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‘Life-changing’ mare Bella Vella retired

Adelaide trainer Will Clarken’s “life-changing” Group 1 winner, Bella Vella, has been retired.

Famously purchased from an online auction for just $22,500, Bella Vella landed Clarken’s breakthrough success at the elite level when she led throughout to win the 2020 Sangster Stakes over 1200m at Morphettville.

The six-year-old mare ran in Saturday’s Group 1 Galaxy at Rosehill and was scheduled to return to Adelaide to defend her Sangster crown, but Clarken said today that “with some sadness” he had decided to call time on her outstanding career.

“Although she has come through Saturday’s run… in excellent condition, I have decided the travel back to Adelaide for the Sangster and then on to her final destination under our care, the Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale in May, is unnecessary,” Clarken said.

“Bella Vella has been a life-changing horse for me, and my priority now is to give her the best chance to be in top condition to demonstrate what a quality mare she is as she starts the path to her new career at stud.

“Since arriving in my stable in May 2019, the good fortune and profile she has brought to Clarken Racing has been untold and far beyond our expectations…

“The overwhelming enthusiasm she put into her race-day performances and her unique character made her an exceptional horse. She was tough, genuine, professional and a pleasure to work with…”

After having several trainers, including Gai Waterhouse and Michael Moroney, Bella Vella became a sprint star under Clarken’s care. All-up she raced 34 times for 10 wins and 10 placings, amassing $900,000 in prizemoney.

Fittingly, her final lead-up run before her Sangster success – when ridden by Todd Pannell – was in last year’s Listed Hills Stakes, run at Morphettville, due to COVID-19 restrictions. This year’s Hills Stakes will return to its home track of Oakbank this Saturday.

Last September Bella Vella added the Group 2 McEwen Stakes over 1000m at Moonee Valley to her resume, when ridden by Jamie Kah.

Three weeks later she finished third in Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley behind Pippie.

Underlining her love affair with The Valley, Bella Vella was also the winner of the 55 Second Challenge (955m) last year.

Earlier this month she finished a brave third behind Eduardo and Nature Strip in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes over 1000m at Randwick.

“I want to thank the ownership group for allowing me to have free rein during her time in the stable, and also all of my staff, vets, farriers, track work and race-day riders for the effort they placed into her,” Clarken said.

“She has repaid this countless times over and will be held in high esteem as the first of what is hopefully many G1 winners on Clarken Racing’s honour roll.”

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