He usually errs on the side of caution, but La Chica Bella has tempted Joe Pride to push the boundaries after the filly made an excellent first impression.
The three-year-old was transferred to Sydney after winning her maiden in Launceston last November, and after a win at Gosford and second at Canterbury she gets an opportunity to step up to Saturday racing at Warwick Farm.
“It’s a little bit of a leap. I’m usually a little bit more conservative but I thought the chance to run on her home track for Saturday prize money was irresistible,” Pride said.
La Chica Bella was previously trained by Max Cowen.
“We purchased her off her maiden win and I’m glad we did. What she’s shown us so far has been very good,” Pride said.
He steps La Chica Bella up from a last-start success over 1250m on June 21 to a $100,000 Benchmark Handicap (1400m) at her new home track with the experienced Corey Brown to again ride.
While La Chica Bella has got to grips with racing, Pride admits frustrating filly Once More A Lady is still a work in progress ahead of Saturday’s 1100m Benchmark 70.
“She’s had 10 starts for one win and nine barrier trials for five wins. I’d describe her as a super touch football player but first grade has found her out at times,” Pride said.
“It’s that extra level of pressure, sustaining speed beyond 800 metres.”
Argent D’Or will run in the same race.
Pride also has promising filly Brook Magic going for three wins in a row in the 2YO Handicap (1200m), a tough task given the quality of the field.
“We see this horse down from Port Macquarie (Awesome Pluck). He looks quite exciting,” he said.
“You’ve got a filly like Gary Portelli’s that won last start in Saturday grade (Lipizzan). Colesberg is coming back as a Saturday winner.
“For an off-season two-year-old race I think it’s one of the better races on the card.”