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Southern Belle Rivals Zenyatta in Chile

If she is not the Zenyatta of South America, she’s the next best thing to it. Reigning Chilean Horse of the Year Belle Watling isn’t unbeaten, but she has staked a claim to the title of the best horse in South America with her determined victory in the Gran Premio Asociacion Latinoamericana de Jockey Clubes e Hipodromos (Chi-I), a race that brings the continent’s best horses together at weight-for-age as it rotates between the major tracks of South America’s racing nations.

While this year’s renewal was held on Belle Watling’s home ground, this should not diminish her dramatic victory, which saw the first four finishers separated by two heads and a half-length. The first racehorse of either sex to sweep Club Hipico de Santiago’s Quadruple Crown series, Belle Watling is also only the second filly or mare to win the Latinoamericano, following in the hoof prints of multiple Peruvian champion Madame Equis in 1999.

Racing in the colors of Stud Don Theo, Belle Watling was bred by Haras Matancilla and was sired by multiple English group II winner Dushyantor, a Sadler’s Wells half brother to English champion miler and successful sire Warning. Only modestly successful in Ireland, Dushyantor has fared much better in Chile, where he has led the general sire list for the last three years. He is one of several sons of Sadler’s Wells to have found success in the Southern Hemisphere, along with late-1990s South African leading sire Fort Wood; Crimson Tide; twice ranked among Brazil’s top 10 sires; and Scenic, who has ranked among the top 20 Australian sires for the past five years. The last-named stallion is closely related to Dushyantor as his dam, Idyllic (by Foolish Pleasure), is a half sister to Dushyantor’s dam, Slightly Dangerous (by Roberto).

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