(By John Jenkins)
Cambridge Trainer John Bell looks to have a couple of exciting winter gallopers worth following in the coming months in Helena Baby and Yorkshire Dales, two impressive winners at today’s Rotorua meeting.
Helena Baby blitzed his maiden rivals over 1400m, winning by 6 lengths while Yorkshire Dales put paid to a field of talented sprinters in the open class race over 1215m.
“He’s a nice horse that will go right through the grades,” Bells said of Helena Bay while he added that Yorkshire Dales has now settled in well after being formerly trained in Hong Kong and should only get better as he steps up over longer distances.
Helena Baby’s success capped off two second placings from two previous starts, both over 1200m at Matamata, and the Guillotine four-year-old relished the heavy track conditions today.
Winning jockey Donavan Mansour had the grey travelling comfortably all the way and once he let the brakes go at the top of the home straight the horse scampered clear of his rivals.
Mansour was easing his mount down over the final stages and was also suitably impressed with the horse’s performance.
“The 1200 was just too short for him in his first two starts and 1400 and a mile suits him better,” Mansour said.
“I galloped this horse on a wet track the other week and he loved it so I knew he would go well.”
Craig Grylls was the winning rider aboard Yorkshire Dales and settled the horse back in the early stages before moving him around the field coming to the home turn. He angled his mount to the outside of the track and then horse was able to out-finish Casaquinman, getting up in the last couple of strides to score by a long head.
“He’s probably suited by a bit further but he really won quite well today and should go on with it,” Grylls said.
Te Toro Pearl was the unlucky runner in the race, finishing three-quarters of a length behind the first two in third place after getting held up behind the leaders all the way up the home straight.