Darci La Bella primed for Foxbridge Plate

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  • August 28, 2023
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By Aidan Rodley, LOVERACING.NZ Racing Desk

Tavi Mac’s little sister is poised to confirm her place as best racehorse of the family.

A winner of 11 of her 17 starts, including a treble of Group wins late last year, Darci La Bella may have already surpassed the feats of Tavi Mac, the diminutive star galloper New Plymouth trainer referred to as “Frodo”.

Tavi Mac won 12 of his 26 starts, including the 2020 Gr.2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni. 

But having also won the Manawatu Challenge Stakes last year to complete a treble that began with the Gr.3 Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) at Hawera and Gr.2 Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) at Pukekohe, Darci La Bella may have already got her nose in front.

She will now look to improve on her fourth placing in last year’s Gr.2 Waikato Stud Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa, a race Tavi Mac finished second in three years ago.

“She’s probably a little bigger than he was, a little but not a lot,” Sharrock said.

“But she’s got the same tenacity and a better strike rate than him and he was a pretty handy horse. She’s a special girl too.”

Like Tavi Mac, Sharrock co-bred Darci Brahma six-year-old mare Darci La Bella, out of his former racemare Bellaroof, with Hector and Carol McCallum and the late Joe Fleming. Hector McCallum has since died but Carol has retained one-third of Darci La Bella and races her with Sharrock and his partner Emma Davies and Taranaki brothers Ron and Noel Stanley, those two partnerships also sharing one-third shareholdings.

“The McCallums are going to continue to race the horses out of Bellaroof. They’ve still got a few to come so they’re pretty lucky,” Sharrock said.

“She did a great job last year, winning the four in a row and I said to Ronny ‘we’ve got to target the Tarzino with her’ so everything has been pointed to that race.

“She was going to get too much weight to have a run before the Foxbridge so we’ve done it all with jumpouts and one trial. Her exhibition gallop on Saturday and her gallop with Emma up on Tuesday were both outstanding so I think I’ve got her where I want her.

“So far, she’s been most potent up to 1400m – because I’ve never stretched her further – so that has meant I’ve had to have her ready for the Foxbridge and the Tarzino.”

Daci La Bella is the TAB’s $6 fourth favourite for the Foxbridge Plate and a $12 equal fifth favourite for the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings on September 9.

Her record has Sharrock confident she can be extremely competitive on both.

“When you look at who’s got the best record over 1200m, she’s had nine starts for six wins. Fresh-up, she’s unbeaten and second-up, she’s three from three too. Her record is outstanding,” Sharrock said.

“I’d be disappointed if she didn’t run in three on her work and where she’s drawn (barrier eight). Everything’s on track for her and there might be a few chinks in the armour of her opposition.

“They’ve all got to step up for a new season too. Hopefully we’re striking a few of the better horses a little short of their peak.”

Sharrock produced I Do for the Foxbridge Plate-Tarzino Trophy double in 2014 and was confident Darci La Bella had returned a superior horse to the model that finished a luckless fourth in the Foxbridge 12 months ago.

“She’s better than she was last year and if she’d had any luck, she was entitled to run second last year. She came from a fair way off them to run fourth,” Sharrock said.

“There wouldn’t be much better this mare and I Do. If this mare can do things right, she might be able to do the same thing herself.”

Sharrock will also saddle Ideal at Te Rapa, the Savabeel mare contesting the Tivaci 1400 after keeping pace with Darci La Bella in the exhibition gallop at New Plymouth.

“She’s a good mare in waiting and she’s going to get black-type but I’ve played the patient game with her,” Sharrock said.

“She’s a gorgeous big mare and once she gets over ground, she’ll get me and Mark (Chittick, co-owner) some black-type, maybe in a race like the Thompson Handicap (1600m, Group Three at Trentham in October) and be a valuable broodmare.”

At Awapuni, Sharrock will produce talented Belardo filly Crickets Chirping in the Pavemasters 1100 and Mr Didgeridoo, a winner of two of his three starts, in the Courtesy Ford Manawatu 1400.

“They’ll both probably start favourite. Crickets Chirping has found a nice seven-horse maiden and she’ll have the blinkers on which will aid her and Mr Didgeridoo worked really well with Fleming on Saturday. On his form and his gallop on Saturday, he’d have to be hard to beat,” Sharrock said. – LOVERACING.NZ Racing Desk

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