Wednesday, January 5, 2011


The Moonee Valley Racing Club – innovative as ever – has seen fit to stage the Essendon Mazda 55 Second Challenge over the course of 18 night race meetings to find the quickest horse over 955m.
The trainer of the horse running the fastest time will receive a Mazda CX9 Classic (valued at $55,000) from Essendon Mazda*, while the jockey on the nippiest steed will snap up $10,000 for his troubles.
The big question is … will the 55 second mark be broken? Well, the series is now at its half way point with the ninth heat on the last day of the year taken out by popular Bel Esprit sprinter, La Bella Roo in the fastest time to date of 55.48 seconds.
Raced by members of the Kangaroo Flat Bowling Club, La Bella Roo has been in scintillating form of late with a win at Caulfield on 15 December followed two days later by a bee’s appendage second over 1000m at the Valley after being held up for a run at a vital stage.
The mare has now won six races and placed on seven occasions for $144,291 in stakes.
However, for Bel Esprit’s rapidly expanding fan base, the good news is that the three fastest ’55 Challenge’ times recorded to date: La Bella Roo (55.48 seconds on 31 December), Waltzes (55.62 seconds on 29 October) and Esprit de Bullet (55.75 seconds on 3 December) all come courtesy of Victoria’s Champion Sire.
Not only does his daughter Black Caviar reign supreme in terms of world rankings, Bel Esprit is also clearly the king of Moonee Valley sprints!

La Bella Roo - photo courtesy of Slickpix

Gold to Silver

While we’re on the subject, the blistering finish of Silver Bullion at Moonee Valley last Friday night (31 December) was simply awesome.
A stakes winner in his own right – taking out the Kensington Stakes-LR at Flemington last January – the Dr Vu Van Tu and Amanda Lockett owned and bred sprinter was 100/1 coming into the Valley straight with a wall of horses in front (one of them being the aforementioned Waltzes who is clearly no slouch over short courses).
Almost looking like he was heading for the car park when turning for home, Silver Bullion hit top gear quicker than Stig in a Ferrari (or should we say a Mazda CX9?), running past his rivals like they’d stopped and getting up right on the wire. Huge performance.
Who knows? Silver Bullion might just be the horse to break the 55 seconds when they next race at Moonee Valley on 14 January.

* Essendon Mazda is owned by Joe Cucuzza, a great supporter of the industry both as a breeder and owner.

Silver Bullion - photo courtesy of Slickpix

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