After a string of minor placings at G1 level, Bella Nipotina has finally tasted success at the highest level
A wait of almost 24 hours did not bother Bella Nipotina who collected her maiden Group 1 win at Moonee Valley.
Held over from the abandoned meeting on Friday night to be the 11th race on a mammoth Cox Plate Day, the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) ended up being a walk in the park for the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained mare.
Bella Nipotina and eight of her nine opponents had to deal with thunder and lightning as well as heavy rain as they paraded for the Manikato Stakes on Friday night.
After a number of runners had made their way onto the track, a large lightning bolt struck Moonee Valley resulting in the runners returning to the parade ring with Racing Victoria stewards then abandoning the meeting.
Maher and Eustace elected to scratched Coolangatta from the Group 1 sprint 90 minutes before the rescheduled race on Saturday due to the heavy track conditions.
But it made no difference to Bella Nipotina ($3.60) with jockey Craig Williams cutting the corner on the mare before striding to a 4-¾ length win from Rothfire ($6.50) with Best of Bordeaux ($8) a long neck away third.
Bella Nipotina had started at Group 1 level eight times previously for three placings, including a second in the corresponding race last year.
“It’s fantastic,” Mahar said.
“She put the writing on the wall and the team have done a great job. She looked better today than she ever had.
“Craig rode her very well and he had a lot of confidence in her. I was a bit worried at the start, but she was phenomenal.”
Williams said he did not want to relive the conditions jockeys were faced with when lightning struck on Friday night.
“Chris Symons, who came over to take the first aid gear to Ukraine, we’ve been in bunkers, air raid sirens, missile attacks and everything 15,000 kilometres away and he started telling me about how dangerous lightning is,” Williams said.
“Everything was going well last night until the lightning hit, and I was like the cat or dog diving under the bed.”
Williams was full of praise for Bella Nipotina on how she handled Friday night before fronting up again at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
“Her, like the horses last night, had to deal with what they had to deal with last night,” Williams said.
“Her performance was phenomenal, but she did that last time in the Moir but was beaten by the track and barrier.
“Today she was great.”
Bella Nipotina cuts the corner and smashes them in the Manikato Stakes! Wow, she deserved that @cmaherracing.
Article – Justhorseracing
Credit – RS NewsWire