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Bella MenteA Fruitful Running of the Sires Produce

While we may not have made headline news in the time-honored Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes at the weekend there were three fillies in the race with connections to the farm that all put in a highly commendable effort to finish in the top five placings.

Two of the fillies were sired by resident Westbury stallion El Roca, Bella Mente and First Rock, who both put in ultra-impressive performances to finish the Group 1 race with a third and fifth placing respectively. 

The Debbie Sweeney trained First Rock was the first to take the lead and dominated almost the entire trip with Bella Mente travelling closely behind and it was only in those final moments her rivals got the better of her which included Bella Mente who finished less than a length from the winner.

Bella Mente is trained by Shaune Ritchie and was born and raised at Westbury and is owned by her breeders Marriott Thoroughbreds who race the filly in a syndicate which includes J M Ewen, S J Wilcox, E Smith, P J Thompson, A P Ritchie, W J Bremner, B K Dell, L Heale & W Schoonderwoerd, while First Rock is owned by Sanders Racing Stable #1 Fillies Breeding Syndicate LP (who bred the filly), GF Wade & D Barnett.

This season has seen El Roca have his first crop of two-year-olds on the track and after Saturday’s juvenile event the son of Fastnet Rock is already a proven producer of a Group 1 performer and has some high-class three-year-olds to step out next season.

A Reliable Man filly who goes by the name Aalaalune was the other runner in the race that performed exceptionally well and one might argue a bit unlucky with her recent form including a second place in the Group 1 Sistema Stakes, a third in the Group 2 Matamata Breeders Stakes, fourth in the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes and second on debut in the Listed Counties Challenge Stakes.

From racing behind mid-field Aalaalune finished the race strongly in fourth position for her owners Te Keeti Bloodstock and Mrs VD Gates and her trainer Jacob McKay. The grey filly was purchased for $230,000 at the 2018 Karaka Yearling Sales from Book 1 by Te Keeti Bloodstock and Richardson Rracing.

Pictured: Bella Mente, daughter of El Roca 

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