Belle En Rouge - Group 3 Beautiful

Date: 15 Jan 2023

Belle En Rouge - Group 3 Beautiful

Fittingly, Belle En Rouge (4 m Burgundy - Cavendish Belle, by Thorn Park) returned to the scene of her New Zealand Oaks (Gr. 1, 2400m) win to take out the $100,000 Dixon & Dunlop Anniversary Handicap (Gr. 3, 1600m) on Saturday at Trentham.

The Te Akau homebred mare had not won since the Oaks in March, which resulted in her tying New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year honours with stable-mate Self Obsession (Shocking), but her recent efforts ensued support and she started second favourite behind stable-mate Belle of The Ball (Burgundy) who finished second.

Belle En Rouge had staged a huge run for fourth (fastest last 600m: 33.2) in the Open 1400 metres on Boxing Day at Pukekohe, and mounted a big finish for second to stable-mate Campionessa (Contributer) in the Rich Hill Mile (Gr. 2, 1600m) on 1 January at Te Rapa.

On board at Te Rapa, Australian jockey Dean Yendall, who also combined with stable-mate Safura (Almanzor) to place in the Royal Stakes (Gr. 2, 2000m) on 1 January at Te Rapa, was back to ride and could not have scripted it any better.

After being tardily away, Belle En Rouge was situated on the inner but had to settle in 12th, eight lengths astern at the 600m. Tracking up behind runners in the straight, Yendall received a beautiful split mid-straight and Belle En Rouge answered by powering home.

From a similar spot in the running, but by contrast, Belle of The Ball made her run widest of all under Michael McNab and the enormity of her performance in snatching second could not be underestimated.

“It's good to see her back,” said trainer Mark Walker, who a day earlier recorded the fastest ever century in a season when Pure Imagination (Darci Brahma) won at Tauranga.

“It was just all those wet tracks and now she's back on good ground and showing what she's made of, again.

“She's always been a special filly because she was bred on the (Te Akau) farm as well.

“It was a good ride by Dean (Yendall). He rode her for a bit of luck and it opened up really well for him, and the second mare (Belle of The Ball) ran very well also.”

On Good4 footing, Belle En Rouge ran 1600 metres in 1:34.1, last 600m in 34.0, and returned $5.20 & $1.90 on the NZ TAB tote.

Owned by the Te Akau Beautiful in Red Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), Belle En Rouge was bred by David Ellis CNZM & Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM.

“We won Group One races with both Belle En Rouge and Maven Belle, another homebred filly by Burgundy, last season. Maven Belle had a fetlock injury before winning fresh-up last Sunday at Pukekohe, and it's great to see this mare back winning another stakes race,” Ellis said.

“We get a thrill out of every winner we train for owners, whether a Maiden or a Group One, but having bred them just puts icing on the cake. It's very exciting.

“We syndicated Belle En Rouge among our owners and although she didn't race as a two-year-old, she's been a revelation at three and now four.

“And what a great ride by Dean Yendall, after he rode so well for us on New Year's Day at Te Rapa, to come back and get a major race win at Trentham is great to see.”

Her sire, Burgundy (Redoute's Choice), purchased as a yearling by Ellis, won five stakes' races before standing at stud and having his first three two-year-olds to race win on debut. And although passing in 2019, recent form by his progeny has been stellar.

Out of a Thorn Park mare, Belle En Rouge is from family of smart gallopers Filante Etoile (Soviet Star), Valbuena (Darci Brahma), and Star Dancer (Starwatch).

There had been a gap in years since Te Akau previously won the Anniversary Handicap (Gr. 3, 1600m), following year-on-year wins by Glad (Pins) in 2013 and Abidewithme (Redoute's Choice) in 2014, with the latter raced by the recently deceased Sir Patrick Hogan, and his wife, Justine, Lady Hogan.

Belle En Rouge was strapped by Kendyll Lee.


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