The Diva’s Late Charge

The Diva’s Late Charge

Bruce Stewart

17th April 2021

Belmont Diva began her quest towards a start in the Group Two Macca Lodge/Nevele R Stud Southland Oaks Final with a tough win at the Wairio meeting today.

The Art Major filly trained at West Melton by Steven McRae was taken back early by reinsman Craig Thornley, second last, with only Might Be Me behind her. Thornley didn’t change gears until just before they straightened for the run home, sending Belmont Diva four wide.

Belmont Diva warming up

The three year old came down the centre of the track letting down in genuine fashion, to hold out a late charge from Might Be Me which got within a head.

“(She was) Always travelling well, she switched off at the end. There should be a wee bit of improvement in her,” Thornley said.

The winning time was 1-55.8 with the last 800 metres run in 58.6.

“I like her. She’s very fast.”

Belmont Diva holding on to win her second race.

Back to the birdcage.

Thornley confirmed Belmont Diva will have her next start at the Winton meeting this Friday, ensuring she’ll qualify for the Southland Oaks Final by having started twice in the province.

“We’ve left it until the last two meetings. Not on purpose. She’s just been a hard horse to keep right,” McRae told me on Thursday.

The win today gives Belmont Diva $5,500 in stakes and places her nineteenth on the Oaks Leader Board. Providing she wins enough stake money at her next start she’ll be a genuine chance in what is shaping up to be a classy Oaks field.

Belmont Diva was bred, and is raced by Aylesbury trainer Donna Williamson.

“She was absolutely perfect to break in, very well mannered,” she said.

Williamson trained her mother, Courage Under Fire mare Belmont Fire, to win seven races.

The mare’s first foal Belmont Major, a full brother to Belmont Diva, has won six races for Tim Bagrie.

The mare’s next foal a two year old colt by Always B Miki, is owned by Williamson and Thornley.

In other results from Wairio today Ascot Park trainer Jeremy Douglas’s perseverance finally paid off when twenty six start maiden trotter It’s Summertime won her first race.

It’s Summertime and Nathan Williamson winning Race One

The royally bred seven year old mare driven by Nathan Williamson began well from the mobile but had to overcome a gallop with 850 metres to run causing her to lose ground on the leader. She got going again and when Galway Girl galloped on the bend It’s Summertime only had two year old One Tree Hill to beat, which she did.

Back to the winners enclosure

So Art I continued the great relationship between Mataura trainer Lyndon Bond and Sam Ottley. The pair teamed up to win Race Two.

So Art I beating Noosa Beach

To the yelling of “Go Charlie,” Airwaves won his third race at Winton today. Owned by Ian Bennett and trained by Craig Laurenson, it was Laurenson doing the screaming.

Charlie winning

My educated guess is that Airwaves is named after the song Pilot of the Airwaves a song from the 70’s by Charlie Dore.

Rory and Charlie heading home

His mile record and draw indicated he’d win, and the hottest favourite of the day Mach’s Back duly delivered, when driver Max Hill took him to the front from gate two, got away with a soft middle quarter and then sprinted home to beat Ivana Legacy by three quarters of a length in Race Four.

Mach’s Back leaving the gate

At the finish

In Race Five trotting mare Steve, backing up from Wednesday’s meeting at Forbury recorded her third win after Blair Orange took her straight to the front and she held on to beat Ruby Seddon by three and three quarter lengths.

Steve and Blair Orange

She was the first of four winners for Orange from only four drives on the card. The others were Johnny Mac in the Free For All, Leithen Burn in the Earl Drake Builder Mobile Pace and Tommy Waterhouse in the Otautau Vets Mobile Pace.