2014 Railway Stakes winner Elite Belle has passed away after she suffered a heart attack while on a flight from Perth to Melbourne.
Owner Bob Peters opted to send Elite Belle to the eastern seaboard of Australia for a 2015 Autumn Racing Carnival campaign after she took out both the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and Group 2 Cox Stakes (2100m) during the 2014 Perth Summer Racing Carnival, but Sky Racing’s Andrew Bensley revealed on Twitter this morning that the Canny Lad mare had passed on the flight that was taking her to Perth where she was set to be trained by Wez Hunter.
“In terribly sad news, top WA mare, Elite Belle has suffered a heart attack on a plane heading east this morning,” Bensley said on Twitter.
“Owner Bob Peters in shock.
“Bob Peters told me Elite Belle was heading for The Championships after winning the Cox Stakes and the Railway.”
Elite Belle made her racing debut under the care of Grant Williams in 2012 and in just her third start she finished second in the Listed Ascot 1000 Guineas (1800m) before she went on to finish third in the Group 3 Western Australian Oaks (2400m).
The talented mare was kept out of racing for over a year due to injury, but she returned to racing as a five-year-old and worked her way through the grades before she scored her maiden win at black type level in the 2013 edition of the Listed Carbine Club Of Western Australian Stakes (1400m).
Elite Belle proved that win was no fluke when she took out the Listed La Trice Classic (1800m) at Ascot on January 1 last year and she added wins in the Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m) and Group 3 Hyperion Stakes (1600m) to her racing resume in the Belmont Winter Racing Carnival.
She started her summer campaign with a win in the Group 3 Prince Of Wales Stakes (1200m) on October 25 and suffered a surprise defeat in the Group 2 Waroa-Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) a fortnight later before he recorded the biggest win of her racing career when she worked home strongly up the inside in the Railway Stakes on November 22.
Elite Belle made up good ground late to finish a credible third in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot on December 6 and she earnt herself a trip east after taking out the Cox Stakes on December 20.
Kingston Town Classic runner-up Disposition and Perth Cup winner Real Love both safely arrived in Melbourne.