Trainers: Brian J. Smith, John Dunlop
Owner: Ralph Stuart
Race record / Prizemoney: 46 starts, 22 wins, 11 seconds, 2 thirds / $486,202
- New Zealand 2000 Guineas 1975
- Air New Zealand Stakes 1976
- Rawson Stakes 1976
- Tulloch Stakes 1976
- Queen Elizabeth Stakes 1976
- Grand Prix Stakes 1976
- P.J. O’Shea Stakes 1976
- Brisbane Cup 1976
- Kelt Capital Stakes 1976
- Ranvet Stakes 1976
- Valdoe Stakes 1977
Thoroughbred racehorse Balmerino was one of the most-travelled horses of his time, able to win over distances from 1200 metres to 3200 metres. He became a star in New Zealand and Australia, before racing with distinction in England, the United States, France and Italy.
He Foaled at Cambridge Stud, New Zealand in 1972, Balmerino was sired by French stallion Trictrac. His dam Dulcie produced several other outstanding offspring including stakes winners Fileur, Fulmen and Gay Filou, as well as Micheline, mother of Surround.
Balmerino came to Australia in 1976 established as New Zealand’s champion three-year-old, having won all the classic races for his age group including Auckland’s New Zealand Derby, the Wellington Derby and four Guineas events. Still trained by his young New Zealand mentor, Brian Smith, Balmerino had a last-stride victory in the weight-for-age Rawson Stakes at Rosehill. The Tulloch Stakes followed a week later. He failed after hitting the running rail in the Australasian Champion Stakes at Randwick but a week later won the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Continuing to Brisbane for winter racing Balmerino won the rich Grand Prix Stakes for three-year-olds before winning the open-age P.J. O’Shea Stakes and the 3200 metres Brisbane Cup. He was named 1976 New Zealand Horse of the Year and Australian Champion Three-Year-Old.
Owner Ralph Stuart rejected large offers to sell Balmerino but, after two further wins in New Zealand and a sixth in the Sydney Cup in early 1977, sent the horse for a northern hemisphere campaign.
Balmerino recorded one win from four starts at Hollywood Park California before travelling to England. Acclimatising rapidly for new trainer John Dunlop, he easily won the 2000 metre Valdoe (Select) Stakes at Goodwood, England. A sequence of meritorious minor placings followed. He ran second to Alleged in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, lost the Gran Premio del Jockey Club in Milan only on protest and finished fourth in the Washington DC International Stakes, ridden by Australian Ron Hutchinson. In his three final starts, in England in 1978, he ran placings at Epsom, Ascot and Sandown Park in the Eclipse Stakes, Coronation Cup and Hardwicke Stakes respectively.
In total Balmerino had 47 starts for 22 wins and 13 placings. A successful breeding career followed at New Zealand’s Middle Park Stud until his death in 1996. His best sons included Balciano, Bounty Hawk and Kessem, winners of, respectively, the AJC Metropolitan, the Victoria Derby and the Hong Kong Invitational Cup.
“There are not many tougher, gamer nor more genuine horses around.” Timeform