Foxton horse trainer Chrissy Bambry was quick to praise jockey Sarah McNab for her brilliant ride on Bellacontte to win the Group 3 Hawke's Bay Breeders' Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) at Hastings at the weekend.
McNab rode a supremely confident race in waiting for a rails run, which only presented short of the post, and she had the horsepower underneath to whizz past a field of promising fillies.
Her patient ride undoubtedly proved the winning of the race.
Bambry said McNab rode Bellacontte in her previous race wins and in her early-morning trackwork at Foxton, too, so it was great to see that confidence shine through on the big stage.
"It was a brilliant ride. She [McNab] knows [Bellacontte] and has got a lot of faith in this filly," the trainer said.
"She rode a cracker."
Bambry said Bellacontte was better than her win dividend of $21.70 suggested, especially having won a stake race at her previous start at Whanganui.
The filly wasn't big in stature but lacked nothing on the score of courage. Bambry said there was room for improvement, too, which bodes well for bigger assignments on the horizon.
The Burgundy filly left only a handful of feed the night of the race, which was normal for her, and had otherwise come through the race unscathed.
What she lacked in size she made up for with heart and a will to win. And there were signs she was still losing her winter coat, suggesting she was only beginning to blossom.
"There's not a lot to her but all of it's heart ... she is not really screwed down yet and there is room for her to further improve," Bambry said.
Bellacontte holds a nomination for the Barneswood Farm One Thousand Guineas (Group 1) which would be her next major assignment. Bambry would likely give her one more lead-up run before the Riccarton feature on November 13.
Bambry was confident of Bellacontte handling the 1600m of the One Thousand Guineas with no problem. The filly was currently at a TAB fixed odds quote of 12-to-one.
"She is very pliable and will definitely get the mile," the trainer said.
Bellacontte was by Burgundy from the Tavistock mare Devon Doll, who failed to win a race in nine starts but was placed at 1200m. Further maternal sire branches bring up champion stallions Centaine, O'Reilly and Pakistan II.
Her pedigree boasts stake-performing mares Probabeel, Savvy Coup, Tootsie, La Rose Noir and No Excuse Maggie within three generations.
Meanwhile, Bambry came close to pulling off a dream weekend when stablemate Spring Tide was out-bobbed by Callsign Mav in the $200,000 Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m), the feature race on the card.
Spring Tide. also with McNab in the saddle, looked to have the momentum and the race all sewn up, only for Callsign Mav to fight back in the shadows of the post.
The result justified the decision to pay a late entry fee for the race, and the result rightly encouraged Bambry to do the same for the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) in a fortnight.
"You probably dream of days like this but it makes all the early starts and late finishes worthwhile," she said.