The premature loss of Kenneth J to the Australasian harness racing industry hurt a bit more last night when his talented filly Im Bella Jay displayed plenty of grit winning the $100,000 Westbred final for 3 year old fillies.
It was her second win in a Westbred final having taken out the two year old fillies final last season.
Allowed to settle back from her second line draw, Im Bella Jay took off three wide with 1500 meters to go before ending up in the death seat with 1100 meters to go.
From there she controlled the tempo of the race and when driver Matthew White said go at the 500 meters ,the race was as good as over.
The favourite Harriet Elizabeth made ground stylishly late but Im Bella Jay was holding her comfortably on the line.
Im Bella Jay paced the 2130 meters in 2:36.8, a mile rate of 1:58.5 with closing sectionals of 59.2 and 29.7.
It was the Aiden De Campo trained filly's eighth lifetime win and took her stake earnings to $174,564.
Kenneth J 1:49.6 ($1,592,755) only stood three seasons at stud in Australasia before his untimely death.
His oldest crop are three year olds in the current season and number 63 of which 35 have started and 19 have been winners with Im Bella Jay his best performer to date.
Im Bella Jay is from an old New Zealand family that hit the headlines through the deeds of the great broodmare Bravine and which has been mainly in the hands of Bruce Francis from Mid-Canterbury for over 40 years
Once the hottest commercial family in New Zealand in the 1980s, it continues to produce classic winning young horses to this day.
The dam of Im Bella Jay is the race winning Barnett Hanover mare Belturbet 2:02 ($25,186)
She is a half sister to two really talented horses in Donegal Delight 1:56.3 ($225,778) and McDana 1:52.2 ($177,565)
This is the family made famous by the brilliant Locarno 1:58.2 ($181,915) who won the 1980 Miracle Mile while Ostrava (10 wins) and Agrinion (9 wins) were other age group stars from this family.
Some of the maternal sires in this pedigree may not be to every ones liking but what this family has shown over a long period is it doesn't change the output of the family one bit.
If you ever needed confirmation of that fact then Im Bella Jay is living proof.
Im Bella Jay