All Too Hard mare Babylon Berlin is on track for a Group 1 breakthrough after playing second fiddle to champion sprinter Imperatriz at the elite level in New Zealand last season.
The Kiwi flyer resumed from an eight-month spell with an straightforward victory in the Legacy Lodge Sprint (LR, 1200m) at Te Rapa on Saturday. Starting a $2.40 favourite, she shadowed the speed and then cruised home for a half-length victory under Courtney Barnes.
Two hours later, Imperatriz (I Am Invincible) completed a clean-sweep at the Melbourne spring carnival in the VRC Darley Champions Sprint (Gr.1, 1200m). Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis is now looking further afield to the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes (Gr.1, 1200m) at Royal Ascot in June.
“It’s been enjoyable watching her dominate in Australia,” Babylon Berlin’s trainer Ben Foote said. “I might send David a bottle of spirits and ask if he can keep her overseas.”
Foote is setting Babylon Berlin for the Sistema Railway (Gr.1, 1200m) at Pukekohe on New Year’s Day and admitted it was a relief to get her underway with a first-up win. “I knew she needed the run,” he said. “She’s still carrying plenty of condition but showed a decent turn of foot when asked in the straight.
“I want a Group 1 win on her record. We’re concentrating on the Railway – Imperatriz got up in the last stride this year. Then she beat us again in a Group 1 a month later at Te Rapa.”
The Telegraph Hcp (Gr.1, 1200m) at Trentham on January 13 is another goal in the New Year and so is a second trip to Australia. “We have some unfinished business over there,” Foote declared while recalling the William Reid Stakes (Gr.1, 1200m) at Moonee Valley in March.
She cut-throated with speed merchant Jigsaw (Manhattan Rain) that night and was a sitting shot when Imperatriz swooped in the straight.
Babylon Berlin races for a syndicate that includes Scott Williams, Kim Rogers, Sam Beatson, Cedric Foote and Andrew Stuart. She’s a half-sister to five winners including Darci Be Good (Newcastle Spring Stakes Gr.3, 1600m).
Their dam You Can’t Say That (Fusaichi Pegasus) is a half-sister to Only Words (Phar Lap Stakes Gr.2) and Gibraltar Campion (Kevin Heffernan Stakes LR).
All Too Hard warhorse Alligator Blood signalled he was ready for a well-earned spell after a courageous third in the VRC Champions Mile (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday. “He’s probably feeling the effects of a long prep,” jockey Tim Clark said. “He was out on his feet for the last little bit but he’s done a wonderful job.”
Racing exclusively in Group 1 events at weight-for-age during the spring carnival, he won the Underwood Stakes and Caulfield Stakes before going down a nose and a neck for third in another epic renewal of the MVRC W S Cox Plate (2040m).
All Too Hard filly Viva Vienna gets a Group 1 opening ahead of Babylon Berlin across the Tasman in the NZ 1000 Guineas (1600m) this Saturday. Part of the Te Akau complement entered for the Riccarton classic, she is priced at $21 despite being the second-highest rated filly off a Canterbury Belle Stakes (LR, 1200m) victory in September.
The coming weekend will also see Wellington resume in the HKJC Sprint (Gr.2, 1200m) at Sha Tin on Sunday. All Too Hard’s Champion Sprinter is in training for the International Meeting on December 10 and he worked home nicely when third in a 1200m barrier trial last Tuesday.
“He felt great. He was relaxed, happy and did everything by himself,” Wellington’s regular partner Alexis Badel said. “He seems pretty fit actually so it was a good trial.”
Vinery stands All Too Hard for $38,500 (inc GST) payable on a live foal. For bookings or further information, contact Adam White (0414 800 918) or Harry Roach (0401 970 006).