Soon after claiming Group 1 wins in the Epsom and Metropolitan, Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse tasted success in Melbourne as Hallowell Belle produced a strong finish to take out the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m).
The four-year-old chestnut mare was having her first start of the spring but fitness wasn’t an issue as she kicked clear in the final 100 metres to score victory ahead of King’s Rose and Spirit Of Boom.
It was the first Group win of Hallowell Belle’s career and stable representative Dave Meijer is confident there are bigger things in store.
“Full credit to Gai. She’s a master at picking these races for these horses,” Meijer said.
“The world’s her oyster now. We’ve got those 1400m fillies and mares races here and we can go to a Group 1 with her now.”
Jockey Vlad Duric was happy to sit just off the pace as Queensland sprinter Excellantes set the early pace before Hallowell Belle showed terrific finishing ability to gallop clear of her rivals.
“She had that bunny to follow in front of her and I just sat a length and a half off James’ horse (Excellantes) and then when she started to tow me into the race I let her start to stride,” Duric said.
“She dug in really deep…she gave me a super feel today and I’m sure she’ll improve and go on from here.”
Jason Warren-trained gelding Bel Sprinter was a short-priced favourite but failed to show the same spark he did when winning the McEwen Stakes and finished three lengths off the pace in fifth position.
Runner-up King’s Rose showed she has fully recovered from a throat operation while Spirit Of Boom picked up his second stakes placing of the spring.