Melbourne Cup winning trainer Darren Weir celebrated an excellent early start to the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival with quality mare Tuscan Sling his fourth winner on the Caulfield card taking out the Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes 2016.
Weir enjoyed wins in Race 1 with Falago, the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) with 2016 Australian Guineas-bound colt Mahuta, the Group 3 T.S. Carlyon Cup (1600m) with the favourite Burning Front and then the card closer with Tuscan Sling’s brave $150,000 Group 3 Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes (1200m) success.
He was also unlucky not to take out the year’s first elite level after Lucky Hussler got caught back in traffic before his brave second to Nigel Blackiston’s returning Futurity Stakes winning mare Suavito in the $500,000 Group 1 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m).
In the last Weir saddled-up consistent Danehill Dancer mare Tuscan Sling who took her consistent record up to six wins from 11 starts, backing up off a Listed Christmas Stakes (1200m) victory at the track on Boxing Day.
The eventual Bellmaine Stakes winner was one of the first out of the barriers in the mares’ sprint with Brad Rawiller in the saddle and taking her up into third behind Lee & Shannon Hope’s last start Moonee Valley winner Choose.
Choose held the rails and took up front running from the Pat Carey-trained Shakespearean Lass to set the pace, while the race favourite Azkadellia was given quite a task settled right back some seven lengths off the leader.
One the straight Rawiller and Tuscan Sling ($6) hit the front and got there by a half-length in an upset over the Ciaron Maher-trained top fancy Azkadellia ($4F) who was running for the first time since her third to Politeness in the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) last Derby Day.
In third rounding out the Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes trifecta was Choose ($7.50) who was brave to hold onto a finish in the money after leading throughout.
“She’s a bit of work,” winning hoop Rawiller said of Tuscan Sling.
“Darren’s done so much with her.
“She’s done it tough today.
“She’s a little tiger when you let her go and she kept up her fight.”
Weir confirmed Tuscan Sling wasn’t always a pleasure to train, but was confident she was starting to do things right ahead of her toughest campaign to date.
“She is tough,” he said.
“She’s starting to do things better.
“She can be hard to train, manners-wise.
“But I’m really keen to see her over 1400 (metres). She’ll get that toughness out late and she’ll run out a strong seven furlongs no worries.”
Weir plans to take his Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes winner next-up into the $150,000 Group 3 Mannerism Stakes (1400m) back at the track in a fortnight on Blue Diamond Stakes Day, February 27.
“The Mannerism (Stakes), that’s been the plan,” Weir confirmed.
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2016 Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 9 – 13/02/2016
|1||5||TUSCAN SLING||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||–||7||57kg||$6|
|2||9||AZKADELLIA (NZ)||Ciaron Maher||Damien Oliver||0.5L||9||55kg||$3.90F|
|3||7||CHOOSE||Lee & Shannon Hope||Blake Shinn||0.6L||6||55kg||$7.50|
|4||1||WAWAIL||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Damian Lane||1.85L||2||58kg||$4.60|
|5||12||CHIAVARI||Nick Harnett||Dwayne Dunn||2.6L||1||55kg||$81|
|6||4||SHAKESPEAREAN LASS||Pat Carey||Rhys McLeod||2.8L||8||57kg||$8.50|
|7||6||MISS STEELE||Michael Kent||Mark Zahra||2.9L||3||55kg (cd 55.5kg)||$10|
|8||2||JESSY BELLE||Luke Oliver||Chris Symons||3.3L||5||57kg||$20|
|9||3||NADEEM LASS||Robbie Griffiths||Matthew Allen||3.5L||4||57kg||$31|
|10||10||FELICIENNE||Darren Weir||Harry Coffey (a)||3.7L||10||55kg||$51|
|11||8||MY SISTER LIL||John Price||Chris Parnham||4.45L||11||55kg||$71|
|12||11||AMARELA (NZ)||Nigel Blackiston||Luke Currie||4.95L||12||55kg||$61|