A Closer Look – Bella’s ratings edge

Last-start career peak has Bella Nipotina well-placed in Tiara.

A Closer Look.
A Closer Look.

Even accounting for the barrier draw, it's easy to understand why Bella Nipotina will start one of the shortest-priced favourites in a Group 1 version of the Tattersall's Tiara this Saturday at Eagle Farm.

The Pride Of Dubai six-year-old has been a star of this year's Winter Carnival, winning the Doomben 10,000 and finishing runner-up in the Kingsford Smith Cup and Stradbroke Handicap at Group 1 level.

The 51-start veteran posted a new peak Timeform figure of 123 in her narrow Stradbroke defeat, having gone 121 in the 10,000 win and her narrow Kingsford Smith Cup defeat at the hands of I Wish I Win.

Only once since 2007, which was the first year the race formerly known as the Winter Stakes was run at Group 1 level, has the winner posted a Timeform figure in that sphere.

That was Melito, who won the 2010 edition in 121.

The next best winning figure is 119, which was registered by Red Tracer (2013) and Srikandi (2015).

Bella Nipotina also owns a 122 run and two 120s meaning, unless there is a Melito lurking among her rivals – Semana owns the next-highest Timeform peak of 115 – a repeat of any of her top six career runs would be enough to win.

Tattersall's Tiara winner by Timeform rating (since 2007)

121 – Melito
119 – Red Tracer, Srikandi
118 – Tofane
117 – Yosei
116 – Cosmic Endeavour
115 – Nova Star, Prompt Response
114 – Absolute Glam, Russeting, Startantes, Palaisipan
113 – Pear Tart, Miss Cover Girl, Tycoon Tara, Invincibella

Bella Nipotina will be striving to become the seventh favourite to win the Tiara, but it has not been a good race for favourites at shorter quotes with Tofane the shortest-priced winner at $3.50.

Good support on Thursday saw Bella Nipotina into $2.20 on Friday morning, which would make her the second shortest-priced favourite in a Tiara.

The only mare to start shorter is Beaded, who ran second to Yosei at $1.95 in 2011.

Others to start favourite at sub-$3.50 are Forensics (sixth at $2.50 in 2009), In Her Time (third, $2.70, 2017), Azkadellia (second, $3, 2016).

A better price briefly became available about Bella Nipotina after she drew barrier 17, which will become 15 if the emergencies don't start, but her supporters will be buoyed by the fact that six of the past 16 Tiaras have been won by horses from gate 11 or wider, including three from the extreme alley.

Red Tracer won from the outside gate in a field of 16, Srikandi did likewise in a field of 15 and Melito was 12 of 12 the year she won.