Bellissimo win for evergreen pair

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  • June 07, 2023
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You won’t find a more unique pairing in racing than Brian Marriott and Bellissimo.

He may be a 94-year-old trainer and she may be a 10-year-old mare, but neither of them are done with winning yet.

On Saturday, Bellissimo belied her age when taking out the Property Brokers 1340 at Wanganui by two-lengths, giving her nonagenarian trainer a great thrill.

“It was very good. The jockey (Temyia Taiaroa) was very happy with her. When she turned the corner, she said she thought she was going to win, and she won well,” Marriott said.

“She has come through it well. She came back and you wouldn’t think she has had a race. She doesn’t go off her feed or anything, so I have got no problems there.”

The Opaki trainer came to racing later in life and he has enjoyed training one or two horses at a time for more than 40 years.

“I used to train for Dave Borman and Ernie Scott in my early days and when my wife was alive two years ago, but I have cut back and I am just concentrating on one now.

“I have got my own stables and I am quite happy there.”

Marriott has led a colourful life, with time spent in the Merchant Navy as well as in the military when serving during the Korean War.

He has always had a love for horses and his interest in racing was piqued when he met his late wife Hazel, whose family were involved in the sport.

“I had a brother-in-law who was a jockey. I used to go to the races and he trained up at Matamata,” Marriott said.

“I mucked around with horses and then thought I would try and get a license. I have dabbled around with one or two of them since.”

While Marriott has enjoyed plenty of winners, he said Bellissimo clearly rates as the best horse that has been through his care.

“I have got them all (winning photos) up on my wall. I was training six and I won with them all. Bellissimo has won the most, she has won 10 races now,” he said.

“She is the best one I have had. She is very good natured and at the races she is cool and calm, I have no problems with her.”

While both Marriott and Bellissimo are in the twilight of their careers, Marriott is hoping they can press on for a little while longer.

“This might be her last season because I am 94 now. I am trying to retire but we will see how we go,” he said.

“She gets me up in the morning. I get up at about 6:30am and then we go to the track. It has been great.”

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