She may not have won a race in nearly two years but Gai Waterhouse rates Miss Stellabelle as the dark horse in the 2014 Dark Jewel Classic this weekend at Scone Racecourse.
The second meeting of the two-day Scone Cup Carnival, Saturday’s racing is headlined by the fillies and mares facing off in the $200,000 Group 3 Coolmore Dark Jewel Classic (1400m).
Race favourite in the latest Dark Jewel Classic odds at $4.20 is the Les Bridge-trained Avoid Lightning, the recent Group 3 Birthday Card Stakes winner coming off a second to Cosmic Endeavour in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Randwick from April 19.
Occupying the second line of Dark Jewel Classic betting at $6 is then Waterhouse’s Dehere mare Miss Stellabelle.
The always honest five-year-old boasts a mediocre win rate of only 11% but Waterhouse believes this Saturday is her time to shine.
“Miss Stellabelle is going great and always runs a good race,” she told The Daily Telegraph.
“One day she is going to win one of these good races and Scone could be the day.”
She hasn’t been seen in the winners’ stall since September 2012 when winning the Listed Mona Lisa Stakes (1350m) second-up at Wyong, but she has been a very consistent Group performer over the subsequent seasons.
Twelve months ago she contested last year’s Dark Jewel Classic and came within a half length of the winner Arctic Flight in a brave third before heading to Queensland for the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
This year Miss Stellabelle kicked things off with a two start campaign in Tasmania during the summer carnival, stand in trainers Carlie Goggin & Luella Meaburn overseeing a strong prep that produced two Group 3 seconds.
From there she ran a disappointing sixth to Catkins in the Group 3 Wiggle Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm where she worked home well despite a poor start.
Most recently she ran at Hawkesbury two Saturdays back and finished just one and a quarter lengths away fourth behind Aerobatics, a $6.50 chance for this weekend’s Dark Jewel, in the Group 3 The Darley Crown (1300m) at Hawkesbury in an improved effort wearing blinkers again.
It was that performance, and the return to Scone where she did well last winter, that has Waterhouse hopeful of breaking the drought on Saturday.
Other top chances in this year’s Dark Jewel Classic then include last start Randwick winner Two Blue and the John O’Shea-trained Seaside both paying $7.50.
Waterhouse also has The Great Snowman ($15) taking them on in Friday’s $200,000 Listed Emirates Park Scone Cup (1600m), and a quartet of runners in Saturday’s $400,000 Inglis 3YO Guineas (1400m) headlined by Northern Meteor filly Cosmic Endeavour ($3.60).
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