Dam: Winning Belle
Age/Colour/Sex: 5yo Bay Mare
Trainer: Peter Moody
For reasons that will remain a mystery, Fillies Form have long had an affection for horses with Belle in their name. Hi Belle, Belle De Coeur and Belle Du Jour just to name a few, have featured on many a Tab ticket that has filled our purses with a dollar or two.
The latest ‘Belle’ to capture our attention is the Peter Moody trained Plucky Belle, who produced a show stopping performance during the Flemington Spring Carnival. Surprised by the win (she was paying $17) Fillies Form decided to go back through her form and see where this mystery mare had come from.
Firstly we went back and analysed her prior run in the Group 3 Nivison held at Randwick, where she ran a game second to Diamond Earth at the juicy odds of $20. In the run she had settled towards the rear of the field and let down with a devastating finish, only to be denied by the unsuitable distance of 1200m and the fact that she was first up from a break.
The next step was to look at her last win which came in an Open Mares Handicap at Caulfield over 1400 metres on the 30th of March 2013. Ridden by Linda Meech, Plucky Belle dropped out to the tail of the field after drawing barrier 12 in a field of 12. True to her racing style she was able to make up many lengths in the straight to grab Minnie Downs, who recently ran second to the highly talented Wistful during the Spring Carnival.
Now that we had more of an idea of the mare’s ability, we decided to take a second look at her most recent win. It would be in the Group 3 Lavazza Short Black over 1400m on Melbourne Cup Day. True to form, she drew barrier 15 and with Luke Nolan in the saddle, settled at the rear of the field. In the run she stalked race favourite Arinosa to the home stretch, before stepping on the gas, leaving the speedy grey in her wake (winning margin 1 1/4 lengths). The win would be no fluke for Plucky Belle with Moody stating “She’s probably unlucky not to have won a Stakes race or two by now and with that pattern of having to get back, you always need luck and always need races run to suit.” Moody and Nolan’s pre-race plan had played out to perfection.
It may be ironic that the word Plucky means ‘to have or show determined courage in the face of difficulties’, which perfectly describes Luke Nolan’s recent form and the task he faces when he rides Plucky Belle in the Railway Stakes at Ascot this weekend. Following a ghastly Spring Carnival with few winners, and a fall in the mounting yard last Saturday, Nolan is looking to turn his luck around and guide the in form 5 year old to her first Group 1 victory.
Despite drawing wide again (barrier 14) and considering her racing style, Fillies Form will back the mare to reproduce her trademark finish, claim her first Group 1, and reignite that winning feeling for the Moody/Nolan combination.