IN Racing
Distance the only query with Darci La Bella
Eight-win mare Darci La Bella will be out to claim some valuable black-type on Saturday when she heads to Hawera.
NZ Racing Desk | October 07, 2022
Darci La Bella contests Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes. Photo: Race Images

Eight-win mare Darci La Bella will be out to claim some valuable black-type on Saturday when she heads to Hawera to contest the Gr.3 Grangewilliam Stud Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes (1400m).

The Darci Brahma five-year-old finished fourth in the Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa in August before winning at the Hamilton track last week and trainer Allan Sharrock believes he has her on song for Saturday.

Darci La Bella has only been tested over 1400m on one occasion, running fifth in the Listed Opunake Cup (1400m) in July and Sharrock said her performance this weekend will dictate her future plans.

“She has still got to get 1400m but that is why I gave her a run at Te Rapa on Friday, to take the tug off her and I think I have got her as well as I can,” Sharrock said.

“She is now a 99-rater, if she won on Saturday we will have to look at weight-for-age again somewhere, maybe the Manawatu Challenge Stakes (Gr.2, 1400m) or something like that if she can get 1400m.”

Another stable runner with big summer plans is promising stayer Ladies Man.

The half-brother to Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) winner Ladies First has won three and placed in four of his eight career starts and will attempt to add to his tally in the TAB Express Payout Now Here 1400.

“He is a very promising horse but his main aim is the Wellington Cup (Gr.3, 3200m) so we have got a wee while to go,” Sharrock said.

“He will be a bit vulnerable first-up but you have got to start somewhere.”

Another stable representative that Sharrock holds in high regard is Fleming, who won on debut before beaten half a length by Ima Roca Bee.

Sharrock believes Fleming is a strong chance of doubling his winning record in the Evergreen Plumbing LTD 1200, for which he is a $1.80 favourite with TAB bookmakers.

“He is a very smart horse,” Sharrock said. “He got beaten at very short odds last start, which surprised me, but the filly that beat him had won a stakes race, claimed three-kilos and she is in the Breeders’ tomorrow. It was no disgrace.

“He is probably vulnerable drawn 14 but there are not a lot of 65s around and it is only just down the road, so he will probably run and he will be competitive.”

The curtain will be coming down on the racing career of three-win mare Aricina on Saturday and Sharrock is hoping he can send her off a winner in the Mark Frost Electrical 2100.

“Aricina heads back to Westbury on Sunday morning to commence her career as a broodmare,” Sharrock said.

“Her form is pretty good. It probably was the claim of the winner that only beat her last start.

“They are claiming around where her weight is not prohibitive tomorrow, so providing that the track has got the juice out of it, she is going to run a nice race for us.

“She is a very talented mare so it would be nice if she went out on a winning note.”

Meanwhile, Sharrock has announced the retirement of Group Two winner Tavi Mac.

The diminutive galloper belied his stature and surprised Sharrock with his abilities on the track.

He won 12 of his 26 career starts, including the Gr.2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m), Gr.3 Sweynesse Stakes (1215m), Listed Matamata Cup (1400m), and Listed Levin Stakes (1200m).

“I just couldn’t get his form back and he has been too good a servant to the stable, so his racing days are over,” said Sharrock, who also co-bred the son of Tavistock.

“He has won $350,000 and he is everything a good horse shouldn’t be, but his tenacity got him through. He was a competitor.” 

Darci La Bella Listed Opunake Cup Allan Sharrock Ladies Man Aricina Tavi Mac Gr.2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes Gr.3 Sweynesse Stakes Listed Matamata Cup Tavistock