IN Racing
Maven Belle makes scintillating return
Maven Belle made a stunning return to the racetrack when cruising to victory in the HR Fisken & Sons 1200 at Pukekohe on Sunday.
NZ Racing Desk | January 08, 2023
Photo: Trish Dunell

Last season’s Champion two-year-old Maven Belle made a stunning return to the racetrack when cruising to victory in the HR Fisken & Sons 1200 at Pukekohe on Sunday.

The Mark Walker-trained daughter of Burgundy won four of her five starts as a juvenile including the Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m), the Gr.2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m), and the Gr.3 Platinum Homes 2YO Classic (1200m).

While a chip in a fetlock ruled Maven Belle out of the spring, she looks set to make up for lost time.

Under a cool Opie Bosson ride, the filly relaxed near the rear of the field early and was asked to quicken shortly after entering the straight, dashing past her rivals to score by more than two lengths from Tarted Up and Master Brutus.

“That was really good. I love the way she relaxed and finished the race off,” Walker said.

“She will improve a bit. She just sweated up a bit in the parade ring and she is all set now for the Almanzor Trophy (Gr.3, 1200m) on Karaka Million night.

“Opie was quite soft on her in the finish and that will tidy her up quite nicely. It is quite exciting.”

Maven Belle holds a nomination for the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham on March 18, a race won by multiple Group One winning stablemate Imperatriz last year.

Winning rider Opie Bosson was delighted with the manner in which the homebred filly returned.

“She has come back in fine order. She felt great out there and did it with ease,” Bosson said.

“She has got a really quick turn of foot and I probably got to the front a little bit soon but all credit to her, there is a lot of improvement there too.”

Maven Belle’s only defeat came when a close third in the Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) behind Lickety Split.

Bred by David Ellis, Karyn Fenton-Ellis and Mark and Julia Walker, Maven Belle is a daughter of the late Redoute’s Choice stallion Burgundy who was purchased by Ellis as a yearling for $1.3m out of the New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sales and went on to win seven races, five at stakes level including the Gr.2 Cambridge Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1200m).

David Ellis purchased Maven Belle’s dam Doyenne as a weanling at Westbury Stud’s Unreserved Mixed Bloodstock Sale in 2005 for $4,500, with the Kilimanjaro mare a half-sister to Group One winning sprinter Levante.

Maven Belle Mark Walker Burgundy Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes Opie Bosson Tarted Up Master Brutus Almanzor Trophy Levin Classic Sistema Stakes Lickety Split David Ellis Karyn Fenton-Ellis Julia Walker Redoute’s Choice Burgundy Doyenne Westbury Stud Kilimanjaro Levante