Belle Couture, the half-sister to equine superstar Black Caviar, has been sent to the spelling paddock after being found to have suffered a torn hamstring when a disappointing 12th in the Trevor Clarke Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on May 24.
The Redoute’s Choice filly started at odds of $10 and settled in the middle of the field, but tired badly in the final stages of the race to beat home just a single runner in the three-year-old fillies’ event.
Trainer Danny O’Brien admitted that he was disappointed with the performance of Belle Couture after the race, but told Racing Victoria yesterday that the well-bred filly had suffered a hamstring injury and would be immediately sent to the spelling paddock.
“She’s torn her near hind hamstring,” O’Brien said.
“There’s significant soft tissue damage so she’ll need eight to ten weeks in the paddock to recover.
“It’s just like when a footballer tears a hamstring, you never want to come back too early and run the risk of re-doing it so she’ll have a good rest and we’ll take it from there.”
Belle Couture was purchased for $2.6 million at the 2012 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale and did not race as two-year-old; with O’Brien patiently preparing the filly for the start of her racing career.
She finally made her racing debut in the Animals2U Plate (1100m) at Bendigo on December 22 and was well-backed in the lead-up to the race, but was narrowly denied victory by Paddy’s Gem and was sent to the spelling paddock after the run.
Belle Couture returned to the races and score her first race win in the Elvis Ricky Thurgood Plate (1200m) at Caulfield on April 21, but was fractious in the barriers and jumped awkwardly in the Spotless Plate (1200m) at Flemington on May 10 before tearing her hamstring in the Trevor Clark Handicap (1200m).
Black Caviar was restricted to two race starts as a two-year-old and three starts as a three-year-old before finding her best form as a four-year-old when she took out the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m), Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m), Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m), Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m), Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) in her usual dominant fashion.