There were celebrations all round at Catterick on Wednesday as Brazen Belle – a mere £5,000 yearling – landed yet another £20,000 Great British Bonus for owner-breeder Kevin Nicolson and trainer David O’Meara.
Brazen Belle’s easy win in the 6f novice saw her become the first multiple winner of the scheme since its introduction on June 1. The filly had previously secured a payout when successful on debut at Beverley on June 11, meaning that she has netted her owner-breeder no less than £40,000 in additional prize-money over the course of her three-start career – a wonderful bonus for a filly who was bought back for just £5,000 at last year’s Goffs UK September Sale.
“It’s been great,” said Nicholson. “Particularly for someone like me who breeds to race – now there’s an added incentive. Who would have thought we would be in this situation at the start of the season? It’s been very welcome, amazing.”
Nicholson bred Brazen Belle out of the Exceed And Excel mare Pepper Lane, who was campaigned in partnership by the breeder with Dave Lumley to win six races including two renewals of the Great St Wilfred Handicap.
Nicolson takes up the story.
“At the end of the 2012 season, Dave decided to cash in so ‘Pepper’ was sent to the sales,” Nicholson told Owner Breeder earlier this month. “When she didn’t realise my estimated valuation, I had a rush of blood and bought her back with the intention of breeding to race the progeny for pleasure.
“I had her covered by Medicean and she was packed off to Richard and Maggie Lingwood’s family run Norton Grove Stud, where she still resides to this day receiving the best attention from all the staff.”
Pepper Lane’s first foal, Sheoak, never ran while her second, Ever So Sure, died as a young horse, leading Nicholson to remark: “I was beginning to wonder if the advice received about the connection between breeding and insanity was correct.”
However, the mare’s third foal, Infinite Grace, has won twice for O’Meara, and remains in training, and now there is Brazen Belle to look forward to.
Nicholson adds: “Brazen Belle has a yearling full brother at Norton Grove Stud, who looks a nice sort, and Pepper Lane is currently in foal to the Aussie phenomenon Zoustar. Fingers crossed for a filly so we can put her in the GBB scheme.”
Plans are fluid for Brazen Belle, with Sunday’s Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury and a potential crack at black-type under consideration. There’s also the lure of another bonus.
“We would like to obviously get some black-type with Brazen Belle,” said Nicholson. “But we’re tempted to have a go at another bonus. It might take some doing with all the penalties but it would be great to win three bonuses.”
So far, 17 bonuses have been paid out under the Great British Bonus Scheme since June 1.