Royal Academy achieved a dubious double when his talented daughter La Belle Dame was narrowly beaten in the Vinery-sponsored 1,000 Guineas (Aust-I) for 3-year-old fillies at Caulfield on Oct. 16.
Winner of the 57th edition of the $500,000 (Australian funds) feature was 7-1 chance Macedon Lady. From the first generation of Star Way's dual group I winner Filante, the winner provided a consolation to handler John Symonds for Bel Esprit's defeat by Helenus in this race's male equivalent, the $1 million Caulfield Guineas four days earlier. Steven King partnered both Guineas winners.
A $9,000 yearling to win well over $1 million, Bel Esprit single-handedly organized Royal Academy's return to Coolmore's Australian branch this year. The Breeder's Cup Mile (gr. IT) hero had been absent for three years, some of that spent in Brazil.
La Belle Dame (11-1) had beaten Macedon Lady at their previous encounter at 1,400 meters, and appeared set to succeed at the mile in deep stretch. But she was nailed at the wire, the margin a half head.
Promising Fuji Kiseki filly, Fuji Dancer (10-1), sustained a long run to gain third another three-quarters of a length away. Lashed also gave a strong pointer to next month's Victoria Oaks (Aust-I) in rushing home to take fourth.
Shock of the race was the seventh by Victory Vein, Australia's leading Juvenile last season. From the 15 gate, Damien Oliver snagged the 5-2 favorite back to last of the 16 on settling. Oliver rode the Mr. Henrysee daughter for luck near the rail in the stretch, but although beaten 2 3/4 lengths she was never likely to be in the finish.
The 1:36.48 gross was 9/10th of a second outside the 9-year-old race record. The time was partially influenced by a slightly greasy track after a few showers, but the fractions set by Spinning World filly Coupe were softish, turning the race into a sprint home.
Dan Nikolic tracked that filly at the rail and the Academy's Dame grabbed the lead from Royal Purler 200 meters out. The race's pattern served to highlight the performance of the winner. She raced in ninth early and gave the leader a fivelength start inside the 200 meters.
Macedon Lady has now won four from seven. The $327,000 advanced her earnings to $372,500. The filly cost Symonds $22,000 as a yearling in Sydney in January 2001.