Classy juvenile filly Maven Belle made it three wins from three starts when she swept to a clearcut victory in the feature race at Matamata on Saturday, the Gr.2 J Swap Contractors Ltd Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m).
The Jamie Richards-trained daughter of Burgundy had looked to have a touch of class when she won on debut over 1000m at Te Aroha in early January.
That impression deepened when she produced a similar performance to win the Gr.3 Platinum Homes 2YO Classic (1200m) at Te Rapa a fortnight ago and rose to an even higher level on Saturday as she produced a powerful home straight surge to easily account for her rivals by over two and a half-lengths.
Settled back in the seven-horse field by rider Ryan Elliot, Maven Belle began her winning move at the 600m as she tracked stablemate I Choose You into the race.
Elliot pushed the go button at the 250m and the filly quickly asserted her dominance as she raced clear to win from gallant Hastings visitor Best Seller, who had disputed the pace throughout, with I Choose You finishing up in third.
Richards was thrilled to claim victory in his home track feature, a race that is cherished amongst the Matamata training fraternity.
“It’s pretty special to win this race as it is a race that generates a fair bit of camaraderie and banter amongst the locals here,” he said.
“She (Maven Belle) has really lifted to another level after her win at Te Rapa last time and showed that with how she put them away in the straight today.
“She was very strong to the line and I think that augurs well for her future.
“I’m mindful she has had a little bit of racing and we don’t like to push the babies too hard, so we’ll just take a few days and keep an eye on her and how she recovers from this one.
“If she does come through it well then there is the option of going to Ellerslie for the Group One (Sistema Stakes, 1200m) there on the last day of their carnival.”
Bred by David Ellis, Karyn Fenton-Ellis and Mark and Julia Walker, Maven Belle is a daughter of the late Redoute’s Choice stallion Burgundy who was purchased by Ellis as a yearling for $1.3m out of the New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sales and went on to win seven races, five at stakes level including the Gr.2 Cambridge Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1200m).
He is currently the sire of eight stakes winners including Group Two winners Dijon Bleu, Hard Merchandize, Belle En Rouge, and Brandenburg.
Ellis purchased Maven Belle’s dam Doyenne as a weanling at Westbury Stud’s Unreserved Mixed Bloodstock Sale in 2005 for $4,500, with the Kilimanjaro mare a half-sister to dual Group One winning sprinter Levante.
Richards was also pleased with the performances of his minor placegetters in the Gr.1 El Cheapo Cars WFA Classic (1600m) at Otaki, where Amarelinha and Brando finished second and third respectively.
“We had a good day that could have been even better, but that’s the way racing can go,” he said.
“I thought both Amarelinha and Brando were very good, however Markus Aurelius (last) may have had enough for now.
“Amarelinha is probably looking for more than the mile now, but she was brave, while Brando put in another honest effort which is just typical of him.”
Richards also produced quality three-year-old filly Imperatriz to win the Lisa Chittick Plate (1400m) in a five-length canter as she builds towards a start in the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham on March 19. – NZ Racing Desk
WINNER: Maven Belle (NZ) 2019
BREEDING: by Burgundy out of Doyenne by Kilimanjaro (GB)
BREEDER: D C Ellis; K W Fenton-Ellis MNZM; Mrs J & M W Walker
RACE: Matamata RC Matamata Breeders S. Gr.2 1200m