Fillies Set for Boxing Day Battle
Fillies Set for Boxing Day Battle
The country’s three-year-old fillies reach the halfway point of the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series on Boxing Day with the running of the Group 2 Cambridge Stud Eight Carat Classic at Ellerslie.
Race five of the ten-race Series has attracted the strongest field so far, with two Group 1 winners lining up with a host of lightly raced fillies that have shown enormous potential with winning records in the 11-horse field.
Current Series leader Costa Viva (Encosta de Lago) will attempt to build on her two point lead following her last start victory in the Group 1 NZB 1000 Guineas at Riccarton. The Jason Bridgman trained filly has not been seen since winning at the elite level on 16 November however did win a trial at Cambridge earlier this month in preparation. She currently sits on 15 Series points, two ahead of Bounding.
The other Group 1 winner in the field is Recite (NZ) (Darci Brahma) who will carry the number one saddle cloth. The Group 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes winner as a two-year-old has had one start this preparation, finishing second to the highly-touted Kawi at Wellington earlier in December. The John Bary trained filly has the services of leading rider Opie Bosson from barrier 4.
Roger James has a two-pronged attack at the Group 2 feature with Hera (NZ) (O’Reilly) and Miss Foxwood (Fastnet Rock) carrying the hopes of the stable. Hera was a last start second in the Listed Trevor Eagle Memorial Stakes at Ellerslie and is a stakes winning two-year-old. Ridden by Australian jockey Joshua Adams, Hera has drawn well in barrier 2.
Miss Foxwood was last seen running fourth in the Group 1 NZB 1000 Guineas behind race rival Costa Viva. The daughter of champion Australian sire Fastnet Rock has only had five starts and has been competitive against the best three-year-olds this season. She will jump from barrier 9 for Rory Hutchings.
Last start Group 3 Eulogy Stakes winner Whistling Dixie (NZ) (Pins) earned six points in the Series for her victory on 14 December, placing her fourth overall to date. The Group 3 victory capped a consistent and sometimes unlucky campaign. The filly has drawn the outside barrier of 11 and has the services of leading rider Leith Innes.
Listed Trevor Eagle Memorial winner Rising Romance (NZ) (Ekraar) got under the guard of punters when paying $35 on the Ellerslie track last start. The stakes victory was a particularly good effort as she was held up for much of the straight and rider Michael Coleman sticks with the Donna & Dean Logan trained filly.
The partnership of Donna & Dean Logan also has Telepathic (NZ) (Mossman) engaged in the race. The Mossman filly has been consistent in her three-start career winning once and finishing second at her two other appearances. To be ridden by Mark du Plessis, Telepathic has drawn the ace barrier on Thursday.
Jason Bridgman has a worthy second stringer to Costa Viva with the promising Flirty Gertey (NZ) (Thorn Park) also in the race. The daughter of Thorn Park was narrowly beaten on debut and in her two starts since has won both races for a combined winning margin of six lengths. With stable jockey Matthew Cameron riding Costa Viva Kelly Myers has been engaged to ride the filly from barrier 7.
The undefeated Procurement (NZ) (O’Reilly) enters the race with a big reputation following two impressive wins at her first two starts for trainer Stephen Marsh. The O’Reilly filly has never tasted defeat, winning two trials before making her raceday debut and is the unknown factor having come through the grades. Procurement is a close second favourite currently to Costa Viva and Danielle Johnson will once again ride from barrier seven.
The stable of Mike Moroney and Chad Ormsby round out the field with their two runners Total Response (NZ) (Kheleyf) and Stella’s Honour (NZ) (O’Reilly), both horses owned by prominent stud farms from Australia and New Zealand.
Total Response, owned by Segenhoe Stud in Australia who also own Whistling Dixie, has won her last two starts in succession, appreciating the step up to a mile. Young apprentice Micheal Dee, who rode the horse well at her last start, retains the ride in the Group 2 feature from barrier 3.
Representing the sponsor, the famous silks of Sir Patrick Hogan will be carried by Stella’s Honour, an impressive winner on debut. The filly by champion sire O’Reilly was last seen chasing home Procurement at Te Rapa and has the services of returning kiwi jockey Michael Walker from barrier 8.
The winner of the Group 2 Cambridge Stud Eight Carat Classic will earn 8 points in the Filly of the Year Series, with 4 points allocated to second placing and 2 points for finishing third. To view the field for the Group 2 Cambridge Stud Eight Carat Classic, click here.
After four rounds, the Filly of the Year Series Leaderboard is tight at the top with Costa Viva only two points ahead of Bounding (Lonhro) who is not entered in the race. The only other filly in the Eight Carat Classic with points in the Series is Whistling Dixie.
A quick back-up could be on the cards for the fillies with the following leg of the Filly of the Year Series the Group 2 Royal Stakes over 2000m run on 1 January, just six days after the Eight Carat Classic.