Ideal Belle returns in style

Ideal Belle edited


By Michael Guerin - Twitter: @GuerinSports

It was almost like she had never been away.

And pretty soon some of Ideal Belle’s rivals are probably going to wish she had stayed away.

The NZ Oaks winner returned from a career-threatening injury with the perfect win at Alexandra Park tonight.

Trainer Barry Purdon and driver Zac Butcher wanted to win obviously, but wanted to do so without hurting their mare, which isn’t always easy fresh up over 2700m in the intermediate grade at Alexandra Park.

They needn’t have worried though as Ideal Belle handled her first standing start perfectly, dropping straight into the trail behind First Holme and never had to leave the marker pegs, using the passing lane to win easily.

“That couldn’t have worked out better,” enthuses Butcher.

“She handled the stand beautifully, in fact like a mare who will develop into a really quick beginner before long.

“And then to get that easy run means she comes back without any stress and will gain confidence.

“So we are very happy.”

Ideal Belle hadn’t raced since her second in the 1:52.1 Jewels won by Venus Serena last season, suffering bad cuts to her back legs when she got them caught over a fence.

But now she is back he aim is obvious, the Jewels again at Ashburton on May 30.

“This helps because she gets some money straight away,” says Butcher.

“And she has a $25,000 race in two weeks, which while it will be a better field, probably comes at the right time.

“Then she has the option of the Taylor Mile and the Messenger if she needs the money heading toward the Jewels.”
 Butcher says consideration was even given to the Breeders Stakes at Addington next weekend but it was just too soon.

“But after the Rowe Cup carnival there is still three weeks of races to qualify for the Jewels and we would love to have her there.”

Purdon faces a similar problem with Sky Major, who although he is a last start winner of the Chariots Of Fire, has next to no money in his New Zealand earnings which count toward the Jewels.

While the return of Ideal Belle as the highlight of the night, one of the most exciting aspects of the meeting was the performances of a trio of three-year-old trotters.

Speeding Spur was outstanding leading most of the way to beat the good intermediate trotters, suggesting he is a real player in the two Trotting Derbys.

Yagunnakissmeornot was almost as good winning in an easier race, her manners also outstanding, while the progressive pair of Rock Tonight and Paramount Drea, made it a rare night --- one in which four three-year-old trotters have beaten older rivals on the same programme.

Add them to the huge depth in the South Island and the Trotting Oaks and Derbys look set to be beauties.

speeding spur edited