The Justin Snaith-trained Ciao Bela, a homebred from Varsfontein Stud, is one of the best bred fillies in the land so the connections would have been pleased to see her bouncing back to winning ways at Hollywoodbets Durbanville yesterday.
The athletic grey is by Champion Sire Gimmethegreenlight out of Champion Racehorse Bela-Bela, who is by Horse Of The Year and excellent sire Dynasty Out Of Champion Broodmare Mystic Spring.
Snaith trained both Gimmethegreenlight and Bela-Bela so it was rewarding when she drew away on debut to win extending over 1000m at Kenilworth. That was in April and she finished 3,75 lengths clear under Anton Marcus.
In her next start in the Listed Perfect Promise Sprint over 1200m in June she was a touch disappointing considering she started at even money. She was tardily away before appearing to be a touch outpaced, although she did make late progress from last place to finish a 3,20 length fifth.
She ran next in the Listed Irridescence Stakes over 1500m and still looked a bit green when staying on for a 1,80 length third.
That race was on June 25 and she must have been freshened up for yesterday’s 1250m Graduation Plate, where she only started second favourite behind her one year older stablemate Kwinta’s Light, who is also by Gimmethegreenlight.
However, the on course presenters were fearful of Ciao Bela, because she looked so outstanding in the preliminaries.
In the small five horse field she displayed a big stride in the running and was fairly well relaxed in fourth place.
In the straight she moved up under the hands to the pacemaker Kwinta’s Light and swept past as if she was the odds-on shot.
She was a hands-and-heels ride throughout and won by two lengths under Keagan de Melo.
Bela-Bela herself got better and better as a three-year-old culminating in her winning the Grade 2 Daisy Fillies Guineas at Greyville in May 2016 and then winning the Grade 1 Woolavington 2000 by a comfortable 1,75 lengths. She completed that season with a decent sixth place finish in the Durban July before going on to win two Grade 1s as a four-year-old, the Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes and the Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes.
Ciao Bela looks likely to progress too and is an exciting prospect both as a racehorse and broodmare.