Season Review: A Black Type Belle

Date: 31 Jul 2023

Season Review: A Black Type Belle


As the 2022/23 season draws to its close in the next 24 hours, we continue our look back at the stand out Group/Listed performances by our team - 33 in New Zealand and Imperatriz's Group 1 in Melbourne.  With a final season tally of 203 domestic wins - a new national record - there has been plenty to celebrate ... including seeing our home-bred NZB Filly of the Year turns four and continue on her black type way ...


Fittingly, Belle En Rouge (4 m Burgundy – Cavendish Belle, by Thorn Park) returned to the scene of her New Zealand Oaks (Gr. 1, 2400m) victory to take out the $100,000 Dixon & Dunlop Anniversary Handicap (Gr. 3, 1600m) on 14 January 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 situated on the inner but still 12th and eight lengths astern at the 600m. Tracking up behind runners in the straight, she received a beautiful split mid-straight and answered by powering home.

From a similar spot in running, but by contrast, Belle of The Ball made her run widest of all under Michael McNab and 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.

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

Owned by 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 and while Maven Belle had a fetlock injury before winning fresh-up last Sunday at Pukekohe, 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.”

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

Retiring during the season, Belle En Rouge was snapped up by Yulong Investments after spirited bidding on Gavelhouse Plus for $800,000 and has travelled to Australia for her broodmare future.

In her career she raced 20 times with five wins (including the Group 1 NZ Oaks), and 10 minor placings, earning $492,555 as well as a $5,000 bonus for being Joint NZB Filly of the Year with stablemate Self Obsession. 


Te Akau previously won the Anniversary Handicap (Gr. 3, 1600m):

2014 – Abidewithme (Redoute’s Choice)

2013 – Glad (Pins)


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