Stephen Ralph’s belief in Magic Belle (NZ) was vindicated when the filly upstaged her older black-type opposition at Tauranga on Saturday.
The Pukekohe trainer convinced his father John, who bred and races the three-year-old with the estate of his late wife Trixie, to give the go-ahead for a crack at the LR Tauranga Classic (1400m). “I’m glad he had the confidence to let me run her,” Stephen said. “I said she’s the best horse in the stable and she will prove it.”
Magic Belle (3f Keeper – Sadie Belle by Exploding Prospect) had won for the third time in her light career at Ellerslie the previous weekend and front-running tactics were again employed at Tauranga. She drifted wide the straight but scored by a long neck from Faraway Eyes (Ustinov) and they finished clear of No Excuse Maggie (No Excuse Needed) in the third place.
The headstrong filly revelled in the heavy conditions. “Backing up she was very, very fit,” winning rider Mark du Plessis said. “I’m sure she can win another black type race.”
Magic Belle is by Cambridge Stud resident Keeper and had failed to reach a $50,000 reserve at the 2009 NZB Select yearling sale at Karaka. She the 25th stakes winner for Keeper (Danehill) who stands for a $12,500 (plus gst) fee.
John Ralph has been involved with horses as an owner and trainer for decades with his best representative The Message winning 12 races including the G1 Kelt Capital Stakes and G1 Lion Red Stakes.