Delpech back in ac­tion

The Star Early Edition - - RACING - DAVID THISELTON

AN­THONY Delpech will be re­turn­ing to ac­tion on Fri­day night at Greyville stronger than ever and he has al­ready been con­firmed as rider of the Justin Snaith-trained cham­pion filly Be­laBela for the Gr 1 Sun Met on Jan­uary 28.

Delpech broke his col­lar­bone when fall­ing off Payne’s Grey af­ter the line at Turf­fontein on the night of De­cem­ber 6. He had bro­ken this same bone be­fore.

On this oc­ca­sion the re­pair op­er­a­tion re­quired a bone graft as well as a plate be­ing fit­ted. The surgery was suc­cess­ful and the in­jury has healed well. In fact Delpech said with the plate now in place the col­lar­bone was stronger than it had been be­fore.

He has been rid­ing work this week and has four rides on Fri­day night, three of them for his big­gest KZN sup­porter, Dean Kan­nemeyer.

Bela-Bela

Delpech watched Bela-Bela win­ning the Gr 1 Maine Chance Farms Pad­dock Stakes over 1 800m un­der An­ton Mar­cus on Satur­day and agreed with Snaith it could have been a bit of a “flat run.”

He said, “She usu­ally quick­ens quicker than that, she took a while to get go­ing. But it was her sec­ond run af­ter a lay­off and came only three weeks af­ter her come­back.”

Snaith qual­i­fied his own opin­ion, “It was by no means a bad run. The filly she beat Safe Har­bour is a very, very good filly, in fact she beat Sergeant Hardy (in the level weights R2,5 mil­lion Lanz­erac Ready To Run Stakes over 1400m) and he is now rated 110.”

Bela-Bela showed fine re­solve on Satur­day to get up by 0,4 lengths. She should be at her ab­so­lute peak for the Met.

How­ever, Delpech is un­der no illusions about the task she faces and said, “It is go­ing to be hard for her.”

The Met weights were pub­lished yes­ter­day and Bela-Bela is set to carry 57kg, which in­cludes a 2kg Gr 1 penalty.

She is merit rated 109, which means she will of­fi­cially be 4kg un­der suf­fer­ance with the Met favourite Le­gal Ea­gle, who is merit rated 123 and car­ries joint top­weight of 60kg.

Delpech rode Bela-Bela to vic­tory in both the Gr 2 Daisy Fil­lies Guineas and Gr 1 Woolav­ing­ton 2000 dur­ing last year’s SA Cham­pi­ons Sea­son. He said af­ter the lat­ter win he re­garded her as the sec­ond best filly he had ever rid­den and only Vo­da­com Dur­ban July and J&B Met-win­ner Igugu was bet­ter. Bela-Bela was duly named Equus Cham­pion Three-year-old Filly.

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