Former top three-year-old filly La Bella Diosa ended an 18-month absence from the winner's enclosure when she produced a devastating burst of speed to claim victory over 1100m at Caulfield on Saturday.
Having just her second start from the Lindsay Park operation of trainers David and Ben Hayes along with Tom Dabernig, the now five-year-old put a welcome smile back on the faces of her patient connections who held firm in the belief she could return to her best in this campaign.
Raced in New Zealand as La Diosa, the daughter of So You Think was a star of spring racing during her three-year-old campaign where she took out the Gr.1 1000 Guineas (1600m).
She later added the Gr.2 Surround Stakes (1400m) in Sydney during the autumn on a heavy track, with that performance an anomaly for the mare who prefers firmer footing.
Things began to unravel for La Bella Diosa after that, with a succession of unsuitable wet tracks frustrating her remaining efforts as a three-year-old before she failed to fire in three starts as a four-year-old back in New Zealand.
Acting on the advice of former trainer Mandy Brown, her connections sent her to Lindsay Park where the mare has thrived.
"Her next run is likely to be in the Let's Elope Stakes (Gr.2, 1400m) on September 15 and I'm hoping to get over there for that one," part-owner Gordon Calder said. "The ultimate goal is the Myer Classic (Gr.1, 1600m) in November.
- NZ Racing Desk