Maven Belle – Our Group 1 Gal
3 Apr 2022
Adding to recent feats, Maven Belle (2 f Burgundy – Doyenne, by Kilimanjaro) became the second Te Akau homebred to win at elite level this season when taking out $245,000 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (Gr. 1, 1400m) on Saturday at Awapuni.
In March at Trentham, three-year-old homebred filly Belle En Rouge (Burgundy) won the NZ Oaks (Gr. 1, 2400m) to tie with stable-mate Self Obsession (Shocking) for NZB Filly of the Year honours, while at the same meeting another homebred, Burgundy Rose (Burgundy), finished runner-up in the Lightning Handicap (Listed, 1200m).
Maven Belle had been very impressive when cementing a hat-trick and providing Te Akau with its seventh Matamata Breeders Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m) on 26 February at Matamata. She was tops again finishing third in the Sistema Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m) on 13 March at Ellerslie where she was desperately unlucky in the running.
Maven Belle was ridden by Sam Weatherley, who in January rode stable-mate Pin Me Up (Pins) to win the $1 million Karaka Million 3YO Classic (Restricted Listed, 1600m), and he utilised barrier one to control proceedings in front. Stealing three lengths on her rivals turning for home, Maven Belle tended to wander over concluding stages but Weatherley had matters in hand – there was a subsequent inquiry initiated by the connections of the runner up but placings stood as a result of that hearing.
“I didn’t expect to be leading, but I didn’t want to give it away once I was there,” Weatherley said. “She travelled beautifully and was going easily in the straight. Well done to Mark (Walker) and the team.
“She’s trained by a good team at Te Akau, had runs on the board and should be nearly unbeaten. I was very thankful to be on her and thrilled to get it done.”
On Dead4 footing, Maven Belle ran 1400 metres in 1:23.2 and paid $3.40 & $1.30 on NZ TAB tote.
“She got some soft sectionals in front and there wasn’t really anything pressuring her,” said trainer Mark Walker, after securing his second stakes’ win on the programme on his first official day back at the Te Akau helm.
“She’s one of the homebred’s off the farm and it’s just such a shame (sire) Burgundy’s not with us anymore because he’s had a great season.
“We’ve got a great team of young people at the stable and stud and it’s satisfying for all of them as well.”
Now winner of four from five starts, Maven Belle became the 35thstakes’ winner for Te Akau this season and eighth at Group 1 level.
She also notched the seventh Sires’ Produce Stakes win for Te Akau, becoming the fifth in a row, following On the Bubbles (Brazen Beau), the fifth of six consecutive Karaka Million 2YO (Restricted Listed, 1200m) winners for the stable, Champion Two-Year-Olds Yourdeel (Dundeel), Avantage (Fastnet Rock), winner of nine Group 1 races, and Melody Belle (Commands), dual Horse of the Year, and Group 1 record-holder (14). Previously they had won the race with Kindacross (Cape Cross) and Maroofity (Maroof), both trained by Mark Walker.
Bred by David Ellis CNZM, Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM, together with Mark Walker and Mrs J Walker, Maven Belle is owned by Te Akau Maven Belle Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM).
By five-time stakes’ winner Burgundy (Redoute’s Choice), from the stakes’ placed winner of six to 2000 metres Doyenne (Kilimanjaro), Maven Belle is closely related to recent dual Group 1 winner Levante (Proisir) and is a filly with size, quality, class, presence, and has the temperament to match.
Adding to a happy day, Te Akau principal David Ellis said: “It was very emotional to be standing next my mate, Mark Walker, in the birdcage at Awapuni after winning another Sires’.
“Mark came to work for me after leaving school and for him to win a Group 1 on his first day back training for Te Akau after eleven years in Singapore is just unbelievable. It’s great to have him back.
“It’s the fifth year in a row we’ve won this race and seventh overall. Karyn and I came down today to support Mark and support the Club and to go home with a Group 1 and a Group 3 win is remarkable. We’ve got Mark’s son Zavier with us too, which adds to the excitement.
“To pull off a Group 1 win with a horse we bred, that foaled at Cambridge Stud, and by a stallion (Burgundy) that we trained to win the Flying Handicap at this meeting in 2013, it’s a massive thrill.
“Maven Belle was reared at Te Akau Stud, the same as Belle En Rouge, and our team at the farm does an amazing job looking after the horses from when they’re born and as babies.
“Sam (Weatherley) is a young bloke going places. He’s riding really well and showing a lot of maturity in all parts of his life.
“It’s a big thrill for the owners and quite a few of them were here today. I felt sorry for the Club because they could only have small numbers here, in groups, but everything opens up on Monday and it will be a lot better then.
“I’d like to congratulate all the team at the stables in Matamata, and at Te Akau Stud, because results like these reflect a lot of hard work by a lot of people. It is totally a team effort.
“On the farm at the moment, we’re breaking in sixteen yearlings and everyone is doing a fantastic job.”
Maven Belle was strapped by Sarah West.
Photo credit – www.raceimages.co.nz