Sir Fernando notched the 200th win of the season for champion sire Bel Esprit in the Pura Milk Winter Challenge (1200m) at Geelong on Friday.
The Colin Little trained gelding broke a long losing streak going back to Moonee Valley in March 2012. He missed the start before issuing a powerful challenge in the closing stages to score by over a length.
Sir Fernando (5g Bel Esprit – Ruby Doll by Desert Style) was initially prepared by Mick Price before moving to Lord Lodge earlier this season. He started racing as a spring three year-old and was only out of a place once in his first 8 starts before that run of outs.
He is from a half-sister to the dam of Perth stars Playing God & God Has Spoken and is raced by a syndicate organised by the late Bryan Muschialli along with his daughter Tracy Howard and Greg Funnell.
Friday’s result marks the third season a row Bel Esprit has topped 200 wins from his base at Eliza Park International in Victoria. He’s also challenging for second spot on the Australian table in that category with Fastnet Rock (202) and Choisir (201). The trio are a long way behind runaway leader Lonhro (244).
More importantly for Bel Esprit, he’s claimed the last six Victorian sires’ titles and leads this season’s premiership with earnings of $4.65 million. Darley resident Reset is next best with $4.32 million.
If successful, Bel Esprit will prevail without any help from his iconic mare Black Caviar who earned over $7.52 million in Australia between April 2009 and April 2013. His chief earner this season is G2 Edward Manifold Stakes winner Se Sauver with $175,875.
Bel Esprit (Royal Academy) will stand for a $24,200 (inc gst) service fee at Eliza Park International this year.