IN Racing
Options aplenty for Babylon Berlin
Speedy mare Babylon Berlin may be given a chance to extend her distance range in next month’s Gr.1 BCD Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa.
NZ Racing Desk | January 24, 2022
Photo: Kirstin Ledington

Speedy mare Babylon Berlin may be given a chance to extend her distance range in next month’s Gr.1 BCD Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa.

Babylon Berlin showed her customary speed and determination when winning the Gr.3 Concorde Handicap (1200m) at Ellerslie on Saturday, leading all the way and holding out Festivity to win by a neck.

She has only raced once at 1400m, when fifth in the Gr.3 Soliloquy Stakes in October 2020, but her trainer Ben Foote thinks she didn’t do herself justice that day.

“We tried to ride her in behind because we were going to take her for a mile at Riccarton (for the Gr.1 1000 Guineas (1600m), but she threw her head the whole way,” Foote said.

“I actually think she would have been very hard to beat that day if we’d let her roll to the front, but we didn’t and it didn’t work, hence the reason why we let her run now.”

Foote is definitely keen to try Babylon Berlin at 1400m again, but he said it was possible she might be given a break and not contest the BCD Sprint.

“We’ve been looking at what her options in Aussie might be and there’s a chance she will go there, maybe to the Brisbane carnival,” he said.

“We don’t know what races exactly, but if we didn’t think the Stradbroke (Gr.1, 1400m) was the right race then there’s plenty of options between 1000m and 1200m.

“I probably wouldn’t be taking her myself if she did go – she might go to a trainer over there or go over with someone from here who is taking horses over.”

Meanwhile, Foote said his Group One winning mare Travelling Light had been retired after finishing 11th in the Gr.2 Westbury Classic (1400m) at Ellerslie.

Travelling Light won the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) as a three-year-old and was placed as a four-year-old in the Gr.1 Otaki Weight-For-Age Classic (1600m) and the Gr.1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m).

However, she hadn’t found her best form this season, with a third placing in a Te Rapa open handicap her best effort.

“The other day she pulled up 50m past the post, and sometimes when mares go off, they don’t come back,” Foote said.

“She had 18 starts and there’s not a lot more for her to prove, unless we went to Aussie, and my gut feeling was to retire her and Col MacRury, the owner, is really good to deal with and we thought it was good to move on to the next chapter with her.”

Meanwhile, Foote said two of his former gallopers had returned to his team from the Chris Waller stable after racing successfully in Australia - Order Again and The Mayor (the latter of whom raced as The Lord Mayor in Australia).

Both horses have earned more than $A650,000 and won group races across the Tasman but they are coming to the end of their careers.

“They have come back to New Zealand to retire but their owners want to give them a go on the track first,” Foote said.

“If they don’t front up, they will be retired and well looked after.”

Babylon Berlin BCD Sprint Concorde Handicap Festivity Soliloquy Stakes Ben Foote Travelling Light Westbury Classic Levin Classic Otaki Weight-For-Age Classic New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes Col MacRury Chris Waller Order Again The Mayor