A perfectly executed ride by Leith Innes allowed Beautiful Girl (6 Br. M. Black Minnaloushe – Piccadilly Lily, by Rubiton) to land her most valuable success, with victory in the $100,000, Group III, Darley Plate over 1200 metres at Ellerslie on Wednesday.
Owned on lease by Leanne Franklin and trained by her at Muriwai Beach, north of Auckland, Beautiful Girl gained her first win on debut back in 2006 before a hole in her off-fore tendon ruled her out for a lengthy period.
After almost two years away from the track, the strapping mare announced her return with an impressive fresh-up victory in January 2009 and had since blossomed with five wins from eight starts this season.
Franklin explained that Beautiful Girl had always possessed ability, yet training her was not always plain sailing.
“I think this mare has always been good, but she’s had a lot of soundness issues. She’s quite a difficult mare. She does a fair bit on the lead, quite a bit of swimming and a variety of stuff, really”, said Franklin, who concentrates her efforts on two racehorses, with quite a few younger horses also progressing in her care.
“We work pretty hard to keep her happy and mentally she is a tough mare, but time and allowing her mature has helped. She’s a class mare.”
Franklin used to teach riding and compete, along with involvement in other facets of the horse industry before turning to training.
“I’ve dealt with horses for years. I’ve had thoroughbreds and bred horses for a while, but just made a decision to get in and do them properly.”
Although all of her seven wins have been recorded at 1200 metres, Franklin suggested Beautiful Girl will get over more ground.
“I didn’t even think she was a sprinter, but by sprinting her it has allowed us to work her pretty light, but I think her temperament will improve when she goes over ground a little bit.”
Innes steadied Beautiful Girl to seventh on a fast pace after beginning quickly from a handy draw.
From seven lengths off the pace at the 600 metres, she travelled sweetly approaching the home turn, sprinted when asked for her best a furlong out and kept giving plenty to win by a short head.
Under the top weight of fifty-eight kilograms, recent group one Telegraph Handicap winner Vonusti (Ustinov) powered home for second, with three quarters of a length to Kiloton (Spinning World) in third.
The time for the 1200 metres was 1:09.41, last 600 metres in 34.87.
The spring carnival at Hastings could be the next appearance for Beautiful Girl, following a well-earned spell.