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Belardi lands Castletown on big day for family

3 minute read

Three and a half hours before Moonlight Magic took her place in Saturday’s Gr.1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm, her half-brother Belardi kicked off a huge day for the family with victory in the Listed John Turkington Forestry Castletown Stakes (1200m) at Wanganui.


Both Belardi and Moonlight Magic are trained by Andrew Forsman for owner-breeders the Sunlight Trust, and they are among the five winners from just five foals out of the Encosta De Lago mare Japonica.

Belardi  became the second stakes winner in that group, with Moonlight Magic having previously captured the Gr.3 Championship Stakes (2100m) at Ellerslie in April.

Saturday's Castletown Stakes was the third career start for Belardi, who was well supported for his debut appearance at New Plymouth on May 11 after a stylish trial win. He finished only sixth that day, but bounced back strongly to lead all the way for a maiden success at Taupo on May 22.

The two-year-old Belardo gelding faced a steep class rise on a sharp 10-day turnaround on Saturday, but he showed that he was up to the task.

Jockey Joe Doyle adopted similar front-running tactics, driving him forward from his inside gate to take up a leading position after the first 100m.

The previous two races on Saturday's Wanganui card had established that the outside part of the track was clearly the place to be down the home straight, and Doyle was able to bring Belardi across the front of the field at the turn and into that better ground.

Raziah and He's Lucid  finished strongly out of the pack and tried their hardest to pull Belardi back in down the straight, but the Cambridge gelding kicked away from them again in the last 50m to win by a length and a half.

"He didn't break particularly well, but he was quick into gear and then just travelled so smoothly from there," said Doyle, who has now ridden 14 Group and Listed winners this season.

"He's a Belardo, and these kinds of tracks often seem to suit them. When we got on to the better ground in the straight and I gave him a squeeze, he picked up very nicely. He might have idled a touch when he was in front in the straight, so I'd say there's still more in the tank.

"He's not overly big, but he's a very willing horse. That tendency to idle won't be there for much longer and I'm sure we'll see more improvement from him."

Belardi's three-start career has now produced two wins and $57,725 in stakes.

With Forsman in Brisbane to saddle Moonlight Magic  and First Innings in Saturday's Queensland Derby, he was represented at Wanganui on Saturday by assistant trainer Trina Riddell.

"That was a really good win, and with his half-sister racing in the Queensland Derby today, it's a big day for the Sunlight Trust," Riddell said.

"Belardi is a really nice horse, and I thought Joe did a great job to lead and get him to that outside ground in the straight."

Belardi became the second stakes-winning two-year-old in the space of a week for former Haunui Farm shuttle stallion Belardo, who also sired last Saturday's Listed Champagne Stakes (1600m) winner Southern Warrior.

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