Bel Mer on trial for Manikato
A bold showing from Bel Mer in the Bletchingly Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday could set her up for a start in next month’s Group One Manikato Stakes.
The mare, who will be a five-year-old on the horses’ birthday on Saturday, is one of trainer Mick Price’s five individual winners of six Group One races this season, a tally bettered only by Gai Waterhouse with seven.
The daughter of Bel Esprit is a renowned fresh performer and won the Group One Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville first-up in March.
"She’s come up fine. She’s probably not one hundred per cent forward as I had her in the Group One but the Sangster was the main point of that preparation," Price said.
"I’ve just got her nice to run a good race, she races well fresh and she has had a trial in which she was very good.
"She’s as good physically as she was last time in.
"We’re running in the Bletchingly and if we get a guide that she’s come up we might race her for another year.
"She’s going to be a valuable broodmare but I’m pretty sure we can keep her going for another year.
"I’m very happy with her. She’s as sound and as bright and sparky as she ever was and if she can nearly win this we’ll freshen her up for the Manikato."
Also earmarked for the Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 25 are I Am Invincible, unbeaten filly Black Caviar and last year’s Bletchingly winner Commanding Hope.
Bel Mer ran eleventh to Typhoon Zed in last year’s weight-for-age Manikato but jumped from the outside barrier and Price said she was speared off the track before being beaten 4-1/2 lengths.
Apart from her Sangster victory, Bel Mer’s best Group One performance was a 2-1/2 length second to Weekend Hussler in the 2007 Coolmore Stakes (1200m) at Flemington as a spring three-year-old.
"She’s a restricted Group One performer, she’s just off the top horses," Price said.
"She never has a day when she’s quiet. She’s full of nervous energy."
Group One winners Let Go Thommo, Mr Baritone and Orange County are also among the 13 nominations for the Bletchingly, as are Group One placegetters Stanzout and exciting Peter Morgan-trained speedster I Am Invincible, a first-up winner of the Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on July 18.
Meanwhile, Price said impressive colt Porsched would most likely stay home for the Royal Gem Hcp (1000m) at Caulfield on Saturday, rather than travel to Sydney for The Rosebud (1200m) at Rosehill on the same day.
"He’s going to kick off his Golden Rose campaign and we are going to see if we can get him into the Caulfield Guineas," Price said.
"The Golden Rose is going to be part of that. He’s a nice horse."
The grey scored by 4-1/2 lengths from Italian Machine at his only start over 1200m at Moonee Valley on June 8.
By Mark Ryan