Barbara Joseph, Paul, and Matt Jones left Sydney with an early Christmas present on Saturday after Belleistic Kids led all the way to win the 1600m Benchmark 72 Handicap at Royal Randwick.
Given a dream ride by three-kilogram-claiming apprentice Jake Barrett, the Canberra-trained galloper jumped smartly from gate nine and was a clear leader with six furlongs to go.
In a stylish ride, Barrett, who picked up his first metropolitan win in the process, rated the $11 chance to perfection.
With a good break on the chasing field, the pair kept kicking to win comfortably from the Chris Waller-trained Buillt (Tommy Berry, $4) in second, which finished a half-head in front of the David Pfeiffer-trained Clear Choice (Tim Clark, $3.60) in third.
Paul Jones was on hand for an interview after the win, and he was thrilled for young Barrett.
“He has had one midweek (ride) for us before on Manderboss, but that was his first Saturday ride,” Jones said.
“Both Quayde (Krogh) and Jake get on really well with this horse; he is not the easiest horse.
“Adam Hyeronimus rode him on Melbourne Cup Day, and he said if he ever finds the rail, look out, and that was our plan from that wide gate.”
Belleistic Kids is a five-time winner and, in the lead-up to Saturday’s win, had been racing in brilliant form, winning at Moruya and Coonamble before a string of placings.
Following a third-placing in the 1300m Benchmark 64 Handicap at Royal Randwick on Melbourne Cup Day, Belleistic Kids finished second and was beaten a length by Suparazi in the $100,000 Snake Gully Cup in November, and last time out, ran into hot commodity Tavi Time when again finishing second in the Mudgee Cup.
Although he is qualified for next year’s $750,000 Little Dance, Jones admitted that the $3 million Big Dance was on the stable’s radar, with the in-form galloper headed to the Bega Cup on February 4.
“The horse actually relaxed really well, and they left him alone, which was great, and I couldn’t believe the price ($11),” Jones said.
“He was coming in off Tavi Time form, and it (Tavi Time) would’ve gone around $1.10 today, and even though he was well beaten (at Mudgee), that was an Open Handicap.
“And Suparazi out of the Snake Gully Cup, it’s open company form, and now he’ll have a couple of weeks off and go to the Bega Cup, probably second-up.”
The Canberra stable went close to winning the Big Dance in November, with 2022 Snake Gully Cup winner Super Helpful finishing third to Attractable in the $3 million final.
Belleistic Kids won’t be the only horse in the stable heading that way in 2024, with Jones explaining that they have at least three chances they intend to qualify.
“That’s the main plan, and we have a team of horses we want to qualify,” Jones said.
“We want to aim Zouatica at the Moruya Cup and this fella here (Belleistic Kids), and then we’ve got Super Helpful, which we’ve got to manage a bit better with his Benchmark.”
While able to enjoy their city win over the Christmas and Boxing Day break, the stable will be hard at work as they prepare for a massive day at the Sapphire Coast on Wednesday ahead of Friday’s meeting at Canberra.