14 March 2015
By Michael Guerin – Twitter: @GuerinSports
It was almost like she had never been away.
And pretty soon some of Ideal Belle’s rivals are probably going to wish she had stayed away.
The NZ Oaks winner returned from a career-threatening injury with the perfect win at Alexandra Park tonight.
Trainer Barry Purdon and driver Zac Butcher wanted to win obviously, but wanted to do so without hurting their mare, which isn’t always easy fresh up over 2700m in the intermediate grade at Alexandra Park.
They needn’t have worried though as Ideal Belle handled her first standing start perfectly, dropping straight into the trail behind First Holme and never had to leave the marker pegs, using the passing lane to win easily.
“That couldn’t have worked out better,” enthuses Butcher.
“She handled the stand beautifully, in fact like a mare who will develop into a really quick beginner before long.
“And then to get that easy run means she comes back without any stress and will gain confidence.
“So we are very happy.”
Ideal Belle hadn’t raced since her second in the 1:52.1 Jewels won by Venus Serena last season, suffering bad cuts to her back legs when she got them caught over a fence.
But now she is back he aim is obvious, the Jewels again at Ashburton on May 30.
“This helps because she gets some money straight away,” says Butcher.
“And she has a $25,000 race in two weeks, which while it will be a better field, probably comes at the right time.
“Then she has the option of the Taylor Mile and the Messenger if she needs the money heading toward the Jewels.” Butcher says consideration was even given to the Breeders Stakes at Addington next weekend but it was just too soon.
“But after the Rowe Cup carnival there is still three weeks of races to qualify for the Jewels and we would love to have her there.”