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Belmore Bird soars past rivals to victory

Date

David Polkinghorne

Kevin Sweeney, second from right, rides Belmore Bird to victory.

Kevin Sweeney, second from right, rides Belmore Bird to victory. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

With 11 grandchildren to keep happy, Belmore Bird's easy win at Queanbeyan on Wednesday couldn't have come at a better time.

The daughter of 1999 Golden Slipper winner Catbird pulled up well after finishing fourth in the benchmark 53 handicap (900 metres) at Queanbeyan on Sunday, so trainer Frank Cleary decided to back her up just three days later over the same trip.

It proved a masterstroke with Belmore Bird easily saluting by 3¼ lengths from French Bureaucrat, with Magic Waltz third - a ½ length further back.

Cleary's wife, Sue, co-owns the five-year-old mare and said the prizemoney came at just the right time. ''We've got 11 grandchildren, we can pay for our presents now,'' she laughed.

Boxing Day got even better for the Clearys when Gypsy Jack saluted in the benchmark 49 handicap (1100 metres) two races later.

Veteran jockey Kevin Sweeney was on board both wins for the Queanbeyan trainer.

Cleary said the fast early pace set by leaders Bay Moon and French Bureaucrat put Belmore Bird into the box seat coming into the home straight.

He said she was looking for more ground next start and would search for a suitable 1200-metre race, possibly on the coast.

''She probably should've won here on Sunday,'' Cleary said.

''She jumped out well like she did today and the bloke that rode her [Yusuke Ichikawa] restrained her and restrained her and she was back near last and she ran on to [finish] fourth.

''She pulled up all right and I thought, 'Why not run her', so I saddled the bugger up and geez she had that won a long way from home.''

Cleary said it was nice to get a win from a Catbird descendant, a horse he trained to black-type glory more than a decade ago. As a two-year-old, Catbird won the then group 3 Black Opal Stakes (1200 metres) in 1999 before going on to claim the group 1 Gold Slipper (1200 metres) three weeks later.

''Ken Jones raised the mother [of Belmore Bird], Jillo, they own Catbird, he raised the mother and then this one,'' he said.

It was a day of doubles at Queanbeyan despite having just five races at the meeting.

Apprentice hoop Kayla Nisbet also saluted twice, on Mira Chivali in the Maiden Plate (1100 metres) and Chief White Eagle in the Iron Bell Plate (2000 metres).

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