5 Win Saturday - La Flora Belle Listed Wanganui Cup Fabulous

Date: 27 Nov 2022

5 Win Saturday - La Flora Belle Listed Wanganui Cup Fabulous


Recording an extremely valuable victory, La Flora Belle (5 m Iffraaj - Tsarina Belle, by Stravinksy) proved too strong in the $65,000 Steelform Roofing Wanganui Cup (Listed, 2040m) on Saturday.


Given a gun ride to win the Rating 75 1600 metres on 28 October at New Plymouth, and claimed late in the Waipukurau Cup (Rating 75, 1600m) on 13 November at Hastings, La Flora Belle drew the ace, carried minimum weight (53kg), and was perfectly prepared for a race that trainer Mark Walker had earmarked for her.

In the hands of Champion Te Akau apprentice Joe Kamaruddin, who saluted earlier in the day aboard stable-mate Inca Belle (Darci Brahma), La Flora Belle received a perfect trip behind the leader and once sighting daylight in the straight she launched into strides that outstayed her rivals stylishly.

On footing upgraded to Soft7, La Flora Belle ran 2040 metres in 2:13.0, winning by one and a quarter lengths, and returning $5.90 & $2.30 on the NZ TAB tote.

“It was a big thrill to win for Marie (Leicester), especially in those colours that have been around for generations,” Walker said.

“It's good when a plan comes off. We'd set her for that race and it was a lovely ride by Joe.

“But it's really through the patience of Marie, who gives her horses the opportunity to grow and develop naturally, and not be in any hurry with them.  A big raw boned mare like her has continued to mature and it's resulted in a great outcome today by winning a stakes race.”

Adding to the favourable result, La Flora Belle is a three-quarter sister to former star stable-mate and dual Horse of the Year Melody Belle (Commands).

Purchased by David Ellis CNZM for $57,500 at 2016 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale, from the draft of Haunui Farm, owned by Fortuna Syndications (Mgr: John Galvin), Melody Belle retired winner of 14 Group One races - surpassing 13 by Sunline (Desert Sun) - 19 from 41 in total and $4.3 million prize money, before selling as a broodmare for $2.6 million.

Both Melody Belle and La Flora Belle were bred by Marie Leicester.

Grand-dam Empress Belle (Sir Tristram), from which both Tsarina Belle (Stravinsky) and Meleka Belle (Iffraaj) (dam of Melody Belle) stem, left nine winners of 31 races, while to date Tsarina Belle has left three winners of nine races.

“For a beautifully bred mare like her that we train for Marie Leicester, it's worth hundreds of thousands of dollars when a horse with that sort of pedigree wins a black type race,” Ellis said.

“We're thrilled for Marie and Haunui Farm who help manage her bloodstock.”

Breeding horses like Melody Belle is something dreams are made of, especially for the Sarten family that commenced breeding in the late 1930s. It is a family that keeps giving and the manner of victory and potential exuded by La Flora Belle is evidence of more to come.

Both bred by Marie Leicester, La Flora Belle is owned by Marie, Maryanne Robertson, Catheryne Roselli, Louise Beard, Angela Finucane, Jackie Morgan, Martin Marshall, and Heather Mabin.

“I thought she won very well today and the jockey rode her well and it's a very pleasing result,” Leicester said.

“She is a big, big, mare and just taken time to strengthen into the size of her frame. But, she seems to be there now.

“She was ready to go when she saw the gap and being such a big girl just takes time to wind up.

“I was thrilled for my daughter, Maryanne, because she was here last night in Auckland for her son's work farewell party. She left here at 5 a.m. to get a flight home to Hawkes Bay and then drove to Wanganui for the race.

“I race half the horse and Maryanne and her friends formed a syndicate for the other half, and some of them were also at the races.

“Her mother was a very good horse, Tsarina Belle, and one of the most beautiful horses I've ever bred, but unfortunately she bled. She was absolutely gorgeous and La Flora Belle has furnished into a beautiful mare too.

“The family has been producing a few winners recently, with Divinci Belle, Darci La Bella, Inca Belle, and of course Anamoe goes back to the Belle family.

“I've been very lucky to have inherited the family from my parents (James & Annie Sarten), who did their first mating in 1937 to Foxbridge. It's been a wonderful family and allowed us to meet so many great people over the years.”

La Flora Belle was strapped by Kendyll Lee.


Photo credit - www.raceimages.co.nz


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