Belle blasts past them all
by Jonny Turner
Belle Of Montana staked her claim as Australasia’s best three-year-old filly with a stunning win in the Group 1 Nevele R Stud Fillies Series Final at Addington on Friday night.
The Barry Purdon trained filly unleashed a powerful finish off a hot race speed to emphatically claim the $140,000 feature and leave driver Zachary Butcher searching for superlatives to describe her.
Butcher had no choice but to stay out of the battle that set up a New Zealand record speed from the Bettor’s Delight filly’s second row draw.
The reinsman worked his filly in to handy spot in the final lap and once he peeled her out for her run, Belle Of Montana did the rest and handed her rivals, including the favourite Princess Tiffany, a thrashing.
“I have to be honest that was one of the biggest thrills I have had in a long time,” Butcher said.
“To be where she was with a lap to go – as far back as she was – against good horses and the way she rounded them up was pretty awesome.”
“She is as quick as any horse I have driven.”
The victory was Belle Of Montana’s third group 1 win this season, following her Sires Stakes Championship and Victorian Oaks titles.
That treble, as well as defeating Princess Tiffany for the third time, gave her a leading claim at being rated the best three-year-old pacing filly in Australasia.
In the first 400m of Friday night’s 1980m feature, Princess Tiffany looked to have secured a massive advantage over Belle Of Montana when Natalie Rasmussen got the favourite off the markers from her barrier 1 on the second row draw.
The New South Wales Oaks winner worked to the front at the 1000m, but could not hold out Belle Of Montana’s brilliant home straight finish.
Princess Tiffany will get the chance to avenge her defeat when the pair square-off again in next week’s New Zealand Oaks.
Fellow All Starts filly, Kayla Marie, got closest to Belle Of Montana, finishing three-quarters of a length from her in second.
Princess Tiffany, fought gamely after being headed and held third.
Belle Of Montana clocked a 1.54.1 mile rate in winning and set a new New Zealand record over the recently established 1980m distance at Addington.
The classy filly’s victory capped a brilliant night for trainer Barry Purdon.
Purdon produced Havtime to run a creditable fourth behind her stablemate in the Nevele R Stud Fillies Series Final.
The master trained also notched three wins at Alexandra Park with Sole Ambition, Ball Of Art and Benson Boys.