Bella Riva, the Jetsam Award winner for the Champion Juvenile of 2019, stretched her unbeaten record to five successes from as many starts when she cruised to victory on Saturday (June 27) in the final event on day nine of the Arima Race Club (ARC) racing season, which signalled the restart of local racing after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Bella Riva was sent off as the prohibitive favourite at odds of 3-5, and she did not disappoint her backers as she cruised to an impressive success in the time of 1:12.3. The Poon Tip Stud Farm-owned filly scored by 3 3/4 lengths from stablemate News Flash.
From the start, Brian Boodramsing was contented to track to the early pace set by Spring Valley and Maha Raja. However, at the far turn Boodramsing asked the daughter of Saint Vigeur-Grand Riviere to take a closer look at the order. Coming to the corner, Boodramsing allowed the filly an inch of rein and she loomed up on the outside of Spring Valley and Maha Raja, as stablemate News Flash began to advance to the leaders.
On entering the straight Bella Riva had already kicked two lengths clear and was easily putting daylight between herself and her rivals. At the line, Bella Riva enhanced her ‘Triple Crown’ aspiration with impressive success. Stablemate News Flash was second with Fast N Furious running on for third, ahead of early leader Spring Valley.
In the feature Modified Benchmark Handicap for three-year-old and over horses rated 80-60 over on the main track, outsider Reggae Rhythm landed a gamble when upsetting the field at 23-1. Reggae Rhythm swooped to conquer at the distance and ran away from his rivals under Keiron Razack for trainer R Lalla Maharaj.
The seven-year-old was always front rank alongside the duelling leaders Desert Dancer and Integrity. As the horses swung for home Desert Dancer still held sway from Integrity, with Reggae Rhythm being produced on the outside. With 200 metres left Reggae Rhythm was sent for home and he opened up a two-length gap on his nearest pursuer.
At the line, Reggae Rhythm was a comfortable winner by 1 3/4 lengths from Regal Intension who was running on in the closing stages, with American Dillon nabbing Desert Dancer on the line for third money.
Bella Riva will now wait until August 1 for her tilt at the first jewel of local racing Triple Crown — the Guineas.
Reprinted from the Trinidad Guardian