Underrated mare Belclare (Per Incanto x Miss Rhythmic) will head to the paddock with the title of Group One winner now firmly attached to her career record after blitzing her rivals in the Gr.1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Pukekohe.
The Lisa Latta-trained runner had finished well back in the Gr.3 Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham last start, but Latta put that down to the tricky Slow 7 track that day.
Back on a Good 4 surface for the last Group One event of the New Zealand 2022/23 racing season, Belclare relished the firmer track in the hands of rider Sam Spratt.
Spratt followed instructions to perfection as she settled the daughter of Per Incanto just ahead of midfield before creeping forward to sit outside pacemaker Clever Ruds with 800m to run.
Spratt asked for an effort turning for home as Belclare shot away from her rivals and never looked like being caught as she coasted home three lengths to the good of three-year-old filly Skew Wiff with Our Alley Cat claiming third.
Spratt admitted her aim in recent years has been to get to 20 Group One wins but had thought that opportunity may have passed her before her latest success, her 18th elite level victory after recording her first in the corresponding event aboard Captivate in 2007.
“This was my first Group One a number of years ago and it has been a little while in between drinks,” Spratt said.
“My aim was to see if I could get to twenty before I hung my boots up and I thought that was going to be out of reach, but hey maybe there is still hope in it.
“She (Belclare) was very good as Lisa said don’t hunt her out as she can over-race and we popped out and came across and she ended up getting a beautiful sit approaching the corner.
“She travelled into it awesome and I never asked her until the 300m and when I did, she really let down.
“She is a smart little mare and has been thereabouts in most of her starts and the only times she has been tripped up is when she has hit a rougher track.”
Latta has been in a purple patch of form at the highest level over the summer, taking the Gr.1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) with He’s A Doozy, the Gr.2 Auckland Cup (3200m) with Platinum Invador and last weekend, the Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) with Pignan.
She acknowledged that as she took congratulations on her most recent success.
“It has been a fantastic summer,” she said.
“She (Belclare) had worked an absolute treat and the track was just too wet for her at Wellington.
“I said to Sam today to go back and see if she can get some cover and let her travel within herself, she has such a high cruising speed.
“The owners are fantastic clients and David (Woodhouse) races a few horses with me, so to get this is just the pinnacle for him.”
Bred by David Woodhouse, who also shares in her ownership, Belclare becomes the seventh individual Group One winner for her Little Avondale Stud-based sire Per Incanto, who will stand his 13th season at the Wairarapa nursery in 2023.
Belclare comes from an extended family that includes Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) winner Olga’s Pal and Gr.1 VRC Oaks (2500m) winner Kirramosa and has now won nine of her 27 starts and over $418,000 in prizemoney. – NZ Racing Desk