Exciting start for Cambridge three-year-olds

Two budding Cambridge stars were unleashed in the first event at Gate Pa yesterday.

Victory in the Christmas At The Races — 12 Nov and 9 Dec Tauranga 3YO  went to the Frank Ritchie-trained Brela Belle, who got up in the last few strides to beat first-starter Pellegrini, from the Murray Baker stable. The two horses had a battle right down the home straight and at the finish just a long head
separated them.

Vinnie Colgan, the rider of the winner, was full of praise for both horses. “That other horse (Pellegrini) was hard to get past and I think his condition gave out a bit near the finish,” said Colgan. “I think they’ll both be good. My filly (Brela Belle) has more improvement in her and I’d say the second horse definitely does.”

Brela Belle, a daughter of Darci Brahma, is owned by her breeders, Peter and Philip Vela, and had been trials placed before making a promising debut at the Taupo meeting on September 14. That day she was held up and finished an unlucky second to Beauty Supremo, who is held in high regard by
trainer Lance Noble.

“There’s a lot of improvement in her and she’s going to be better over a bit more ground,” said Ritchie of Brela Belle. “She’s a great-natured filly and is very tractable in a race. I told Vinnie before the race he could settle her anywhere he wanted.”

Brela Belle is nominated for the Group I 1000 Guineas, while Pellegrini has been entered for the Group I NZ 2000 Guineas and the Levin Classic.

Colgan rode three winners at the Racing Tauranga meeting and all were on Cambridge gallopers. His other successes came on the Roger James-trained
pair Full Of Spirit and Beyond All Doubt.

Full Of Spirit had two trials and the first of those was a third behind Showing Off at the Cambridge trials last June. Showing Off went on to credit James McDonald with his 200th win of the season when scoring at Te Teko.

“I had her booked in to run at the trials last Tuesday, but when it came up wet I decided to come here instead,” said James. “She’s a filly who needs better ground and I just hoped she’d be professional enough

James looks to have a promising stayer in the making with Beyond All Doubt, who won the Lion Red 1600 at Gate Pa yesterday. A four-year-old son of Pentire, he had three starts leading into yesterday’s assignment and had run on late for sixth at Ruakaka on September 10 after being slow away.

Beyond All Doubt settled well back and stormed home near the inner to grab the leaders and win by a long head. So strong was he travelling
at the finish he kept going and covered another round before Colgan got him back to the winner’s enclosure.

“He hasn’t got the easiest of temperaments, but he relaxes in the race,” said trainer Roger James.

Another staying find could be Dark Bishop, who provided Cambridge trainer Bernard Dyke and local jockey Mark Hills with a win in the Stadium Bar — Te Puke 2100.

In his sixth start, and just his second over ground, he finished his race off nicely, giving hope to his connections, which includes Paul Gollan. It was Gollan’s horse, Star Harvest, who provided Dyke with his biggest thrill when winning an Auckland Cup.