade 1 winner Fantastic Look and Grade 3 winner Worldly Ways.

A very genuine and consistent mare, College Union has now won eight races and been placed 14 times from 32 starts. Today's win took her earnings past the $100,000 mark for Mr Allen who races College Union in partnership with his wife Janice, and enjoyed success 15 years ago as the breeder of Noble Times, New Zealand's top-weighted juvenile filly of 1986-87.

Pedigree and race record information courtesy of Arion Pedigrees.

- Susan Archer