Bellazeel books berth in Dunstan Feeds Final

Bellazeel (NZ) earned a start in the Dunstan Feeds Championship Final with a return-to-form victory at Ellerslie on Saturday.

The Zabeel mare shook off a disappointing performance at Tauranga recently to register maximum points in her bid to gain a start in the Final on New Year’s Day.

Trainer Roger James was philosophical about the sharp turnaround after she dispatched a handy line-up in emphatic fashion on the weekend.  “We had every test in the book done on her after Tauranga including having her scoped, cardio-graphed and blood tested and couldn’t find a thing wrong with her,” he explained.

“I just couldn’t put my finger on what the problem was so we decided to press on with her as she certainly didn’t show anything in her work and thankfully we did as that was a nice run to win well on Saturday.”

Although James hasn’t mapped out a program for the mare he is adamant about the goal for her in this campaign.  “We didn’t pay any of those early nominations for the upcoming Cup races however the goal is to get some black type with her so I will be looking at how we can achieve that over the next few months.”

Bellazeel is raced by Trelawney Stud’s Brent, Cherry and Faith Taylor.  Her dam La Bella Dama (Desert Sun) was a Group 1 winner of the 2001 Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington.

James was also pleased with his (NZ) stable runners Hera (O’Reilly) and The Tidy Express (Volksraad) who notched up creditable placings in the two feature events at Ellerslie on the weekend.

“I thought they were both good runs although Hera was beaten by the conditions of the race,” he said.  “I’m not a fan of age-group races being run at anything other than set weights and I think my filly was disadvantaged even though she did go very well.

“She will now go to the Eight Carat Classic on Boxing Day.  The Tidy Express went a super race so we will set a programme for her now we know she can compete at that level.”