Bellacontte (NZ) Brilliant in NZB Filly of the Year Opener

20 September 2021

Bellacontte (NZ) (Burgundy) wins Leg 1 of NZB's 50th Filly of the Year Series. Photo: Race Images 

The 50th New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series exploded to life at Hastings on Saturday with an upset victory by rapid improver Bellacontte (NZ) (Burgundy) in the opening leg – the $80,000 Group Three Hawke’s Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes (1200m). 

Despite being a last-start Listed winner of the Fillies’ Stakes (1200m) at Wanganui two weeks earlier, the Chrissy Bambry-trained Bellacontte was under the radar at $21 in a Gold Trail Stakes field that was dominated by the undefeated multiple black-type winner Imperatriz (I Am Invincible) and Group One-placed Bonny Lass (NZ) (Super Easy).

But in her very first start at Group level, Bellacontte rose to the occasion and upstaged her higher-rated rivals with a quality performance.

Breaking from gate seven in a 15-horse field, jockey Sarah Macnab angled Bellacontte across to the rail inside the first 200 metres of the race and settled comfortably in a midfield position.

Macnab decided to stick to the rail around the home turn instead of shooting wide in search of clear running, and when a gap opened along the inside, Bellacontte needed no second invitation.

With less than 200 metres to run, Imperatriz had quickened smartly wider out on the track to take the lead, but then Bellacontte burst through the inside with a brilliant turn of foot. She dived through and took the win by a half-neck from the fast-finishing Mustang Valley (NZ) (Vanbrugh), who crossed the line a similar margin ahead of the third-placed Imperatriz.

“I was going to be pretty unlucky if the gap didn’t come, because I was up on heels,” Macnab said. “But she sprinted so well when the gap opened up.

“She does everything so easily and you can ride her anywhere. When the gap opened, she just sprinted away really nicely.”

Owned by Ben Kwok, Bellacontte has now had six starts for three wins and two placings, earning $95,362 in stakes.

“That was just bloody marvellous,” said Bambry, who celebrated her third black-type training success and the first at Group level.

“This little filly is just the coolest filly to do anything with, and to beat a field like that today is pretty special.

“I’m rapt for Ben Kwok, who bought her as a foal at foot off, and her dam has just tested positive in foal to Circus Maximus, so it’s a great result all round.

“This filly’s coat is still coming out and she doesn’t look like she is ready, but she just loves to be a racehorse.”

Bellacontte takes the early lead in the NZB Filly of the Year Series with 6 points, while Mustang Valley earned 3 points for second and Imperatriz collected 1.5 with her third.

The NZB Filly of the Year Series is now set to head to Ellerslie in Auckland for its second leg, the $80,000 Group Three Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) on 23 October.