IN Racing
Trainer has elite hopes for stable duo
Ben Foote has Group One targets for two members of his stable who will be in action at Te Rapa, although one of them won’t be in the hunt on Saturday for any prizemoney.
NZ Racing Desk | December 16, 2022
Photo: Trish Dunell

Ben Foote has Group One targets for two members of his stable who will be in action at Te Rapa, although one of them won’t be in the hunt on Saturday for any prizemoney.

The Cambridge trainer will give his well-performed sprinter Babylon Berlin an exhibition gallop to further her summer preparation while Sakura Girl will step out in the Gr.3 Lawnmaster Eulogy Stakes (1600m) as a means to a top-flight end.

Babylon Berlin was placed in the Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m) last season and the feature sprint at Te Rapa on January 1 is again on her program.

“She will gallop after race one on Saturday with one of Tony Pike’s horses Matter of Honour,” Foote said. “She might go to the Group trials at Matamata (December 23) if I think she needs to.

“I seem to constantly get bad draws and not getting my hopes up, but if she gets a good one then I certainly think she’s in with a royal chance in the Railway.

“She is going to be peaking for New Year’s Day and, all going well, she’ll then go to Trentham for the Telegraph (Gr.1, 1200m).”

Babylon Berlin has been out twice so far this preparation, but lost her rider out of the gates when resuming in the Gr.3 Counties Bowl (1100m) and subsequently finished runner-up over 1200m at Pukekohe.

“I had her pretty ready for the Bowl and then left her a bit fresh for her last-start and she needed it,” Foote said.

“She is working up well and she’ll be cherry ripe for New Year’s Day.”

Stablemate Sakura Girl was purchased out of Riverrock Farm’s New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale draft by Hong Kong-based Upper Bloodstock for $260,000 and was a debut winner over 1600m at New Plymouth in October.

The daughter of Iffraaj was secured with Classic ambitions in mind and the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) is her longer-term goal.

“That’s why they bought her, they said win the Oaks with her so that’s what I’ve got my eyes on,” Foote said.

“They buy a filly each year from the Ready to Run Sale and hope to get some stakes fillies and breed from them.

“They are great people to work with, they are patient and just let me get on with it so it’s brilliant.”

Foote said Sakura Girl was in good order for Saturday, but the best would be seen of her over middle distances.

“She’s a nice staying filly in the making. She’s a really nice horse and I’m looking forward to getting her up over 2000m in the Royal Stakes (Gr.2) on New Year’s Day.

“I just want to see her hitting the line strongly on Saturday. The weather’s not looking ideal for her, but she needs to run.”

Foote will also be represented by Nancy She Wrote in the Print House 3YO (1400m), Ruach and High Choice in the Breckon Farms – NZ Breeder of the Year (1400m) and Jimmy Dean in the Lodge – Nobody Knows Hamilton Like Us Mile (1600m).

“Nancy She Wrote is a filly with a lot of ability, but she’s still very green and once she gets a bit more street smart she could be very good,” he said.

“Ruach needed his first-up run, Jimmy Dean goes well and so does High Choice, They are all progressive horses and just need good tracks.” 

Ben Foote Babylon Berlin Sakura Girl Eulogy Stakes Matter Of Honour Counties Bowl Riverrock Farm New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale Iffraaj New Zealand Oaks Nancy She Wrote Ruach High Choice Breckon Farms – NZ Breeder of the Year Jimmy Dean