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Classy Kiwi mare sends strong signal on Spring prospects

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Former top three-year-old filly La Bella Diosa ended an eighteen-month absence from the winner’s enclosure when she produced a devastating burst of speed to claim victory over 1100m at Caulfield on Saturday.

Having just her second start from the Lindsay Park operation of trainers David and Ben Hayes along with Tom Dabernig, the now five-year-old put a welcome smile back on the faces of her patient connections who held firm in the belief she could return to her best in this campaign.

Raced in New Zealand as La Diosa, the daughter of So You Think was a star of spring racing during her three-year-old campaign where she took out the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m). She later added the Gr.2 Surround Stakes (1400m) in Sydney during the autumn on a heavy track, with that performance an anomaly for the mare who has a preference for firmer footing. Things began to unravel for La Bella Diosa after that, with a succession of unsuitable wet tracks frustrating her remaining efforts as a three-year-old before she failed to fire in three starts as a four-year-old back in New Zealand.

Acting on the advice of former trainer Mandy Brown, her connections sent her to Lindsay Park where the mare has thrived in preparation for her new campaign.

"Mandy recommended we send her to the Hayes operation as she believed she still had the potential to get back to her best," part-owner Gordon Calder said.

"We can’t thank her enough as Mandy had her in top condition when she went over there and the reports we had been getting from the stable were that she had settled in well and was thriving.

"They were confident of a good run on Saturday, although the common thinking was the distance might be a bit sharp for her. To see her produce that closing speed we know she has was just wonderful and there were plenty of smiles on our faces after the race."

Many would have sent the valuable breeding prospect into an early retirement following her loss of form, but Calder said her syndicate of owners were convinced she was not a spent force on the track.

"Her breeding suggests she could race well as an older mare and we believed that she still had what it took to compete at the top level," he said.

"The wet tracks she struck at the end of her three-year-old season didn’t help her and I think we saw that when she didn’t shape up that well in her next few starts. "Now she has struck form again I think she can go on and have a really good spring, as do the team at Lindsay Park, who have been very encouraging with their opinions about her."

While he wasn’t on track to witness Saturday’s triumph first-hand, Calder has plans to be in Melbourne next month for her next run.

"We got a call to say she had bounced through the run well so the plans are to target the mares features during the Melbourne spring carnival," he said.

"Her next run is likely to be in the Let’s Elope Stakes (Gr.2, 1400m) on September 15 and I’m hoping to get over there for that one.

"The ultimate goal is the Myer Classic (Gr.1, 1600m) in November, but we will be trying not to get ahead of ourselves although it would be a real thrill to get to a race like that." 

- NZ Racing Desk

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