Racing WA

Brennan’s NZ cheapy stakes his claim for Nugget glory

15 November 2023

When Coolup trainer Michael Brennan bought NZ gelding Bellissimo Acquisto he hoped the horse would develop into a handy standing start performer at Gloucester Park.

But the four-year-old has blossomed in WA, winning his first four starts for Brennan and a host of navy and army veteran owners.

He showed he was a genuine Golden Nugget contender with a brilliant win in the Don Randall Memorial at Pinjarra, when he recorded 1.58.9sec milerate for the 2631m standing start on October 30.

He showed great depth to hold off fellow Nugget hopefuls Street Hawk and Brickies Dream, sprinting his final 800m in 56.4sec.

“He was only very cheap. We bought him because he was a good standing start horse and we weren’t aiming much higher than a L4 race at Narrogin,” Brennan said.

“But from the moment I put the hopples on him I thought we might have something.

“His run in the Don Randall was outstanding. It was the first time we had to open him up a little bit and when they came at him, he kicked again.

“His heartrate was good and he pulled up really well.”

Bellissimo Acquisto will be one of the fancies in the 4YO Championship on Friday night.

He has led at both of his mobile starts in WA and has drawn favourably in barrier three but Brennan said the horse was not just a frontrunner.

“He has excellent gate speed but he is also a lethal sit and sprint horse,” Brennan said.

“I will leave the tactics up to (driver) Chis (Voak). He knows the horse really well.

“He is on the way up and I think there is plenty of improvement to come.”

Brennan said the horse was a handful at home but completely focused at the races.

“He has tipped me out twice – broke my ribs,” he said.

“He is a rat. He sees things that aren’t there at home but on the race track he is a 100 per cent professional.

Brennan, an Olympic hockey gold medallist, said managing owner Joshua Davine was a navy veteran and had sold shares to many fellow serviceman across Australia.

“Joshua was a mad hockey fan. I met him at the Victoria Cup about 10 years ago and we kept in touch,” he said.

“He bought into Miss Sangrial with me and it has grown from there. He has several ex-navy mates in the horse and other former members of the armed forces.

“That is why we race in the green and gold colours with the anchors.

“He is god father to one of my boys and my best mate, so it is great to share the success with him.”

Bellissimo Acquisto means beautiful buy in Italian and the bargain priced NZ gelding looks set to live up to his name.

He is by little known stallion Buy Kiwi Made, who was unraced and has just a handful of foals. He is a half brother to star NZ mare Kiwi Ingenuity.

The Michael George trained Rubins Plight is another relative newcomer keen to stake a Nugget claim in the 4YO Championship.

His Victorian owners sent him to Geroge six weeks ago after the full brother to solid WA performer Kimble ran a slashing second in the Vicbred 4YO stallions and geldings final at Melton.

“We gave him a small break and then started work on him,” George said.

“I’m extremely happy with him. He has settled in very well.

“He’s got plenty of ability and his main aim is the Nugget.

“I think he will go well Friday from the sticky draw. We won’t be killing him though, but he will definitely get his chance to win and we will give him every chance.

“In my opinion, these are a very even bunch of four-year olds and the draws are crucial.

“I couldn’t be happier with the horse’s condition and attitude.

“I’m not shying away from the fact we still need luck but he excites me.”

Rick Lee

Photograph: The connections of Bellissimo Acquisto after his win the $35,000 Don Randall Memorial. Pic credit – Pinjarra Harness Club