Winning Return for Star Sebring Filly
Returning to top form overnight in Singapore in the $125,000 Kranji Stakes was former star Australian Sebring filly Believe Yourself, a $140,000 Inglis Classic purchase from the draft of Turangga Farm.
A brilliant winner of the Group II ATC Sweet Embrace Stakes at two and fourth in the Golden Slipper, Believe Yourself (pictured Singapore Turf Club) was subsequently sent to Singapore to race by her Japanese owner Tomohiro Sekiguchi.
Her form since has been mixed, but she showed on Friday night she was back to her best deferring a likely trip back to Australia to take up stud duties.
She cruised clear to win by two lengths from a high class field that included Stepitup, Fastnet Dragon, Kam’s Comet and Spanish Bay.
“The owner actually wanted to send her back to Australia last year, but he changed his mind in January. I’m happy he did,” said winning trainer Hideyuki Takaoka.
“There was nothing wrong with her. I just wanted to give her more time to strengthen up and she has come back in good order.
“She was probably not 100% fit for her first race, but I was happy enough with her work and was confident enough she would run well.
“Brilliant Deal has pace and I told WS Chan to try and lead and set a genuine tempo to the race. The mare had a nice trail in behind and I think she won on class tonight.”
Takaoka, who won the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby (2000m) twice (Jolie’s Shinju in 2009 and Better Life in 2013), is toying with the idea of a third hurrah with Believe Yourself, though at this stage the first two Legs of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge seem like more realistic targets.
“I think she can go for the 4YO series. The Stewards’ Cup (1400m) for sure and the Patron’s Bowl (1600m) next, but we’ll have to see how she goes before we think about the Derby,” he said.
“I will definitely try.”
Believe Yourself is the best of three winners from unraced Encosta de Lago mare Private, who was one of 176 mares covered last spring by Widden Stud’s star sire Sebring.