Anthony Delpech will be returning to action on Friday night at Greyville stronger than ever and he has already been confirmed as rider of the Justin Snaith-trained champion filly Bela-Bela for the Gr 1 Sun Met on January 28.
Delpech broke his collarbone when falling off Payne’s Grey after the line at Turffontein on the night of December 6. He had broken this same bone before.
On this occasion the repair operation required a bone graft as well as a plate being fitted. The surgery was successful and the injury has healed well.
In fact Delpech said with the plate now in place the collarbone was stronger than it had been before. He has been riding work this week and has four rides on Friday night, three of them for his biggest KZN supporter, Dean Kannemeyer.
Delpech watched Bela-Bela winning the Gr 1 Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes over 1800m under Anton Marcus on Saturday and agreed with Snaith it could have been a bit of a “flat run.”
He said, “She usually quickens quicker than that, she took a while to get going. But it was her second run after a layoff and came only three weeks after her comeback.”
Snaith qualified his own opinion, “It was by no means a bad run. The filly she beat Safe Harbour is a very, very good filly, in fact she beat Sergeant Hardy (in the level weights R2,5 million Lanzerac Ready To Run Stakes over 1400m) and he is now rated 110.”
Bela-Bela showed fine resolve on Saturday to get up by 0,4 lengths. She should be at her absolute peak for the Met.
However, Delpech is under no illusions about the task she faces and said, “It is going to be hard for her.”
The Met weights were published yesterday and Bela-Bela is set to carry 57kg, which includes a 2kg Gr 1 penalty.
She is merit rated 109, which means she will officially be 4kg under sufferance with the Met favourite Legal Eagle, who is merit rated 123 and carries joint topweight of 60kg.
Delpech rode Bela-Bela to victory in both the Gr 2 Daisy Fillies Guineas and Gr 1 Woolavington 2000 during last year’s SA Champions Season. He said after the latter win he regarded her as the second best filly he had ever ridden and only Vodacom Durban July and J&B Met-winner Igugu was better. Bela-Bela was duly named Equus Champion Three-year-old Filly.
By David Thiselton