Bell team firing ahead of Ellerslie racing

Helena Baby could record her third straight win at Ellerslie on Saturday. - Trish Dunell
Helena Baby could record her third straight win at Ellerslie on Saturday.

Trish Dunell

Cambridge trainer John Bell will head to Ellerslie on Saturday aiming to extend his winning run.

Hot on the heels of producing Noble Star and Ata Rangi for wins at Te Rapa on Wednesday, Bell will saddle Yorkshire Dales, Helena Baby and Epae Road at Ellerslie as he looks to capitalise on a roll that has seen him win five races from his last 18 runners.

"Things are going well for us. We've got magnificent riders and our staff are experienced and dedicated. Hard work and dedication is coming to fruition," said Bell, enjoying his best season as a trainer to date with 14 wins.

"Our horses are given time and they are happy. If you have healthy, fit and happy horses, they are going to run well."

Bell puts all three of his Ellerslie contingent into the fit and happy category and expects Yorkshire Dales and Helena Baby to run up to their recent winning form.

Barfoot & Thompson Chairman's Trophy (1400m) contender Yorkshire Dales resumed with a tenacious open sprint win at Rotorua in April in his first run since a meritorious fifth-placing in the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) at Ellerslie on New Year's Day.

"We've just cruised with him. He's a horse that works himself pretty hard so we don't do too much with him," Bell said.

"He's improved since Rotorua and Craig Grylls wanted to stay with him."

A winner of six of his 16 starts, Yorkshire Dales won twice in England before racing in Hong Kong and owner Wilson Wong Ching Ho has an ambitious target of a return trip for December's Gr.1 Hong Kong International Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin should the Vale Of York seven-year-old gelding continue on his winning way.

"He's Hong Kong-owned and the owner would love to get him to the Hong Kong Mile, so we'll do what we can to get him there," Bell said.

Guillotine gelding Helena Baby will chase a hat-trick of wins when he contests the OMF 1400.

"He's a smart animal. He's 100 percent athlete and his temperament is brilliant," Bell said.

"We've just nursed him along since his last win at Rotorua and we're very happy with him. He's so capable and we'd be disappointed if he wasn't competitive on Saturday.

"We'll make a decision what we do with him after Saturday but I don't think we'll keep running on the winter tracks too much longer. He's a horse who could be back to chase Christmas and New Year's carnival prizemoney."

Bell has jumping targets in-mind for Epae Road and has accepted for the Celebrating Curraghmore/Long Leaf's Victory 2200 at Ellerslie on Saturday. - NZ Racing Desk


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