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BELA-BELA ON TRACK FOR FILLIES GUINEAS

Article courtesy of Sporting Post: Top heavyweight jockey Bernard Fayd’herbe labelled the beautifully bred Dynasty filly Bela-Bela ‘the best 3yo filly in the country’ when he won on her on debut.

That educated chirp came back to haunt him at Kenilworth on Wednesday when he was comprehensively beaten by her – on a filly with a massive reputation of her own.

The Bela-Bela & Chevauchee clash in a modest MR 74 Handicap hosted only six runners.

The betting support favoured Joey Ramsden’s High Chaparral Chevauchee, who had sauntered in on debut over the Kenilworth 1200m straight. She started at a hot 7-10, with the equally impressive debut winner Bela-Bela at a mouthwatering 2-1. Labelled by seasoned journo Michael Clower as the ‘two best Cape Fillies Guineas candidates not to run in last Saturday’s Gr2 Choice Carriers Championship’, the two met head on over the Kenilworth 1400m winter course. Neither had taken their place in last Saturday’s feature won by Silver Mountain – largely due to drawing wide.

The Bela-Bela supporters must have thought that Christmas had come early at that price and there was no sweat.

The Green Street Bloodstock sponsored Bernard Fayd’herbe had won on both in their respective debut wins, and he is contracted to Ridgemont Stud, owners of Chevauchee.

Bela-Bela tracked Chevauchee from the backseat as Natatela led the small group.

Into the home run Chevauchee kicked and went down the inside as Sean Cormack cut between runners late in proceedings on the beautiful Justin Snaith-trained grey to run out an easy and impressive winner by 1,75 lengths in a time of 86,80 secs.

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Chevauchee, carrying a kilo more than her opponent, had every chance down the rail, but had nothing to come when challenged.

Sean Cormack said that he had specifically given Bela-Bela a chance early as he had wanted to teach her to settle and to race between horses.

She really did everything asked of her.

The Cheveley Stud-bred Bela-Bela was purchased by Varsfontein Stud at the National 2yo sale for a cool R1,4 million. Her half-sister Touch The Sky (by Jet Master)  was also acquired by Varsfontein while in racing and she is currently in foal to Captain Al.

Bela-Bela is by Dynasty out of the prolific winner producing Royal Academy mare, Mystic Spring. Her sire, a Breeders Cup Mile winner,  was a champion sire, who left behind no fewer than 167 stakes winners. Mystic Spring’s dam, Secret Sunday, was a full sister to Mystiko – who gave Michael Roberts his first British classic when winning the 1991 English 2000 Guineas.

While she may not have achieved much on the track, Mystic Spring more than made up for that at stud. Her seven foals to reach the track all won – and, indeed, won a total of 20 races between them. Four were stakes winners, and two of Mystic Spring’s daughters have produced stakes winners to date.

Mystic Spring’s best runner was ill-fated champion Rabiya, who tragically suffered a fatal break down in the running of the 2005 Durban July. Before his untimely death, Rabiya had won over R1 000 000, and landed both the Gr1 Cape Guineas and Gr2 Cape Derby, as well as Gr1 Daily News 2200.

Secret of Victoria won four features, including the Cape’s two graded sprint races for fillies – the Gr2 Sceptre Stakes and Gr2 Southern Cross Stakes. The daughter of Goldkeeper has been equally successful at stud.

Following this success, Mystic Spring went on to produce the stakes winners Spring Lilac (Gr3 Fillies Nursery) and Rafiya (East Cape Oaks).

Three of her stakes winners Rabiya (Jallad), Secret of Victoria (Goldkeeper) and Spring Lilac (Joshua Dancer) were produced by different sires, with Rafiya a full sister to Rabiya.

It was a rare sight to see Varsfontein’s Carl de Vos on track in a jacket and tie, and he confirmed that it was the top farm’s policy to buy the blood.

“With so many big players around these days, it is not as easy as it used to be,” he conceded, in a reference to the price paid for Bela-Bela.

With Mike Bass’ Choice Carriers Championship winner Silver Mountain looking like something really special, and Chevauchee guaranteed to bounce back, the Cape Fillies Guineas is developing into a thriller.

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