In-form jockey Michael McNab’s plan with Belclare was executed to perfection at Riccarton this afternoon with an emphatic victory in the Gr.3 Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes (1400m).
McNab had offered his pre-race analysis of the Valachi Downs-sponsored contest to Awapuni trainer Lisa Latta and it played out smoothly on the big stage with the daughter of Per Incanto streaking clear to the first black-type victory of her career.
“Michael thought if she jumped well he would look to get a bit of cover in the three-wide train and everything panned out as he said. She’s got a fantastic turn of foot,” Latta said.
Belclare had warmed up for her trip south with an encouraging runner-up finish in an open handicap on her home track to boost confidence in her southern prospects.
“I knew she still had improvement in her from Awapuni the other day and she had a good blow afterwards and was peaking at the right time and she won so well,” Latta said.
Belclare will now head home with the Gr.2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) on December 17 the next assignment for the seven-time winner.
“We’ll see what points they give her for this win and there’s a nice 1400m stakes race at Awapuni on her back doorstep so we’ll be able to give her a week in the paddock now,” Latta said.
Belclare jumped well from a wide gate and was posted three off the fence forward of midfield before edging closer near the turn and quickly put the race to bed after striking the front 200m from home.
“It worked out perfectly from the wide gate. I was a little bit concerned early when I didn’t have any cover, but then Josh Parr (on Fashion Shoot) went around me,” McNab said.
“He took me into the race and I was able to come to the outside.
“They didn’t go overly quick and when I came off Josh’s back I knew she was travelling really nicely. I didn’t want the swoopers coming around me so I let her get into her rhythm and she picked up really well.
“He took me into the race and I was able to come to the outside and she quickened really well. She won that really well, she got a few favours, but she did win convincingly.”
Bred by David Woodhouse, who shares in the ownership, Belclare, who has a close family tie to Riccarton as her third dam is Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) winner Olga’s Pal, forged clear in the straight to have three-and-a-half lengths on runner-up Avaquinella.
Fashion Shoot boxed on well for third off her wide run with frontrunner Chokito a gallant fourth ahead of the favourite Providenceprovides, who again struck terrible luck in the Breeders’ Stakes.
She had the race at her mercy 12 months ago when she strode clear with 200m to run before she laid in sharply, hit the running rail and that lost momentum relegated her to third.
Today, she dipped badly when the barriers opened and got a long way back before making up lost ground in vain.