A piece of Michael McNab magic paved the way for underrated mare Belclare to take out the Listed Clubs NZ Wairarapa Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) on Monday.
The Lisa Latta-trained five-year-old has been a model of consistency throughout her latest campaign, claiming her first stakes success at Riccarton back in November when successful in the Gr.3 Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) at Riccarton and being close up in black type company in her last two events.
With a red-hot McNab taking three of the first six races on the card it was no surprise the daughter of Per Incanto was sent out a well-supported second favourite ($4.30) behind Matamata visitor Belle En Rouge, however any winning chances looked slim at best when McNab found himself hemmed up behind a wall of horses with just 500m to run.
Outsider Tamahine looked to have stolen a march when she burst to the front out wide halfway down the home straight, but McNab and Belclare finally found clear air one off the fence at that point and sprinted quickly to deny Tamahine by a nose with Les Crayeres battling on well to take third.
Latta was pleased to see her charge produce such a solid finish over the 1600m after having a niggling doubt about her getting the trip.
“She got a nice cosy run and I think that certainly helped over the mile as I wanted to see her run it out strongly,” Latta said.
“She sprinted really quickly and that certainly gives us a few more options moving forward.
“We just want to keep adding black type to her record, with the obvious attractions being the Group One at Otaki later this month and even the New Zealand Breeders’ Stakes (Gr.1, 1600m) in the autumn, which are both over the mile.
“I’ve always felt she would keep getting better as she got older and the trip to Riccarton in the spring has really helped make her what she is now, as she never put a foot wrong down there and has thrived ever since.”
Bred by David Woodhouse, who shares in the ownership, Belclare comes from an extended family that includes Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) winner Olga’s Pal and Gr.1 VRC Oaks (2500m) winner Kirramosa.
She has now won eight of her 24 starts and over $238,000 in prizemoney.
McNab also took out the last race on the Fraser Auret-trained Derryaire which took him to 77 wins for the season and just four behind National Jockeys’ premiership leader Craig Grylls (81).