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Six-year-old mare Elite Belle has had a fantastic campaign in Perth, which may only get better when she contests the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) Saturday week, but it was almost all for nothing.
Elite Belle was almost retired in both 2012 and earlier this year but owner Bob Peters decided to push on and was highly rewarded. The mare won the Group 3 Prince Of Wales Stakes (1200m) first up on October 25 before just missing out on a placing in the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m). She then defied the odds in Saturday’s Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m), beating home the strong eastern-trained runners for her first Group One win.
After her performance, Elite Belle shot to the top of the 2014 Kingston Town Classic betting market, offering $6 at Ladbrokes.com.au alongside Chris Waller’s Moriarty, who finished third in the Railway Stakes.
“Winning a Group 1 with a mare is pretty special,” Peters told Perth Racing.
“It is not often you do that because usually it is the males who dominate those races.”
Peters was particularly emotional following the win due to the tough decisions he’s had to make with the mare over the past couple of years.
Elite Belle completed her campaign as a three-year-old in 2012 with a 12th place finish in the Group 2 WATC Derby (2400m). She was later found to have sustained tendon damage during the race. She had the perfect profile to be a breeding success and Peters could have retired her then and there.
Instead he decided to persist with her racing career so she was sent to convalesce in a paddock built specifically to aid horses in their recovery from serious injuries. She had to walk up and down the hilly paddock to eat and drink, which helped show Peters her improvement.
“Our first thoughts were to retire her,” Peters said.
“Then we put her in the paddock and just left her alone.
“It is a stage program, but when she got back to having confidence she started flying up and down that hill. It is once they start galloping, that’s when you know they are all right.”
The mare also escaped retirement during the winter following successive wins in the Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m) and Group 3 Hyperion Stakes (1600m), which followed a runner-up finish in the Group 3 Roma Cup (1200m) in May.
Yet still Peters wasn’t ready to give up and after a spell of four months returned for her most successful campaign to date.
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