Belle to hit back: O'Brien

Trainer Danny O'Brien is confident Belle Couture will make it in group class despite her defeat on debut at Bendigo on Sunday.

The $2.6 million yearling buy - a half-sister to champion sprinter Black Caviar - was beaten a short half-head by the Greg Eurell-trained Paddy's Gem in the three-year-old fillies' maiden plate (1100 metres).

"She'll take a lot of benefit from that run," O'Brien said. "She's not a rip-and-tear sprinter like Black Caviar. Today showed she's going to be better suited out over 1400m or a mile.

"That's probably a good thing because there's more options at those distances. Obviously we would have liked her to win … but we'll find another maiden for her now. I'd be very surprised if she didn't measure up to group races in the spring."

Jockey Damien Oliver settled the filly midfield before making his run around the home turn. The daughter of Redoute's Choice and Helsinge hit the front at the 200m and looked set for victory.

However, fellow first-starter Paddy's Gem ($7), ridden by Bendigo hoop Brad Rawiller, wore down the $1.50 favourite in the shadows of the post.

"I wasn't disappointed with the run," Oliver said. "Once she got to the front she waited a bit, but she kept fighting and on the line she was coming back … If the race had have been further she probably wins. It's not the worst thing that could happen. All the hype is out of the road and she can get on with being a racehorse."

Rawiller was confident the form from the maiden would be strong. "I thought I had the race won when we headed [Belle Couture], but she showed a lot of fight to come back at us."

Story and Photo by Adam Bourke, to view full Bendigo Advertiser story click here