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Belclare coming out of racing retirement

3 minute read

Group One winner Belclare’s retirement from racing has been short-lived, with the daughter of Per Incanto set to join expat Kiwi trainer Bjorn Baker’s Sydney barn.

Belclare with part-owner David Woodhouse following the $500,000 Gr.2 Westbury Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie.
Belclare with part-owner David Woodhouse following the $500,000 Gr.2 Westbury Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie. Picture: Race Images Photo

The six-year-old mare had a stellar racing career in New Zealand, winning 11 races for Awapuni trainer Lisa Latta, including the last two editions of the Gr.1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes (1600m).

She was subsequently offered at Magic Millions' National Broodmare Sale last month where she failed to meet her A$700,000 reserve.

While initially disappointed with the outcome, breeder and co-owner David Woodhouse is excited by the prospect of racing his dual Group One winner in Australia.

"I am sending her to Bjorn Baker," Woodhouse said. "They obviously didn't rate New Zealand Group racing, so I am trying to prove a point.

"Everyone is amazed she didn't sell. Maybe I put too high a reserve on her, but I was taking advice on the reserve.

"I am actually quite excited about the prospect of having another go with her."

Spring targets await Belclare, with her new trainer already eyeing the Listed Mona Lisa Stakes (1350m) at Wyong on September 6 as a possible first target.

"We will just see how she comes up. We are just trying to win a Group race in Australia," Woodhouse said. "There is a fillies and mares 1350m race at Wyong at the start of September, and that might be a starting point."

While a Group win in Australia is the primary objective, Woodhouse said there are contingency plans if she doesn't flatter Baker in the early stages of her preparation.

"Bjorn said that if she doesn't show him anything early on, he won't be persevering with her," Woodhouse said. "I would then get her in-foal in Australia and either try and sell her in foal or bring her home and let Lisa (Latta) have another go with her."

Selling Belclare would be the ultimate goal for Woodhouse, who said in his stage of life, racing has become his primary passion.

"I am now 73 and it is getting increasingly more difficult to handle foals," he said. "I just love racing horses, so I thought if I can make a bit of money out of her, I could carry on racing horses for the rest of my days. That plan didn't come to fruition, but I am looking forward to plan b."

Woodhouse has got plenty to look forward to with Belclare's siblings.

"I have got a full-brother (to Belclare), Ardoe, he is just spelling and will come back into work in two months' time," Woodhouse said. "The half-sister by Time Test (Rithim) is going to the trials next Tuesday, Lisa (Latta) is very happy with her. We have got a beautiful weanling full-sister at home, and the mare is in-foal to Satono Aladdin."

Woodhouse is also excited about next season with his rising three-year-old filly Connello, who has returned to his Wairarapa property for a spell following her sixth-placed run in last Saturday's Listed Castletown Stakes (1200m) on an unsuitable Heavy10 track at Wanganui.

"She is home for a month. She just didn't handle how wet it was at Wanganui on Saturday," Woodhouse said. "She is jumping out of her skin, she is tearing around the paddock like a lunatic.

"She was due for a little let-up, that was quite the number of starts (seven) for a little two-year-old. We will bring her back and maybe target the Gold Trail (Gr.3, 1200m) or find a suitable Pearl Series race for her."

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