Belle Plaisir (NZ) Relentless in R A Lee Stakes

23 May 2022

Belle Plaisir (NZ) wins the A$152,250 Group Three R A Lee Stakes (1600m). Photo: Jenny Barnes.

Quality New Zealand mare Belle Plaisir (NZ) (Proisir) added a valuable Australian Group win to her CV with a tenacious performance in Saturday’s A$152,250 Group Three R A Lee Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville. 

Bought by part-owner Lance Hickman for $32,000 from the Karaka 2018 draft of breeders Fairdale Stud, Belle Plaisir has now had 25 starts for six wins, six placings and A$226,566 in stakes – almost eight times her purchase price.

Belle Plaisir began her career in the Awapuni stable of Hickman’s co-owner Lucy Tanner, winning four races headed by the Listed Rangitikei Gold Cup (1600m) almost exactly 12 months ago.

Partially sold to Kildalton Park Racing in the spring, she crossed the Tasman into the stable of Tony and Calvin McEvoy and immediately measured up in strong company. Her first five Australian starts produced a win at Oakbank, a placing at Cranbourne, a fourth in the Group Two Queen Of The South Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville, fourth in the Group Three Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes (1400m) at Flemington and fifth in the Listed Black Pearl Stakes (1200m) at Geelong.

But it was a black type win that her connections really wanted, and on Saturday they got it in superb style.

After drifting back towards the rear of the 13-horse field, Belle Plaisir began to improve her position coming up to the home turn. Jockey Barend Vorster stuck to the inside and saved ground by cutting the corner, and then Belle Plaisir quickened stylishly to sprint into contention in the straight.

The big danger came from Cherry Tortoni (Night Of Thunder) out wide, but Belle Plaisir saw him coming and lifted again. She never let that rival past, maintaining a narrow advantage all the way to the finish.

“God bless her – she’s a really good little mare who came over from New Zealand,” Tony McEvoy said. “Lucy Tanner and her co-owner (Hickman) sent her over to us, and she’s raced really well for us. To win a Group Three with this mare today is very special.

“She was a Listed winner in New Zealand and also had form around some good-quality horses who had come across to Australia and run well, so we knew that she had what it took.”

Belle Plaisir could now head to Queensland for the A$500,000 Magic Millions National Classic (1600m) at Eagle Farm on June 4.

“She still, to this day, hasn’t had track conditions to really suit her in Australia,” McEvoy said. “She loves getting into the ground, and it just hasn’t rained enough, so we’ll see – we might take her north.

“It’s raining a lot up there, and there’s a fillies and mares’ race worth half a million dollars in a fortnight, so we’ll just see how she comes through this and then try to get her up there.”

Vendor Fairdale Stud
Purchaser Mr LC Hickman (Manawatu)
Breeding Proisir – Eden
Sale Lot 806, Karaka 2018 Book 2, $32,000
Bred by D G B Fell