Sunday, October 17, 2010


The return of Black Caviar at Caulfield on 9 October generated a lot of publicity for both the unbeaten mare and her Champion Sire, BEL ESPRIT. Winning Post’s Joel Marshall certainly appears to be fan.

The dazzling return of unbeaten sprinter Black Caviar at Caulfield last Saturday came as a timely reminder to breeders of the quality that her sire, Bel Esprit, is capable of producing.
Six starts for six wins is how Black Caviar’s record reads, and Group 1 glory seems a formality for the four-year-old following her fifth black-type victory in last Saturday’s Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m).
Her win was the icing on the cake for her sire, the Eliza Park-based Bel Esprit, who enjoyed a treble around the country last Saturday afternoon, to go with a couple of very pleasing results at Bendigo the day prior.
His Saturday began well when debutante Bel Franc scored an impressive victory over 1000m at Morphettville in the Fulham Park Plate, first juvenile race of the SA season.
A $25,000 yearling buy for clients of the Lloyd Kennewell stable, Bel Franc recouped her purchase price with Saturday’s win.
Only minutes later, Victorian three-year-old Ripa Artois broke through for his maiden win at Pakenham over 1000m.
The home-bred son of Zabeel mare Zartois finished strongly at his first run since his debut over 1200m back in June, which yielded a second.
Those wins paved the way for the main course, and how delicious it was when Black Caviar strode away from her rivals to score what appeared to be an effortless feature win.
The win has set up a probable, but not certain, clash with super sprinter Hay List, either at Moonee Valley in the Moir or at Flemington in the Patinack, or maybe even both.
As mentioned, that sparkling Saturday followed top runs by a pair of Bel Esprit’s progeny at Bendigo 24 hours earlier.
Debutante Wabash River — solidly supported on the back of an impressive trial performance — hit the line hard to finish runner-up over 1000m.
Then four-year-old gelding Chatrang relished a step up in distance to score his maiden win over 1300m, having been placed at his fi rst two starts over 1100m.
Those results came just a couple of weeks after Bel Esprit’s very honest four-year-old True Persuasion became his sire’s third Group 1 performer when he finished second to the previously mentioned Hay List in the Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley.
The result was a boon for the entire’s value, and it added to an already impressive record that now stands at four wins and seven placings from 13 starts, for more than $395,000 in prizemoney.
Bel Esprit’s previous Group 1 results included Bel Mer’s win in the Robert Sangster Stakes in Adelaide, and Beltrois’s fourth in The Goodwood, also in Adelaide.
Gabbidon, Vivacious Spirit, Peach Tree, Tollesprit, Silver Bullion, Cascabel and Belletrist have also done well for Bel Esprit in recent seasons.
Then there are up-and-coming talents such as the Colin Little-trained Work the Room, Peter Morgan’s promising sort Seriously Good, Gold Coast colt Audacious Spirit, who was placed twice at stakes level as a two-year- old, and smart maiden winners Crystal Castles and Spirited Hero.
Add to that list a filly by the name of Mystical Bel. Although she’s only had two starts and won a maiden, she is worth jotting down as one to follow.
The Craig Stott-trained filly, a half sister to multiple city-placed winner of five Mystical Grey, was impressive in winning at Geelong back in August.
What stands out most about that performance is the subsequent form of those behind her, who included Zabbaya (Sandown midweek winner), Kittens (winner of the listed Hill Smith Stakes), Attributes (maiden winner at Ballarat) and Duellifi co (maiden winner at Hamilton).
Bel Esprit (by Royal Academy) was a gun on the racetrack, with wins in the Blue Diamond Stakes and Doomben 10,000 at Group 1 level, and has been strongly backed by breeders.
The platform he has set looks a likely springboard to future success.
Two massive crops — a current two-year-old group that consists of 198 horses and this spring’s foals from a total of 251 mares covered last season — ensure the stallion will have an abundance of opportunities over the next few years.
The next Black Caviar may be just around the corner.
- Winning Post, 16 October

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