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NZB Filly Series Set to Start With Gold Trail

NZB Filly Series Set to Start With Gold Trail

The first race in the prestigious New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series, the Group 3 Gold Trail Stakes in Association with Hutchinsons (1200m), is set to run at Hawkes Bay Racing's meeting on Saturday.

Run for the past 11 years as the Highview Stakes, the race was won last season by Diamond Deck, with the subsequent Group 1 New Zealand Bloodstock Breeders Stakes winner, Special Mission, in second. The race now reverts back to the original name given to it since its first running in 1953.

This year New Zealand Bloodstock has doubled the bonus cheques on offer to the connections of the overall winner of the Series. The winning owner will now receive NZ$30,000 with the winning trainer and breeder each taking home NZ$10,000 apiece.

With this in mind, a field of eight will compete for the NZ$75,000 purse, headlined by the reigning Mercedes Champion Two-Year-Old Il Quello Veloce (Captain Rio x Nishaani by Gold Brose). She will be ridden by Noel Harris for John Sargent and her sizeable syndicate of owners: the Flying Fillies Syndicate.

Last season Il Quello Veloce won the Group 1 Ford Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) beating Captain Fantastic and San Bernardino and currently has earnings of over NZ$170,000 from six starts for two wins, a second and two thirds. Sargent handpicked her from Westbury Stud's draft at the 2007 Karaka Select Sale for NZ$50,000.

John Wheeler has engaged Leith Innes for the ride in his hope Juice (Bertolini x Call Minder by Christmas Tree) who won first up at Hastings last month, beating fellow Gold Trail contender Lady Alberton (Golan x Alberton Star by Stylish Century) into second by one and a quarter lengths.

Juice won the Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Fillies Stakes (1200m) last season and has race earnings of NZ$70,000 from six starts for two wins, two seconds and a third.

Also a stakes-winner, Lady Alberton is making the trip south from Richard Yuill's Pukekohe base. Earlier this year she won the Group 3 Stella Artois Eclipse Stakes (1200m) beating Karaka Million place-getter Maureen Dorothy and San Bernardino.

Daffodil (No Excuse Needed x Spring by O'Reilly) is ready to spring into action after a fresh up second to the outstanding filly Keeper Special in the Listed Wanganui RC Fillies Stakes (1200m) for Kevin Gray and regular race-day partner David Walsh. Her career to date has seen her victorious in a 1200 metre two-year-old handicap at Wellington last season with just four starts to date.

Judging by an impressive two-and-a-half length debut win at Taupo over 1200 metres, the talent-filled Amaryllis (Red Ransom x Lafleur by Zabeel) looks up to the challenge of following in the footsteps of fellow Mark Walker-trained Series winners Shikoba, Princess Coup and reigning Filly of the Year, Insouciant, also bred and owned by Amaryllis' owners, Peter & Philip Vela. Troy Harris has retained the ride.

Vanessa Johnston has the ride on the Keith and Brendan Hawtin and Stephen Autridge-trained Kybo (Keeper x Zabrina by Zabeel). The lightly tried filly has had two starts for two thirds - both only two and a half lengths from the winner and looks to be the improver in the race.

After a third in the trials at Otaki earlier this month, handy filly Seathepost (Postponed x Comb The Seas by Prince Salieri) will start for Opaki-based Gerald Innes in the hands of Bruce Herd.In her five starts to date she's notched up third in the $20,000 New Zealand Bloodstock 2YO Handicap last December behind I Robot and Sir Invincible and was fifth in the Group 2 Ford Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1200m) behind Captain Fantastic and Reuben Thorn.

Completing the field will be Andrew Calder on Glamorous Girl (Thorn Park x J'Lo by Unbridled's Song) for new training partnership Roger James and Paul Mirabelli. The winner of four trials, her best run was for fifth in the $20,000 Royal Gem 2YO 1000 at Whangarei in May.

Click here for the list of New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series race dates.


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