She failed to capture the imagination as a yearling but has now turned into one of WA’s most promising fillies.
After just the one defeat the future looks rosy for the speedy daughter of Deep Field.
With in excess of $600,000 in prize money and bonuses, it’s been a lucrative turnaround for owner-breeder’s Nino and Tina Tufilli.
The Tufilli’s retained ownership in My Bella Mae after a lack of interest both interstate and at home.
Because of her size she was judged unsuitable for the Inglis Classic sale in Sydney and in Perth’s Magic Million auction she was passed in.
She copped an untimely setback at an inopportune time and failed to reach her asking price of $70,000 on a $80,000 reserve.
It’s since turned full circle for the Tufilli’s and with hindsight in mind, they’re more than pleased they were able to hang onto her.
“She couldn’t get into the Inglis Classic sale in Sydney because she was a bit small,” Nino Tufilli said.
“I thought that didn’t matter as we could bring her across to Perth.
“She was a bit small, but was a fantastic walker.
“Day one of the sales she was ok, but she then got an abscess in her foot.
“She couldn’t walk on the other parading days and I think that was what scared a lot of people off.”
Now a three-year-old, My Bella Mae has won five of six races since her debut last October, the latest in Saturday’s Cyril Flower Stakes, her second in black-type company.
Sent out the favourite she rallied hard for jockey Pat Carbery and finished strongly to defeat Sniparoochy in a tight tussle.
“I’m absolutely rapt, she is a very exciting young filly,” Tufilli said.
“She’s just amazing, I can’t put it any other way.
“She is untapped and keeps getting better.
“I was a bit nervous on Saturday because Sniparoochy is no slouch and it was a hard slog.
“It was pretty stressful on Saturday as there was a bit of hype surrounding her after she won first up.”
On her current upward trend, the Tufilli’s will have to become accustomed to the buzz surrounding My Bella Mae.
As she continues to build her strike rate the level of interest both locally and nationally increases with each win.
Tufilli is keen to send My Bella Mae to Melbourne , but is unsure if those plans are in the short term or later in the year.
The lucrative lure of Perth’s inaugural $ 4 million Quokka slot race on home soil at Ascot in April also looms as a possibility.
“It’s still a little bit up in the air,” Tufilli said.
“I really want to have a tilt at Melbourne.
“If I can get some black-type in Melbourne it will be great for her pedigree.
“It’s maybe a little young still, just the way she is racing at the moment.
“There has been a lot of interest in The Quokka.
“We have to make a decision in the next week, but at this stage we haven’t made one.
“If we don’t go Quokka route it will be Melbourne.
“She may even have a week in the paddock and go to the Pinjarra Classic (1300m).
“We’re unsure, but will know by the end of the week.”
Prepared by Dion Luciani, My Bella Mae’s only loss came last November when she had a crack at the G1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) after winning the Listed Placid Ark Stakes (1200m).
Tufilli takes responsibility for the only blot on My Bella Mae’s record.
“Dion (Luciani) probably would have preferred I said no and not go to the Winterbottom,” Tufilli said.
“But as a three-year-old carrying that weight (51.5kg) in the form that she was in, I thought you only get a chance once.
“It was probably the wrong decision, but you have to have a go.”
Aside from My Bella Mae, Tufilli saves special praise for Luciani.
“Dion is a very underrated trainer in WA,” Tufilli said.
“I call him a progressive trainer, he doesn’t stick to the same standard way of training.
“He’ll change and try different things if it doesn’t suit a particular horse.
“He’s done wonders with my other horses as well.
“You see that now in his two and three-year-old’s.”