If she is not the Zenyatta of South America, she’s the next best thing to it.
Belle Watling isn’t unbeaten, but she has staked a claim to the title of the best horse in South America with her determined victory in the G1 Gran Premio Asociacion Latinoamericana in Santiago.
Belle Watling is the reigning Chilean Horse of the Year and she has an Australian connection through her sister Scarlet (Chi) who was the 2008 Chilean Champion Filly. Scarlet is now a member of the Patinack Farm broodmare band and was covered for the first time by Murtajill last October.
The Gran Premio Asociacion Latinoamericana is the race that brings the continent’s best horses together at weight-for-age as it rotates between the major tracks of South America’s racing nations.
This year’s renewal was held on Belle Watling’s home ground in Chile and it developed into a thriller which saw the first four home separated by two heads and a half-length. Belle Watling has 12 wins from 15 starts with the last 9 of them in a row. She is only the second filly or mare to win the Latinoamericano, following Peruvian champion Madame Equis in 1999.
Racing in the colors of Stud Don Theo, Belle Watling was bred by Haras Matancilla and was sired by multiple English G2 Dushyantor, a Sadler’s Wells half brother to English champion miler and successful sire Warning.
Only modestly successful in Ireland, Dushyantor has fared much better in Chile, where he has led the general sire list for the last three years. He is one of several sons of Sadler’s Wells to have found success in the Southern Hemisphere along with Fort Wood; Crimson Tide and Scenic.
Scenic has ranked among the Top 20 Australian sires for the past five years and he is closely related to Dushyantor through his dam Idyllic (Foolish Pleasure), a half sister to Dushyantor’s dam Slightly Dangerous (Roberto).
Belle Watling represents the inescapable reach of Northern Dancer, who appears 3×4 in her pedigree. It’s a trend that has become notable over the last few decades: namely, the blending of Northern American lines with female families that have been in South America for generations.
American-bred stallions to become champion sires south of the equator include Roy (Chile and Argentina), Roar (Argentina), Lode (Argentina), Roi Normand (Brazil), Mutakkdim (Argentina), Egg Toss (Argentina), Choctaw Ridge (Brazil), Hussonet (Chile), Stuka (Chile), and Southern Halo, who earned a record 10 sire championships in Argentina.
Next port of call for Belle Watling could be the Gran Premio Latinoamericano (2400m) in Argentina. Plans may change if connections accept one of several lucrative bids for their star mare.