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Black Caviar’s baby sister Belle Couture is pleasing trainer Danny O’Brien ahead of her highly anticipated race debut at Bendigo on Sunday.
A $2.6 million purchase from the 2012 William Inglis and Son Australian Easter Yearling Sale, the now three-year-old Redoute’s Choice filly is a half-sister to the legendary Black Caviar sharing the dam Helsinge with Australia’s greatest race mare.
Following the retirement of the undefeated Black Caviar who is currently in foal to top sire Exceed And Excel, Belle Couture is out to try and fill the gap when she race for the first time this weekend.
The BC3 Thoroughbreds owned filly prepared for her debut with an under-the-radar hit out over 800m at Flemington last month.
She did everything right in her first official jump out, when ridden by this year’s Melbourne Cup winning jockey Damien Oliver, and was given another for a soft trial win on December 6.
Belle Couture will be out to improve on that on Sunday with a bigger than usual crowd expected to turn out at Bendigo to see the expensive youngster step out.
Oliver will maintain his association with Belle Couture when he jumps aboard for the $17,500 Animals2U SV 3YO Fillies Maiden Plate (1100m).
The pair is drawn in barrier three of 11 and Belle Couture is sure to start one of the early favourites despite being unraced.
O’Brien is confident she can put in a stellar first-up performance with the track set to suit.
“We’ve been very pleased with the way that she’s come through her last jump out and her work has been good in the gallops she’s completed since,” O’Brien told Racing Victoria.
“We’re taking her to Bendigo because it’s such a good track and every horse gets it’s chance.
“It’s a big, wide-open track that has a history of a lot of young horses kicking off there and going on to better things.
“She’s taken everything that we’ve put in front of her so far in her stride and the next step for her progression is to turn up at the races.”
Many legends kicked off their careers with early runs at the affectionately known “Nursery Of Champions’ track too.
Among the turf greats to run as youngsters at Bendigo are 2004 Australian Racing Hall of Fame inductee Better Loosen Up whose career took them all the way to a win in the 1990 Japan Cup, 2009 Melbourne Cup hero Shocking who broke their maiden status at Bendigo in April of that year and Peter Snowden’s up-and-comer Long John who went from a debut win at Bendigo in May to a Caulfield Guineas win this spring.
While Belle Couture has a lot to live up to with Black Caviar bowing out with a perfect 25-from-25 record for over $7.9 million in prize money, recent history shows she’s at the right track to kick things off.
A half-brother to Belle Couture and full brother to Black Caviar, the Hawkes-trained Moshe (Bel Esprit x Helsinge) won at Bendigo on debut in November 2010 by six lengths.
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