Belle shoots from class 1 to Group 1

Kembla Grange trainer Paul Murray has high hopes for the Queensland Oaks on Saturday.
Kembla Grange trainer Paul Murray has high hopes for the Queensland Oaks on Saturday.


Class 1 victors at Wagga aren't expected to win an Eagle Farm Group 1 at their next start, but a bullish Paul Murray is convinced Ring Da Belle is a "big show" in the Queensland Oaks (2400m) on Saturday.

The filly only just squeezed into the Oaks field and is officially the lowest-rated horse in the race at 61, but that hasn't deterred Kembla Grange's Murray, who will have his first runner in a major since Alma's Fury in last year's Doncaster.

"She doesn't know she's in a Group 1 and she didn't know she was in a Class 1 [last start]," Murray said.

"They've all got to go through it and with three-year-olds you don't know about the distance [2400 metres]. A lot of the time they're first-timers and they're all saying the favourite [Arabian Gold] can't run it so I give [Ring Da Belle] a big show.

"Even though she's only won two races in the country over 1600 and 1800 metres it's been the way she's done it. It's been very easy against older horses."

Ironically, Murray's former stable star Alma's Fury will be having his first start for Tony Gollan in the Group 2 QTC Cup (1300m) straight after the Queensland Oaks. Alma's Fury racked up more than $590,000 in prize money under Murray's care.

But Ring Da Belle represents the new breed of talent emerging from Kembla's most famous racing family and will have the services of Michael Rodd in the Oaks.

Rodd, who ended Murray's frustrating jockey search, combined with Gollan to win the Doomben 10000 on Spirit Of Boom last Saturday.

"He was born and bred up there so he knows his way around," Murray said. "He'll just have to ride her for a bit of luck, pinch a bit of ground where he can and if she can finish off like she has at Wagga she'll be right in the finish.

"[Regular rider] Richard Bensley said the sky is the limit so you've got to go back to your own age and sex and see what she can do."

Ring Da Belle is owned and bred by the Fischl family of Albion Park. She was rated a $51 chance with for the Oaks on Friday night.


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