Season Review: Beautiful Belle

Date: 26 Jul 2023

Season Review: Beautiful Belle


As we revisit a stunning season of Te Akau black type success, La Flora Belle made her owner/breeder Marie Leicester a happy lady indeed ...


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 26 November at Wanganui. 

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. 

“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 the race and it was a lovely ride by Joe (Kamaruddin). 

“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 by winning a stakes race.”

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 with strides that outstayed her rivals stylishly.



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 Ellis 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 a record 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 $2.6m.

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 10 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. The top commercial family keeps giving, is bred accordingly, and produces a steady flow of quality thoroughbreds. 

La Flora Belle is owned by Marie Leicester, 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. 


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